Rwanda’s industrial base is growing but the lack of the right labour market skills to match the industrialization needs continues to hamper the progress.
One of the the key solutions identified by the government is to invest massively in local Technical and Vocational Education and Training schools (TVET) facilities to improve the skills training ahead of the reopening of education institutions following the closure due to the New Coronavirus outbreak since March.
Though the government is yet to announce the real date of reopening schools, several funds have been committed to improving TVET school standards, with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) being the latest after signing a financing agreement worth $ 9 million (about Rwf 8.7 billion) on Thursday 20, 2020.
The fund targets strengthening TVET systems to train competent graduates who meet the labor market demands and improve teaching structures.
As of today, 31% of the students who graduate from the Ordinary Level (Senior Three) join TVET schools, but the government targets increasing intake to 60 percent by 2024.
The financing agreement was signed by Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister of finance and Economic Planning and ByungHwa Lee, the Country Director of KOICA for Rwanda.
Minister Ndagijimana said that technical skills have an important role in attaining increased output, reducing unemployment and poverty, as well as enhancing social development in Rwanda.
“The economy continues to grow and remains competitive. This fund will contribute immensely to the goal. This support will create a comprehensive and broad system that will guide the TVET training in Rwanda to ensure the effectiveness of our intervention while sustaining the results in the long term,” ,” Minister Ndagijimana said.
“We do not doubt that the new project will contribute to further strengthening of the TVET sector in Rwanda,” the Deputy Director of KOICA, Myung Keun Choi said.
The support by the South Korean agency for international development follows the recent the French Development Agency(AFD) pledge of €7.5million to help on improving TVET schools in Rulindo district, Nothern Province.
The funding also targets supporting the development of vocational training in Rulindo based TVET schools.
The French fund was welcomed by Rwanda Polytechnic management which thanked David Farge, the representative and project manager of AFD on 18th August 2020 for the boost to vocational skills training.m
This two separate financings comes after the Senatorial Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights, and Petitions on 14, May 2020 called for the close monitoring of TVET education by Workforce Development Authority (WDA) to ensure quality skills training that meets the labour market demands.
According to the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), TVET schools are seen as crucial in helping many Rwandans, especially the youth, acquire employable skills, and create their jobs.
The funds are additional efforts of government budget that targets to improve TVET schools and supporting graduates including the national budget which allocated a fair share of funds to the sector.
This fiscal year 2020/2021 budget, the government plans to support 7,560 TVET graduates with startup toolkits to allow them to create their jobs through different government projects, the national employment Programme, and the private sector.
The budget(2020/2021)dedicated Rwf16 billion to job creation and supporting entrepreneurship.