KENYA, Nairobi - The World Bank has approved a credit of 300 million USD for the East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP).
EASTRIP has a goal of increasing the access to and improving the quality of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs in selected Regional TEVT Centers of Excellence (CoE) in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania with a bid to foster industrialization and support regional integration, announced here on Monday during a four day Appraisal Workshop that will be finalized tomorrow.
A total of about 16 provide TVET CoE have been selected from the three countries, out of which seven are from Ethiopia.
The project supports the development of highly specialized TVET programs at diploma and degree levels for training of technicians and TVET faculty, as well as industry recognized short-term training, targeting regional priority sectors.
"TVET skill is a key priority for the World Bank. And it is also priority for the countries and the region in Africa. Thus, in a way, our vision aligns between what we think and what the countries think is the priority," Xiaoyan Liang, Lead Education Specialist and Team Leader for EASTRIP told The Ethiopian Herald.
It is important for Africa to further develop within that strategy to industrialize the countries along priority sectors, she further said. The project is designed to address some of the gaps in skills development for the participating countries.
"The process of selection is rather dynamic," she said speaking of how the three countries are selected. "On the one hand country ownership is key. And on the other, the World Bank resource is not purely a grant. It is a credit which countries have to pay back. So the selection process includes these issues.
Regional integration is one of the three key objectives of the project and is embedded in every aspect of the project design.
"We are now requesting each of the 16 centers to develop a strategic investment plan where regional integration needs to be reflected," stressed Xiaoyan.Teshome Lemma Wodajo, State Minister at Ethiopia's Ministry of Education for his part underscored that the country's strategy is that TVETS focus on giving trainings on fields of studies with increasing demand.
"The project would help us evaluate whether the selected centers in the project have the capacity to execute this strategy and enable us to build capacity to sustain the trend," he emphasized.
Furthermore, instead of making a alienated efforts in different institutions, it is better first to build capacity in the selected CoE and then build the national capacity latter," Teshome added.
The expansion of this scheme will give Ethiopia the chance to become African CoE in TVET. The government of Germany and the African Union have also been planning to expand Ethiopia's experiences to other countries. In addition, there will also be exchange of trainees between the countries to share best experiences.
The project budget allocation for Ethiopia has increased from 100 million to 150 million USD because it is a country with vast man power resources and has one of the strongest TVET education system, the state minister emphasized.
In the previous project, Ethiopia's share was 100 million out of the total approved budget of 250 million USD.
The seven CoE were chosen based on identified development corridors and completion based on the proposal that the TVETs submitted.
The training fields of study were also selected based on the local demand. The priority fields of studies are believed to bring about economic transformation and foster regional integration and include light manufacturing, agro-processing, energy, ICT, railway development and the likes.
Prof Alexandre Lyambabaie, Executive Secretary of Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA), facilitators of the Workshop on his part added that besides the members of the East African Community (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan), the IUCEA is coordinating the establishment of centers of excellence beyond the region including in Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.
"Even though they are not members of EAC, we are partners in what we call African Centers of Excellence Project Second Phase. And all these countries are collaborating with the World Bank to establish center of excellence for graduate studies."
The project was successfully presented to the Regional Operations Committee at the World Bank and has received authorization to proceed to appraisal. It is expected to be implemented next October.