Our focus is on quality TVET-Minister Tangara
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Hello wonderful readers, in this edition of Top Class
column, we focus on the keynote address of the Minister of Higher Education,
Research, Science and Technology, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, at the opening ceremony
of the training of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
teachers and educational administrators in the ECOWAS Region held in The Gambia
on 14th May, 2012 at GTTI campus along Banjul Highway.
The main objective of the training is to upgrade TVET
professional and pedagogical skills of Technical Teachers and TVET Curriculum
Developers to enable them achieve better congruence between training and labour
market demands and adequately respond to the changing skills needs of the
employment sector in the various ECOWAS member countries.
He averred that quality TVET training arising from a relevant and quality curriculum with adequate learning, teaching and training materials, a robust infrastructure, qualified TVET trainers and cooperative private sector would invariably give rise to quality products which are more durable, commanding wider appreciation and high value.
“All the issues raised justify the overall goal of the
series of TVET workshops, which harmonisation of TVET curricula across the
ECOWAS space leading to the development of certification and qualifications
frameworks at national level and, eventually, at regional level to facilitate
mobility of skills across the sub-region. Such common qualifications frameworks
would contribute to the integration of sub-region- a key goal of both the AU
and ECOWAS”, he remarked.
According to him, it is the policy of the government of the Republic of The Gambia to ensure sustainable post-basic technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems that are capable of building the skills base of our people and, thus, contributing to the development of the country. He noted that the policy is crucial on the belief that lifelong learning is crucial to development of self-reliant individuals, communities and a free market economy.
Minister Tangara disclosed that technical education, as in
the national policy on education, is concerned with qualitative technological
Human Resources Development directed towards achieving a pool of skilled and
self-reliant craftsmen, technicians and technologists in relevant technical and
vocational areas offered in Technical Institutions. Therefore, he said the
training of TVET Teachers and Educational Administrators from various TVET
institutions in the Gambia and indeed, in the sub-region could not have come at
a better time.
He assured that education absorbs the greatest share of
recurrent government expenditures of low-income countries while it occupies the
time and activities of the greatest number of adults and children, and,
physically, it is also linked to fulfilling development aspirations. He said
that in many developing countries, education is the largest industry and the
greatest consumer of public revenues.
“As a result of these, the absence of adequate technically
trained human resource with relevant skills is one of the major factors that
hinder successful industrial growth. Industry, agriculture and trade are among
the major areas that determine the economic growth and prosperity of any nation
and the backbone of all this is undoubtedly education; more specifically,
technical and vocational education and training anchored to sound resource
management”, he stated.
Minister Tangara further remarked that the government of The Gambia, through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology is highly committed to such training, which is what gave the training institutions the opportunity to come together to put the TVET curricula into perspective and avoid compromising on quality for competence.
Adding that there is no doubt that the development of a relevant TVET curriculum which incorporates local elements has high cost implications due to the much needed specialised expertise of the various curriculum development personnel. Therefore, it would have been difficult to come up with the required funding for this training without the intervention of ECOWAS.
He alluded that the Ministry is particularly concerned about keeping pace with the changing needs of the economy and the labour market, especially with regards to competencies and skills. The curriculum, which defines the competencies that are instilled, needs to be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure its relevance to the current and projected needs of the economy.
Author: Aji Fatou Faal