VP Boakai Launches Liberia’s TVET Program, Says Gov’t Can’t Do All by Herself

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Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Sr., recently assured stakeholders of government’s support to provide an enabling environment where young people would get income earning opportunities through the National Technical Vocation and Education Training Policy (TVET).

VP Boakai also urged stakeholders to support the government by taking into consideration youths described as ‘the most vulnerable’ due to a lack of basic skills and opportunities and are living in disadvantaged locations—particularly below the poverty line to form part of the TVET program.

He noted that TVET is the key that opens the door to opportunities and believed that when its commission is created, a qualification framework would be developed to make it easy for young people to transition from one level to another.

Amb. Boakai made the statement recently when he officially launched the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on TEVT. The exercise was part of the National Stakeholders Forum on TVET held at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, S.K. D. Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

 At the launch, the state actors involved with the development and improvement of TVET in the country brainstormed to formulate a national policy to address issues affecting the sector that was designed a year ago.

Youth & Sports Minister, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, expressed the need for reforms regarding the country’s TVET program.

According to Minister Nagbe, the problem associated with the necessary development and improvements were enormous and needed to be tackled urgently.

According to him, some of the problems associated with TVET include the lack of a standardized curriculum, trained TVET instructors, the lack of a regime to monitor the sector accreditation, and the lack of appropriate TVET governance structures within various ministries and agencies supervising activities in the country.

The TVET program provides a practical avenue for the acquisition of employment-oriented skills and attitudes.

The launch of the exercise is to be used as a systematic examination and overhaul of the nation’s technical and vocational systems to position TVET as an effective response to youth employment as required.

The Examination of the TVET sector in the country revealed both strengths and weaknesses. The strengths include the existence of a thriving informal economy and the structure of formal skills development programs; the availability of indigenous master craftsmen and artisans with varying levels of skills and competence; the existence of a variety of TVET training institutions both in the rural and urban areas; and a strong political commitment to the revitalization of TVET as a response to the challenges of unemployment. 

 The major weakness observed of the TVET system in the country is the absence of a comprehensive National TVET policy and legal framework to guide, direct, and oversee skills development.

As a result, the TVET delivery system remains fragmented among several government ministries and agencies, most notably the Ministries of Youth and Sports, Education, Health and Agriculture. Each of these institutions has different governance and management practices. The lack of a regulatory framework coupled with poor coordination and identification of roles and responsibilities of sector stakeholders, including government and non-governmental organizations are listed as parts of the major problems affecting the sector.

 Other weaknesses include the poor public perception and low social status of TVET, the multiplicity of testing and certification standards, poor articulation and credit transfer mechanisms between training institutions, and the weak links between the TVET system and the job market.

 The TVET delivery system has remained largely supply-driven and not demand-driven or aligned to the needs of the employment sector.

The obsolescence of training equipment and tools, the inadequacy of teaching and learning facilities and instructional support systems, and inadequately trained instructors contribute to the poor quality of TVET delivery.

In addition, the TVET system lacks effective career guidance, counselling and job placement advisory services and adequate numbers of suitably qualified system managers and professionals to drive the entire TVET system.

The validation of the National TVET policy, among other things, formulated the National TVET Commission intended to regulate the TVET sector, standardize a national curriculum, accredit TVET providers, and put in place a national qualification framework to standardize a TVET certification regime among other things.  

The development of the policy document, which Ambassador Boakai launched, was facilitated through the generous contribution and support of the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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