To overcome the challenges facing Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Africa needs to promote collaboration, harmonization of strategies, private sector engagement and entrepreneurship, the Commonwealth Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) resolved while closing the 41st international conference at Kigali on August 29, 2019.
The conference took place at Kigali, Rwanda from August 26. It was themed ''Building Partnerships for the Promotion of TVET for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment in Africa.''
Assembling the delegates from 15 African countries, the conference was aimed at bringing together scholars, industrialists, trainers and other stakeholders to share case studies and country experiences.
The Ministers of education and other high-ranking government officials from country members participated to the conference.
The conference was also geared towards enhancing collaborations between academia and industry in the production of skilled manpower and technological innovations, among other objectives.
''To overcome the challenges facing TVET, Africa need to act together, learn from each other, harmonize policies, strategies, standards and procedures to bridge identified gaps to enable cross borders mobility of skilled labour.'' reads one of the resolutions of CAPA Conference.
The resolutions also stipulate that governments should introduce legal frameworks that will strengthen engagement with the industry in the entire TVET value chain right from labour market surveying, program designing, curriculum development, workplace learning / dual training and assessment in African context.
''Private sector is no longer a client, it should be part of the skills development process and TVET reform, their involvement is an investment to improve their workforce,'' CAPA says through the conference resolutions.
Commenting on the conference resolutions, the CAPA Secretary General Mrs. Jahou S. Faal said CAPA was to focus on actions rather than rhetoric.
''We want to really ensure that the graduates have got international mobility and will be able to move around and that the skills acquired in their own environment are also relevant to wherever they found themselves, that is the way forward. We aren't going to talk anymore, it is going to be actions, '' she said.
Representing the Ministry of Education, the Director General of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) Eng. Pascal Gatabazi said TVET plays a fundamental role in achieving economic growth and empowering people to shape their own future.
''Therefore, in order to make progress there is a need to synergize and join efforts to make TVET more attractive and effective,” he said.
As regards entrepreneurial skills in TVET, CAPA recommended African countries to share best practices and review their TVET curriculum to integrate technical skills with entrepreneurship. The Association also called for the integration of life skills, management and leadership skills to improve employability.
Dr. James Gashumba,Vice Chancellor of Rwanda Polytechnic that was the main conference organiser said that TVET providers have to ensure effective linkages and collaboration with the private sector, saying : '' this private sector we talk about is in our hands.''