For the second time, the Technical and Vocational Education Training exhibition was held in Kigali from November 2nd to the 6th, this time with focus on growing the relationship between TVET institutions and the private sector in order to translate skills acquired into business rewards.
TVET has been given strong emphasis by the government of Rwanda as the force that is going to assist grow the country's economy towards achieving the middle income status that is targeted by the year 2020.
At the symposium, students from different Integrated Polytechnics Regional Centers (IPRC) showcased acquired knowledge in skills including but not limited to construction works, wood and metal works, and beauty related skills like hair dressing.
Although the numbers are yet to be established in a report that is yet to be released, TVET is believed to have trained about 1300 experts in the last two years while 24 curricula have been developed to facilitate market demand and competence based learning in different levels of vocational trainings in the country. However challenges including a stigmatized mindset towards the trainings as being of academically weak individuals and failures in the traditional education system still haunt the development of trainings. According to Theodole Habimana, the Director of TVET in the Workforce Development Authority, financial constraints pose the other challenge that bottlenecks the development of the vocational education system.
"Vocational and technical training is very demanding in terms of finance for acquiring the necessary machinery and availing consumable materials during the course of education since it is more about practice than theory," Habimana contemplated.
As part of an ongoing process to enable development of skills in most demanded sectors like construction and hospitality, the government recently received a U$34million (approximately Rwf20.4 billion) loan from the World Bank that is expected to finance trainings in seven schools around the country in order to cover the existing gap in the market.
As the country gears towards achieving the year 2020 dream of being a middle income nation, it is envisaged that 60% of the educated population will have been through TVET while the other 40% from traditional education system in order to facilitate growth of a vibrant private sector.