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Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Ghana is key for employment and self-employment opportunities which result in economic growth. TVET has proven to be an educational pathway that can be used to significantly reduce the unemployment rate in Ghana.
As the campaigns reaches its climax and the election draw near and promises from political parties keep being branded all around us, what comes clear to us all is the fact that we all accept that TVET has a very important role to play in nation building.
A recent survey was done among SHS graduates regarding the number among them who may consider entrepreneurship in the near future. Only less than 3% said they will consider owning their own businesses. It is an obvious fact that our educational system has been designed to make our young one’s job seekers but not businesses owners.
Many years ago, when the JSS system was introduced in Ghana, the idea was to enable many of our young ones makes use of their skills thereby setting up their own businesses after school and thereby employing others and creating job. It is a fact that the private sector is the engine growth of any economy and TVET cannot be overlooked in achieving this feat. TVET graduates acquire skills that empower them to be immediately absorbed by the labour market and/or be self-employed.
Unfortunately, TVET has been perceived as an education pathway for the poor and the uneducated. However, literature shows that this perception is unfounded (Sugar, 2014). In fact, studies show that TVET can contribute significantly to economic growth, poverty alleviation, and employment creation through the acquisition of skills for self-employment and labour market absorption. When I go to the workshop to fix my car, I see welders, mechanics who make lots of money on daily bases well enough to be compared to many other graduates working in offices. In fact, my seamstress has more than 50 apprentices and she has set up a school offering training to these young ladies. She started as a small seamstress but because of her great skills in sewing the business began growing and today it has grown beyond her.
Today many polytechnics have been turned into technical universities and are achieving the purpose of providing TVET skills to many young Ghanaians at the highest levels. NGOs are also playing their role in providing TVET training. OIC Ghana has had presence in Ghana since 1971 to date. OIC provides training in vocational skills and offers counseling, job-placement, and follow-up services to disadvantaged, unskilled, and unemployed Ghanaian youth. Youth in Africa hold great potential as drivers for economic growth through participation in labor markets. However, a large youth population that is not gainfully employed can also be a liability, further undermining growth prospects. We need to strengthen youth and community empowerment, one of the 21st century challenges confronting the continent.
The first Youth Investment Summit: The Road to Economic Growth, gave an exclusive look into employment challenges facing African youth and opportunities available. As a 49-year leader in human capacity development, technical education, and vocational training we convened senior-level government and private sector officials, the donor community, TVET implementers and trainers, entrepreneurs and investors, and others interested in human potential.
Non-formal training is provided by community organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and includes short courses and seminars that will not normally lead to a qualification. Young people who did not have an opportunity to complete secondary education can choose from a range of apprenticeships and other training programmes. Informal TVET is offered mostly through apprenticeships with Master Craftsmen programmes. The duration of the apprenticeships can range between two to three and a half years. Informal apprenticeships normally do not lead to formal certification or qualifications.
Benefits of TVET to the economy
One of the most challenging realities of the Ghanaian economy is its unemployment rate. A shortage of technical and mechanical employees or electricians coexists with a surplus of workers in white color jobs. In the manufacturing industry particular many of the positions that go unfilled are at a level that does not require tertiary education and does not pay the salaries that university graduates expect. What are required, rather, are the technical skills necessary to working and living in global community, TVET prepares the graduates for the local, national job market as well as the global job.
Fashion and Design – Fashion shows Globally, Catering and Hospitality – Big hotels and Even companies – Top wedding shows etc Décor – Almost all events require some décor and design works. The manpower needs of the country are substantially met. The various national and private technical and vocational institutes strive to churn out graduates to meet the manpower needs of various firms in the industrial sector of the economy. The rate of unemployment in the Ghanaian economy is reduced, considerably, through technical and vocational training.
Individuals who acquire informal technical and vocational training in auto and refrigerator repairs, electronic repairs, beads making, soap making, sewing, hairdressing, decoration etc, often set up their own shops; and enroll new entrants for training.
.Training individuals to be technically and vocationally skilled increases the country’s competitiveness at the global level. Ghana’s ability to train and churn out highly skilled personnel would help meet the manpower needs of the country; and possibly export excess skilled personnel to neighbouring West African countries;
Availability of jobs in the “non-technical” sector of the Ghanaian economy is either non-existent or very scarce. However, the reverse is true in the case of the TVET sector. During this covid-19 period. This presents the Government with an opportunity to encourage more individuals into technical and vocational education and training to equitably distribute the nation’s human capital among the various sectors. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is steadily gaining popularity at the global level and government priorities for education and national development agendas. (Marope et al., 2015). TVET is also considered highly in strategic and operational priorities of the G20, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and of multilateral organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNESCO, ASEAN, and SEAMEO. To realize its potential to impact development, however, TVET systems need sustained transformation and revitalization. UNESCO, 2012
In the Southeast Asian context, both ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and SEAMEO (the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization) have placed TVET as a priority agenda. ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020 under Strategic Goal 4, states that ASEAN supports the development of TVET and Lifelong Learning by (a) maximizing access to TVET, (b) strengthening Regional Harmonization and TVET Personnel Development, (c) establishing Regional Quality Assurance and Recognition of TVET, and (d) reducing the gap between supply and demand of skilled labour.
As a developing country seeking to eradicate unemployment, and with the lack of job suitable to our graduates, TVET and entrepreneurship is a great solution to unemployment and I’m glad all our presidential candidates have made it a key component of their future government. Young men and women should rejoice and hope the near future governments implement their promises.