Gov’t initiates steps to promote technical and vocational skills education

Gifty Twum Ampofo – Deputy Minister for Education in charge of Technical Vocational Education and Training

A deputy Minister of Education in charge of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Gifty Twum Ampofo, has revealed that government initiated some bold steps aimed at giving the needed recognition to technical and vocational skills in the country.

Among the initiatives, she noted, is the development of policies, strategies and legal frameworks meant to reform and strengthen TVET systems.

Further to those, government is investing heavily in infrastructure for TVET institutions in various parts of the country; establishing a TVET Service Centre; providing free Technical Vocational Education and Training; and upgrading Colleges of Education specialised in Technology – all meant to equip the youth with employable skills in the belief this is the way to power Ghana into greatness.

“TVET is the most practical avenue for acquiring readily employable skills in the world of work. Africa – and for that matter, Ghana – needs a skilled and competent workforce such as artisans and technicians to fill the skills-gaps of the economy’s various sectors – including the building and construction industry, power and energy, water distribution and sanitation systems, hospitality, agro-processing, and public works.

“At the moment, the resounding news is that many governments in Africa and Ghana have come to appreciate the role of TVET in national development, and are therefore rolling out strategies to develop the talents of young people to support economic growth and industrialisation. This has seen many countries develop policies, strategies and legal frameworks aimed at reforming and strengthening their TVET systems,” she noted.

Ms. Twum Ampofo made this observation in Accra on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, when she launched the ‘My TVET Campaign’, a project aimed at drastically reducing the negative public perception about TVET while also seeking to enhance the image of technical and vocational skills.

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The ‘My TVET Campaign’ seeks to: raise awareness of TVET opportunities in Ghana, particularly among the youth; change the negative perception of society about TVET; enhance the employability of TVET graduates; improve the capacity of management and instructors of TVET institutions; and highlight the prospects of TVET as a precursor to economic development.

The ‘My TVET Campaign’ comprises career guidance, skills competitions, roadshows, TV/Radio programmes, TVET Ambassadors and role-models, and TVET clubs.

Ms Twum Ampofo, who performed the task on behalf of the sector minister Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said government is of the firm belief that vocational skills training and capacity building – for both men and women – is a key priority for sustainable development of any nation; whereas lack of appropriate technical and entrepreneurial skills and knowledge within the private and public sectors lead to underdevelopment of a nation.

To further boost TVET in the country, she said, a pilot TVET Careers Guidance and Counselling project as part of the campaign has also been initiated by the Council of Technical Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service, to equip the Junior High Schools with the right information to enable them decide on their career aspirations. The project, she added, is being piloted in about 100 schools in all the regions of Ghana.

The Executive Director of COTVET, Dr. Fred Kyei Asamoah, commenting on the ‘My TVET Campaign’ said technical education and training in Ghana is taking a new turn, and therefore urged the youth to avail themselves of benefits from the opportunities which come with it.

“In a time of accelerated technological development and the transformation of global industries, the potential of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to address many of the challenges facing our society has never been greater. TVET is critical for providing skills development for livelihoods, and this is recognised by the Sustainable Development Goal 4 – which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all”, and to “substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship by 2030,” he noted.

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He expressed hope that with the resources committed into campaign, “we can transform the nation through TVET”.

According to Dr. Asamoah, as part of steps toward addressing the need for a functional TVET delivery system, government has approved a five-year strategic plan to transform Technical Vocational Education and Training, with the Skills Gap Analysis and Audit being one of the measures outlined in the TVET transformational agenda.

He said the reason many technicians are facing unemployment is partly because there is no effective collaboration and policy direction among government, industry and educational institutions.

“This generally happens when technical schools prescribe a curriculum without keeping in view the requirements of industries. This is not a problem that is TVET-specific but runs across all sectors. We are through with the past practices and we want to chart a new course. Industries should be familiar with the latest technical developments and trends, and should be provided with efficient and well-skilled hands.

“A major factor in achieving a quality TVET system is our strong collaboration with industry. We have reached a stage in our developmental agenda where industry must be encouraged to lead the process of training their next producers. We can only do this by strongly engaging our industry players so that they can contribute significantly to the development of our TVET sectors in Ghana,” he emphasised.

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