Free vocational education, training has come to stay – Dep. Edu Minister
A deputy Minister for Education in charge of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Gifty Twum Ampofo, has declared that government will not relent on its efforts to provide free skill, technical and vocational training to its teaming youth as it is the surest way of guaranteeing jobs for them.
She noted that the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) through Ghana TVET Voucher Project is providing the avenue for artisans, master craftsmen, those within the informal sector, school leavers including school dropouts to take advantage of the opportunity and prepare themselves for the world of work.
According to her, trends in the global labour market indicate that personnel with skills or vocation are on high demand.
Therefore, it was important for the citizenry to position themselves properly and make good use of the Ghana TVET Voucher Project by learning and upgrading their skills to international standards to enable them have their share of the global labour market.
“Let us strive to build ourselves and add value to our skills using the Ghana TVET Voucher Project as the springboard”, she noted.
Mrs Twum Ampofo who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North made these observations when addressing a team of master craftsmen, apprentices, workers and skilled experts in academia prior to the launch of the Ghana TVET Voucher Project in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The Ghana TVET Project is under the Ghanaian-German Financial Development Cooperation and co-financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMW) through KfW Development Bank and the Government of Ghana.
The five-year development project is part of TVET reforms to train about 16,000 master craftsmen, apprentices and their workers in several artisanal trade.
The project with an estimated value of €22m has since its inception in September 2017, trained over 5,000 people in eligible trade areas such as: Beauty and Cosmetic (Cosmetology), Consumer Electronics, Automotive Repair, Building Construction (Welding) and Garment/tailoring/dressmaking.
It has also added Plumbing, Furniture making, Electric Installation, Block Laying and Tiling and Catering and Hospitality to the project.
The Abuakwa North Legislator commenting further said the government after exhausting the five years, will review the project and take a decision to strengthen it to benefit more people.
The project, she explained, was piloted in four regions namely; Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern and Volta Regions.
Having successfully piloted the project, there was the need to scale it up to cover three other regions including the Central, Western and Eastern Regions.
Apart from the Ghana TVET Voucher Project, she said the government has also implemented a number of measures to facilitate the acquisition of employable skills for the youth.
Key amongst them she said, is the introduction of free SHS education which secures access to minimum of senior high school education for all children with emphasis on TVET education to make them competitive on the global labour market as well as move all TVET institutions under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Education.
Further to that, the government is in the process of establishing the TVET Service and TVET Council as well as a whole directorate of the Ghana Education Service dedicated to the management of Technical and Vocational Education with its own Director.
“In the near future, you are going to have a Director General for TVET”, she noted drawing applause from the team of skilled personnel gathered.
She also indicated the government is also in the process of equipping all the technical universities with state-of-the-art equipment and or machinery to enable them effectively deliver on their mandate.
In addition to that, plans are far advance to construct 21 modern TVET institutions as well as upgrade 35 of the existing technical and vocational institutions in the country.
Learning from Malaysia
Given an overview of the Ghana TVET Voucher Project, the Executive Director of the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), Dr. Fred Kyei Asamoah, said it is the vision of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to achieve the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda, therefore, TVET as the component of that agenda, remains high among the priority lists of the President.
“Skills is a major component of the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda and we are not going to stop. If you look at Malaysia from 1980, they got 5 to 8 years TVET strategic plans. They are almost finishing the 8th one and that is what the Government of Ghana is learning from. Now if you go to Malaysia, they are even importing some of their machines to Germany and some other countries.
“We will review the project when it ends after five years and set up another five years strategic plan because the TVET industry changes continuously – industry changes. Now we are moving towards what we call industry 4.0. Some countries have started using 5G but Ghana is now at 4G and we can do catch up. We only have to leapfrog and that is why we’ve gone through the process of becoming a member of WorldSkills international. Our membership status has been approved and Ghana is now the 81st member of the WorldSkills International which shows that the skills that will be trained in Ghana will not only be with Ghana but what will be needed the world over”, he noted.
To be part of the project, Dr. Asamoah said one’s training must be competence based, explaining further that institutions involved would have to be accredited by COTVET in order to benefit from the Ghana TVET Voucher Project.
“That is the only way institutions can benefit from such innovation from both Ghana Government and the German Government”.
Prof. Mrs. Smile Dzisi who chaired the event on her part charged all the training institutions in the country to make their facilities available for the Ghana TVET Voucher Project.
“Let’s be passionate about this project and make it the best”, she noted.