|Promotion and Reform of Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Africa (Uganda National Commission for UNESCO, 2001, 98 p.)|
Director General's representative - UNESCO,
Secretary General, Uganda National Commission for UNESCO,
My colleague, the Hon. Minister of State for Primary Education,
Development Partners here present,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is important to note that this workshop aims at promoting and improving quality and relevance of Business, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Africa with a view to increasing its demand and social prestige. This is because carefully conceptualised, planned and executed TVET can be one of the most powerful instruments for enabling all members in the African community to face the new global challenges for instance, unemployment, technical advancement, social development, wealth creation, eradication of poverty, skill development and thereby becoming productive members of society. It is indeed true to regard TVET as the most effective tool for social integration and uplifting self-esteem. Therefore, TVET should be at the core of any countrys educational reform process.
TVET has not been very popular because of the negative attitudes held by many of our people, particularly the thinking that it is for the academically slow learners. This unfortunate view is due to the general lack of information on the great role TVET plays in national development. Seventy (70) to ninety (90) percent of African urban population is in the sector of TVET. The status and prestige of TVET must be known and enhanced in order for other stakeholders to be supportive of TVET programs and bring a positive attitudinal change to TVET activities.
The development of technical and vocational education in Africa requires a radical attitudinal, conceptual, and operational shift. TVET should be seen to be an integral part of every ones education and an activity to be undertaken by all for personal development and ensuring social development through application of human creativity to technological and entrepreneurial activities. In Uganda, strategies have been laid down to address the need for integration of academic learning and productivity or skills learning at all levels of Ugandas general education system. This is because we feel that there is need to provide a vocational orientation and establish a firm foundation for vocational and intermediate technology education and training if the country is to develop and meet the current challenges introduced by globalisation. To this end, the following have been done:
· Introduction of Integrated Production Skills (IPS) in Primary School level curriculum;
· Establishment of BTVET Department in the MoES;
· Commissioned a Consultancy to analyse demand/needs assessment.
· A comprehensive program of establishing Community Polytechnics has been put in place. Community Polytechnics have been included in the Education Strategic Investment Plan (ESIP) 1998/2003.We had planned that over 800 Community Polytechnics are to be established all over Uganda one in each sub-county. However, financial constraints may make the realisation of this vision difficult in the short-run. This program will be implemented in phases starting with 12 pilot Community Polytechnics. I am glad to announce that by April 2002, the first 12 pilot Community Polytechnics will have opened for their first intake. The training of instructors has already begun in 11 Community Polytechnics Instructors Colleges. The products of these Polytechnics will be able to create jobs or be self-employed and contribute to community and national development especially in rural areas. This will go a long way in fighting poverty. The only major challenge is funding posing the problem of how many can be built and operated on the available recurrent funds.
We acknowledge the assistance obtained to-date from GTZ, JICA, OPEC, IDB, ADB in support of our TVET activities.
One of the problems facing the TVET sub-sector in Africa is lack of continuity and progression for people who complete courses in Technical and Vocational Institutions in the formal education sector and lack of recognition of those in the informal sector. To address this problem, my Ministry is in the process of establishing a Uganda Qualifications Framework/Authority (UQF/A). The establishment of UQF will enhance the recognition and prestige of TVET institutions and their products and enhance career progression.
I am indeed very optimistic that through the exchange of ideas and sharing of information and knowledge on good practices with all other education stakeholders in the sub-sector, that is, schools, colleges, universities, industry (formal and non-formal), and so on, this workshop will be able to arrive at a set of:
b) Strategies and various options for planning and implementing TVET policies and programs that will provide real opportunities for Africans to achieve sustainable indigenous development.
c) Strategies aimed at enhancing the social prestige of TVET programs in schools and institutions so that an enabling psycho-pedagogical environment in those institutions is created.
Hopefully, these will help to reverse the poor social perception of TVET programs in the minds of people.
I hope that you will identify priorities for national action and follow-up activities for the mid term. Again, through your interaction with various stakeholders, you will be able to propose relevant and realistic recommendations to Government.
Innovations in TVET should have a potential to offer flexibility in time and location and should provide TVET to function as a catalyst for the penetration of new technologies of the world particularly to rural areas.
I wish to confirm my government commitment towards promoting Business, Technical and Vocational Education because of its pivotal role in eradicating poverty in Africa and its contribution to life long learning. I wish to appeal to all of you to apply yourselves to address these major challenges that retard a meaningful revolution in the TVET subsector. Measures will include:
· Establishment of a policy framework that will consider TVET as an essential and integral part of education systems in Africa.
· Mobilization of enough resources towards the improvement of TVET.
· Destroying the stigma that is associated with TVET programmes in Africa.
· Inclusion of women and girls in TVET programs.
· Taking full advantage of the positively changing attitudes and policies of governments and organizations in Africa towards TVET.
I thank the organizers, Uganda National Commission for UNESCO for organising this workshop, the facilitators of this workshop for all the efforts put in to make this Workshop a success.
With these few remarks, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my honour and privilege to declare this Workshop officially open and I wish everyone very fruitful deliberations and look forward to your resolutions and/or recommendations.