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Sierra Leone News: Rebranding TVET is critical to development

Ngolo Katta, Youth Commissioners

The National Youth Commission (NAYCOM) is trying to rebrand the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), using its Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Project (YEEP). The Ministry of Youth Affairs along with NAYCOM, yesterday, started a three-day inception session on the TVET Image Campaign to be implemented by the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL) with support from the African Development Bank (ADB). NAYCOM launched the TVET Image campaign at its national office at the Siaka Stevens Stadium, swimming pool. The Parliamentary Chair on Youth Affairs, Hon. Abdul Kargbo, said education and training for productive employment is indeed vital for economic and social development. “In the midst of youth unemployment, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is viewed as a tool for productivity enhancement and poverty reduction.” He called on NAYCOM to partner with Parliament to strengthen policy guidance and regulatory frameworks for technical and vocational education and to improve similar partnerships with private sector and employers. He cited the Kenya and Rwanda examples, which has Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act No. 29 of 2013, which pays key attention to TVET. Hon. Kargbo added it will help create jobs in the formal and non-formal sectors noting that there is a strong correlation between the proportions of TVET students at the post-secondary level and per capita income. Rev. Jonathan Titus-Williams is the General-Secretary of EFSL. He noted that the value of TVET cannot be understated as a good number of young people are poorly skilled, drop outs and lack communication skills and literacy. He said they cannot benefit from even the minimal employment opportunities that are available in the job market. He furthered that it is important to note that young people without jobs or hope live a life of frustration, which can lead to violence and crime and political manipulation. The EFSL said they have trained over 5,000 young people in various technical skills and presently has over 300 in training. Yet, they have not made a difference in the numbers of unemployed and hopeless young people. Others, they said, continued with higher education at tertiary level. The EFSL General-Secretary assured the Youth Ministry and NAYCOM that the Image Campaign project will change the negative attitude towards TVET.   Representatives from both the NCTVA and TVET Coalition agreed that the reason for the huge unemployment among young people is as a result of the blind eye given to TVET over the years. Both representatives added that technical vocational training is the middle manpower for national development, yet it is undervalued by parents and young people.   Launching the TVET Image Campaign, Minister of Youth Affairs, Mohamed Orman Bangura, explained that there is no way the Government can succeed to solve youth challenges if things continue to be done the same way. “There is dignity in labour, therefore opportunities should be created for young people to acquire skills and knowledge, to contribute and make them responsible citizens,” he said. Commissioner NAYCOM, Ngolo Katta said partners should get it right maintaining that it is important to raise a strong advocacy for a sound TVET policy.

AC/19/2/19

By Ade Campbell

Wednesday February 20, 2019.

 

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