Youth and Sports Minister Lenn Eugene Nagabe has said that the provision of technical and vocational education to Liberian youth is a major national priority, which deserves the support of the international community.
Minister Nagbe said with the huge unemployment among young people largely due to lack of formal education and vocational skills, it is a national imperative to be able to provide some technical skills for those unemployed for the job market because Liberia’s future depends on its young people.
Minister Nagbe, speaking at the UNESCO 38th General Conference Session on ‘Technical and Vocational Training(TVET) in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ said with the huge illiteracy and unemployment rates in Liberia, a well structured technical and vocational education that is aligned to addressing the current demand on the job market is highly desired.
He said currently, the country’s TVET program has seen a strong transformation and reform, coming from a state where there was no TVET policy, no capacity, no trained teachers and no curriculum, to the country now possessing a well crafted TVET policy, accreditatioin and certification regimes and the construction of a state of the art modern TVET complex.
Minister Nagbe said in some respects, TVET is not only a skill development program or a socio-economic issue, but a national security problem, considering that over 80% of young Liberians ages 18 to 24 are illiterate and one-third are without employment and no skills training.
He said concrete actions have been taken by the Liberian government to rebuild old TVET institutions and also build new ones for the population.
Also sharing the podium with Minister Nagbe was UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, who called on private sector participation in addressing the needs of the organization’s TVET programs.
Madam Bokova said the TVET programs have transformational powers that will nurture the skills and talents of its beneficiaries who will contribute to the growth of their respective countries.
She said TVET skills if acquired appropriately, is an ingredient for job creation and job potential in any society.
Other panelists included the Swedish Education Minister, Gustav Fridolin, the Assistant Director General for Education at UNESCO, Dr. Qian Tang and the Director of the International Center for Technical and Vocational Educational Training, Shyarmal Majumdar.