Vocational training gets more cash to create jobs, plug skills deficit
Friday June 19 2015
The government has increased spending on vocational training in the new financial year as it moves to bridge the skills deficit and create jobs.
In the financial year 2015/16, technical and vocational training (TVET) received additional funds (12.5 per cent) as the government intensifies programmes to add 200,000 jobs to the labour market every year.
The total amount to the sector, including projections from external donors who do not channel their funds through the national budget, is Rwf34.6 billion, up from Rwf30.7 billion last year.
However, the increment falls short of the amount needed to efficiently run the programme. For instance, more than Rwf30 billion is needed to cater for training and vocational education. The government had promised an annual increment to the sector of around 18 per cent.
Experts are cautioning that shortage of funding will undermine progress in the sector for equipment and qualified teachers are lacking.
A recent report issued by Deloitte titled “Rwanda Budget Insight 2015, Diving Deep,” stated that the government needs to continue investing in vocational training and the training of skills development teachers to address skilled labour gaps.
“Equipping young people with a skill, especially one where they can be self-employed, is true to the saying give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” the report states.
It further reads, “A lot of professionals become superfluous with the changing times but certain skills will always be required.”
This calls for awareness campaigns to bring on board parents and children not willing to join the programme.
However, according to State Minister in charge Technical Vocational and Educational Training Albert Nsengiyumva, the government has put increase in number of students joining the sector at the top of its priority list even as it handles facility issues.
“We are trying to align ourselves with the labour market. It is as important as we engage with basic education to know who we are training and what for. We have just launched a teacher training centre for TVET and this will help on the pedagogical side, where college of education will help strengthen and assure a needed quality in the sector,” he said.
Despite the high cost of TVET infrastructure Minister Nsengiyumva added that the government will need to be innovative in the use of available resources after spending heavily to establish new TVET schools.
“We are looking at how we can use rooms available in basic education schools, particularly those in upper secondary, and transform them into workshops to help us train people in specific issues in a specific time,” he added.
There are 384 TVET schools, most of them equipped with both Internet and electricity. About 65 per cent of these schools are private-based and more than 70 per cent are equipped with computer laboratories.
According to the Workforce Development Authority (WDA), at least 4.5 per cent of the teachers have a bachelor’s degree, while 3.6 per cent have diploma certificates while the remaining leaving 91.8 per cent hold undisclosed qualifications.
This is alarming for a country that is applying both Singaporean and Germany technical vocation model to respond to its entrepreneurship gaps.
In a previous comment to Rwanda Today, MP Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi urged the government to revise its advocacy and create demand to be filled by learners in the sector.
“Although more advocacies are needed countrywide, we are telling the government to consider job categories meant specifically for TVET graduates. The government should urge industrialists in the private sector to have a certain number of its employees from TVET schools,” he said, referring to ongoing construction projects, where they should consider employing largely TVET leaving students.
READ: Negative mindset and lack of teachers, materials ail TVET
So far the TVET programmes cover a wide range of disciplines to name construction, carpentry, electricity, plumbing, engineering, information and communications technology and mining.
The government instituted a National Employment Programme to sensitise Rwandans on the effectiveness of TVET.
In the programme, private sector institutions are expected to have systems that allow TVET learners employed.