The Ministry of Education has outlined plans to make Technical and Vocation Education and Training (TVET) effective and efficient, as part of measures to address the high unemployment rate in the country.
Over the past years, development of the TVET sector has been plagued with a number of factors: including low budgetary allocation; obsolete and inadequate training equipment leading to low learning outcomes; obsolete curricula; and poor collaboration between industry and academia among others.
This has led to over-concentration on art-oriented courses that do not meet the technical requirements of the industry.
Indeed, to this end, the Education Ministry is to dedicate a whole division of the Ghana Education Service – with its own Director-General – to technical and vocational education, Education Minister Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has disclosed.
To ensure proper supervision of the sector, the Education Ministry has also been restructured with a Deputy Minister of Education in charge of only Technical and Vocational Education.
The ministry is also to undertake a review of the curricula of TVET institutions, construct 20 modern TVET institutions, and upgrade about 35 others in order to provide first-class technical and vocation training to students.
“Technical and vocational education has enormous potential for developing human capital for national development,” Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh said in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. Fred Kyei Asamoah-Executive Director, Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), during a Youth Employment and Skills (YES) meeting in Accra.
“Indeed, an effective technical and vocational education and training system has the potential for skill development, improving competitiveness of the workforce, fostering income earnings potential of the people of Ghana, and creating wealth while reducing poverty,” Dr Opoku added.
A nation’s competitiveness, the minister further explained, is largely dependent on the knowledge and skills base of its workforce; hence the need for Ghana to deliberately take steps to prop-up technical and vocational education.
To make technical and vocation education more attractive, he said, government is also working on ways of correcting the misconception that TVET is inferior and only patronised by less endowed students.
The YES platform meeting
The event was organised by the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.
It brought together stakeholders to dialogue on how to make TVET a key pillar in the fight against youth unemployment in the country.
“Africa’s large and fast-growing youth population could be a great asset for development and a source of comparative advantage on world markets, with the right education and training, coupled with national economic strategies and policies that provide the right environment for rapid economic growth and creation of employment opportunities,” says ACET’s President, Dr. K.Y. Amoako.
Africa has the world’s youngest population with more than three-fifths of its population under the age of 25, and the numbers are expected to rise significantly.
Despite the continent’s youthful population, ACET said existing challenges of high and rising unemployment and vulnerable employment among its youth need to be tackled
The Centre also noted that the rapid evolution of robotics, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence and the “Internet-of-things” is diminishing the importance of labour as a factor in manufacturing production – hence the need for Ghana and the African continent to position themselves to minimise the impact of technology on employment.
The meeting was structured around three key sub-themes: TVET, curriculum development, and role of the private sector.
The YES Platform focuses on the avenues through which youth unemployment can be reduced by enhancing skills development to help meet the future job needs of young people.