Sierra Leone develops new national technical vocational training policy

Alim Jalloh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 April 2019:

Minister of Tertiary and Higher Education – Professor Aiah Gbakima, said at a press yesterday that his ministry is a new national policy for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Speaking at the conference, minister Professor Gbakima said that over the years, attempts were made to formulate two TVET policies in 2010 and 2014 respectively by the previous Government, but these never saw the light of day as they were left in the preliminary stages.

This new policy being developed by his ministry, he said, will be sent to cabinet and later tabled in Parliament for enactment.

He however stated that the last two drafts will be closely looked at and additions made to ensure it meets the needs of the country.

He noted that a lot of youths leaving university and school are unemployed.

This, in part he said is due to the relevance of the courses they studied to the job market. Many other he said lack the necessary skills training to secure gainfully employment.

He lamented over the fact that mining companies in the country are hiring foreigners to work in their companies because Sierra Leoneans lack the requisite job skills.

The new TVET policy will take into consideration all these facts to ensure they create the skills to meet the needs of the job market; and it is therefore the responsibility of his ministry to solely focus on technical and higher education, minister Gbakima told the conference.

His ministry he said is responsible for the development of a robust TVET policy; development of framework for public-Private-Partnership, with a view to increasing private sector participation in TVET; expand access; improve quality of TVET particularly in areas with high potential for job creation; review and standardize curriculum and certification for TVET; develop a National Apprenticeship Scheme that can provide internship for TVET trainees and others; and promote agriculture based TVET to enhance food production and food security.

Development of the TVET Policy

Minister Gbakima maintained that his ministry is currently formulating the National TVET policy in collaboration and in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and partners, including GIZ.

The process is being led by a national consultant with both national and international experience in policy development and implementation.

Regional Consultations will be conducted simultaneously to further solicit stakeholders inputs in five regions: East in Kenema, South in Bo, North West in Port Loko, North in Makeni and West in Freetown.

He stressed that a final validation workshop will be held the end of April 2019, leading to the finalization of the policy. The final document, he said, will be presented to Parliament for approval and enactment.

A key purpose of the National TVET policy  is to set up a common vision for the TVET system in Sierra Leone; facilitate alignment with both national development framework and coherence with other policies; enhance coordination of planned actions and reforms for improving outcomes and input of TVET; clarify institutional arrangement and stakeholders roles and responsibilities for TVTE; integrate best practices at national and international level; and pledge the political and collective will of the government and implementing stakeholders.

Minister Gbakima is appealing to members of the general public and interested parties to participate in the National TVET Policy formulation process,  by sending their views, comments and suggestions to the TVET Policy Secretary Technical Working Group at email: mempower1981@yahoo.com or bt telephone contact: +232 76 966959.

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