By Claude Nyarko Adams
According to Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education, the structural reforms would include the setting up of a TVET Service and TVET Council as well as a division of the education service dedicated to TVET, with its own Director-General.
It would also have a dedicated Deputy Minister, who would be charged to focus entirely on technical and vocational education in the country.
These were contained in a speech read on his behalf in Accra at a Youth Employment and Skills Stakeholder Engagement Platform Meeting.
It was organised by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) with support from the Pan-African Coalition for Transformation (PACT).
He stated that 35 national and vocational training institutes as well as colleges of education that specialise in technology in the country would be upgraded to be able to provide relevant training and education.
He said government was ready to collaborate with the private sector in bolstering the technical capacity of local institutions and strengthening skills training and further partner in the area of equipment manufacture and the building of laboratories to feed the technical institutions and universities.
On the importance of the TVET sector, the Minister said that it was necessary in skill development, improving the competitiveness of the work force and enhancing the productivity of the workforce.
Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) explained that the TVET sector, if properly managed, has the ability to help the country address growing unemployment levels, which was a threat to national growth.
He said the current budgetary allocation from government for the management of the sector was wholly inadequate and urged for reasonable financial support in addition to government’s new commitments towards revamping TVET to further industrial and economic growth.
A Tertiary Education and TVET Expert, Dr George Afeti, said it was necessary for the government to create the enabling environment for manufacturers to grow and expand its operations to be able to demand for skills.
“If the current economic conditions only make it possible for imports and limits local production, industries will not be in a position to require for the skilled labour. A producing economy will be the incentive for businesses and start-ups to grow. We need to align policies that promote local production for all these skill-set to be at work,” he added.
In enhancing quality of provision of TVET training, Dr Afeti called for a stronger industry partnerships and greater government and private sector investment.
Mr Daniel Nti, Chief Operating Officer, ACET, expressed concern about an estimation by the African Development Bank that asserted that nearly 50 per cent of youth in Sub-Saharan Africa would be economically inactive by 2025 and urged for an improvement in TVET, uptake in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and private sector engagement in addressing the looming crisis.