TVET, educational administrators trained
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) recently embarked on a 10-day training workshop designed for technical teachers, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) curriculum developers and educational administrators in the Ecowas region.
The training, which took place at the Gambia Technical Training Institute main campus in Kanifing is supposed to wrap-up today. Among other things, the objective of the training is to upgrade the professional and pedagogical skills of technical teachers and TVET curriculum developers and enable them achieve better congruence between training and labour market demands that will make them adequately respond to the changing skills need of the employment sector in the various Ecowas member countries.
Dr. Mamadou Tangara, minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, in his keynote address said the government of The Gambia has long recognised the need for a trained workforce adequately equipped with technological and vocational skills. He said that it is the policy of the government to ensure sustainable post-basic TVET systems that are capable of building the skills base of its people, thus, contributes to the development of the country. He added that such policy is based on the belief that lifelong learning is crucial to the development of self-reliant individuals, communities and a free market economy.
He also told the gathering that it is worth noting that The Gambia is implementing the recommendations of the 3rd Conference of Ecowas Ministers of Education and the 36th Ordinary Session of Heads of State, both of which were held in 2009 in Abuja, Nigeria. “TVET is an indispensable tool in tackling challenges for both the present and the future, and in attaining the ideals of peace, freedom and social justice and the fundamental principle is that education must contribute to the overall development of each individual in all aspects of life,” Dr Tangara further stated.
He opined that the existence of quality TVET programmes could form the basis of more sophisticated and specialised skills required for national development, as TVET has to be made attractive to the young. “Therefore the products and services rendered by TVET graduates must be of high quality to survive competition from other sources,” he added. He concluded that since high unemployment among young people is a factor for social instability and chaos, it is critical to update TVET curricula and align them with labour market requirements so that they are seen to have utility value.
Rachel Jummai Ogbe, principal programme officer for Education at the Ecowas Commission Abuja, on behalf of Desire Ouegraogo, president of Ecowas Commission and Dr Adrienne Diop, commissioner for Human Development and Gender, conveyed the sincere appreciation of her Commission to the government and people of The Gambia for their collaborative efforts towards making the workshop a reality.
She lamented that all over West Africa, millions of young people leave primary and secondary school without any practical or employable skills to enter the labour market or the ability to earn income. According to her, the acquisition of employable skills by the youth and the poor is a critical development issue; therefore TVET is strategically positioned to mould the required skilled human resources for building and maintaining economic infrastructures, supporting industrial and agricultural development, promoting innovation in manufacturing systems and services deliver, enhancing productivity and generally driving economic growth.
In his remarks, Abdoulie M.A Loum, director general of GTTI who also doubles as the Ecowas International Resource Person, thanked the participants and gave a comprehensive background of the 10-day workshop inline with the objectives and the expectations of GTTI and their collaborative partners, Ecowas. He expressed delight as he reported that GTTI has commenced the implementation of Higher National Diploma programmes in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and building construction technology in February 2012.
For his part, the vice chancellor of the University of The
Gambia (UTG), Professor Muhammadu O. Kah, said the development of a sound
foundation in technical and vocational education is central to any nation
desiring to become industrialised and self-reliant. He added that it has been
revealed in the Ecowas region that there is a widening gap between programmes
offered in technical institutions and the actual openings available in the
employment market, in most key sectors of the economy.
He further stated that the government of The Gambia and particularly at the UTG is concerned about this objective. “So we must strive to improve productivity in all sectors of the economy, if we are to compete favourably in an era of rapid economic and technological change,” he concluded.
Author: Yunus S Saliu