The Accelerated Vocational Training Program (AVTP) at the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Margibi County last weekend graduated 258 persons who completed courses in eleven disciplines.
Some of the disciplines are Automotive, Carpentry, Drafting, Masonry, Plumbing, Domestic Science and Electrical.
The event marked the 15th postwar graduation ceremony of the AVTP at BWI.
The AVTP was established when the government, during the administration of President William R. Tolbert, Jr., identified the need to build the manpower capacity of the nation’s growing youth population through technical and vocational education and training. Established in 1977 the AVTP was a solution to the inadequate institutions of higher learning to absorb the high number of high school graduates, especially in 1976, when over 14,000 students graduated from high schools across the country.
The Charter allows the AVTP to be established at all government owned vocational high schools, including the ones at BWI and the Liberia-Swedish Vocational Training Center in Yekepa, Nimba County.
Youth and Sports Deputy Minister for Administration, Dr. T. Nancy Freeman, gave the keynote address on the topic, “The Importance of Technical Vocational Education on Our Development Agenda.”
Said Dr. Freeman, the progress and prosperity of most nations of the world are closely identified with economic development.
This is because the economic competiveness of a country depends on the skills of its workforce, she said, adding, “The skills and competencies of the workforce, in turn, are dependent upon the quality of the country’s education and training systems.”
Vocational education, she said, is therefore considered as one of the crucial elements in enhancing economic productivity.
“Technical and vocational education are tools for national development. It is also a form of education in both science, applied science and humanity, all aimed at developing individuals with the right attitude to work and the competency necessary to compete in a global society,” Dr. Freeman told the graduates.
As a result, she said government was making all efforts to ensure that technical and vocational education is encouraged and promoted among Liberian youth, noting, “It is a relevant tool for addressing economic, political, and social crises that threaten the political and economic stability of nations.”
She observed that reducing unemployment, lack of skilled workers and dropout rates, and the changing demographic nature of the workforce have placed the issue of workforce education high on the educational reform agenda.