More highly skilled young Rwandans have today officially joined the local job market where technical skills are on high demand.
Today, the Kigali based Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) awarded diplomas to 660 students that have successfully completed three years of training in different technical courses.
The courses range from ; plumbing, Information communication technology, electronics, civil, mining and electrical engineering.
According to government, these graduates are as skilled as bachelors degree holders.
Olivier Rwamukwaya, the State Minister in charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) said companies hiring workers for their technical and vocational posts will have to take diploma holders and bachelor degree holders as having the same competences.
“The government has been thinking about the issue of qualifications of these students and finally we came up with a decision to consider them as equal to bachelors’ degree holders,” said Rwamukawaya.
However, there have been concerns by students’ representatives saying whenever they apply for jobs, their applications are always rejected in favour of Degree holders (A0).
These students with vocational skills feel this segregation is very unfair.
“We will follow official procedures to make sure those who hold an advanced diplomas in technical courses will be considered like Degree holders (A0) in the labour market,” said Rwamukwaya.
The list of 660 graduates included; 525 males and 135 females that scored A1 level in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Mining Engineering and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Minister Rwamukwaya told graduates that Rwanda is expecting more from them. He said they should be part of the Made in Rwanda Campaign.
“You may create your own enterprises or join others’. In any case, always focus on local products,” he said.
For this to happen, he said the government will always play its role of regular capacity buildings. For example, he said, the country will keep supporting industrial based trainings in Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Education officials said the future of technical and vocational education is good, thanks to government’s resolve to prioritize this subsection of education.
The government has also got loyal partners especially- Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) supporting both in equipment and human resource areas.
In May, Rwanda will inaugurate the Technical Teachers Training Institute (RTTI), a $ 5 million Institute that was constructed under KOICA sponsorship to train technical and vocational school trainers.
According to Workforce Development Authority (WDA) 70% of Technical teachers in Rwanda are not qualified.