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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We need job creators – Harebamungu

The Ministry of Education (Mineduc) has declared that it will put more em­phasis on technical skills because these have a positive impact on people’s standards of living and livelihoods in general.
According to the state minister in charge of primary and second­ary education, Dr Mathias Hare­bamungu, students from both Technical Secondary Schools (TSS) and Vocational Training Centers (VCT), are usually a step ahead of others because they acquire hands-on trainings in technical and entrepreneurial skills, includ­ing construction and building, hospitality, automobile and elec­tricity technical services, hair care, dressmaking, plumbing, informa­tion technology and so on.
“Most of us think that having a PhD or Masters degree is what makes you a successful learned individual, No! At that level, one is a researcher, and we cannot all be researchers,” Dr Harebamungu told The Rwanda Focus during the launch of national practical exams recently.
“We have to diversify our knowledge and skills so that we can conveniently exploit our min­imum resources through creating more job opportunities. That’s where technical skills come in.”
He also said MINEDUC encour­ages technical skills because the graduates (mostly the youth) are taught how to depend on them­selves and immediately (after graduation) become productive, therefore helping a quick recovery from poverty.
“Technical skills significantly re­duce poverty. Eradicating poverty requires us to create (lower) jobs that offer much with short-time trainings. Those are like dress­making, hair care, automobile me­chanics among others,” stressed Dr Harebamungu.
He gave an example of hair sa­loons where men pay an average of Frw 1,000 for a hair cut and women about Frw 5,000.
“If a hairdresser is visited by about 10 male customers a day, that is an average of Frw 10,000. This Frw 10,000 is an amount on which one can base and improve his living standard. That amount if well managed can help one in­vest in a small business and grow wealthier, therefore contributing to the country’s development and poverty eradication.”
He also talked of the construc­tion industry, which is growing day to day in our country. “Look at the construction projects under­way in the country. Some of them are employing foreigners because we do not have yet a number of individuals trained in construc­tion and public works. Having people interested in those skills means having many Rwandans on those construction sites and as re­sult, living standards improving,” observes Harebamungu.
“A fact about technical skills is that they provide one with com­petence to become a job creator rather than cob seeker through entrepreneurial skills,” stated Dr Harebamungu. “That is why we want to have at least one techni­cal college and three TSSs in every district, and one VCT per sector. That will help us accelerate the in­creasing of the number of gradu­ates in technical fields.”
According to the Workforce for Development Authority’s Deputy Director General Irene Nsengi­yumva, today Rwanda has a total of 293 Vocational Training Cen­tres (VTC) and Technical Training Centers (TTC), and two techni­cal colleges (Kicukiro and Tumba technical colleges), with an esti­mated number of 16,000 gradu­ates from TSSs a year, 5,000 from VCTs and 600 from the two techni­cal colleges mentioned above.
“Normally six months after their graduation, 60 per cent of them are already working with differ­ent investors, and after year it’s hard for one find them not work­ing,” Nsengiyumva said.
The national skills audit con­ducted in 2009 revealed that the country is short of technicians (lacks qualified technical work­force) in the public, private, and non-profit sectors by 60 per cent. “We are trying through TSSs, VCTs and Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centers (IPRCs) to find a strategic response to the needs for skills development. But we are not yet there,” observed WDA’s DDG, Nsengiyumva.

Source: Focus

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