The government is making strides in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) with its policies on free TVET, the TVET voucher project that gives free training and skills upgrade to master craftsmen and women, and the MyTVET campaign, which has resulted in increases in public pre-tertiary TVET institutions.
Last Friday, Ghana joined the global community to commemorate the World Youth Skills Day (WYSD). In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 15, every year as WYSD to create awareness of the strategic importance in equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
Since then, how the youth can be provided with critical skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship has engaged the attention of the UN and its member states.
They have been collaborating to organise programmes on the day, which offers opportunities for engagement between the youth, on the one hand, and educational institutions, corporate organisations and duty bearers, on the other.
This year’s WYSD was commemorated on the theme: “Learning skills for life, work and sustainable development”.
At a time the world is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant economic recession, learning skills for life will help us achieve a better life for the world.
Additionally, the Daily Graphic notes that the day is being marked at a time of complex global challenges, such as climate change, the Russia-Ukraine war, rising inequality, rapid technological advancement and demographic changes.
For this reason, the commemoration of WYSD cannot be downplayed.
We are satisfied that Ghana is making strides in the area of TVET. However, some challenges still persist, key among them being the perception that technical and vocational training is for school dropouts.
That perception can no longer be in sync if TVET is to be the impetus for employment and development. Equipping the youth for the future is a non-negotiable effort for the sustenance of our communities and country.
In Ghana, the Ministry of Education collaborated with the National Youth Authority (NYA), an agency of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), the All African Students Union (AASU), the Ghana National Union of Technical Students (GNUST) and the Don Bosco Tech, Ghana, to engage on the theme: “Unlocking the full potential of the Ghanaian youth through TVET” in Tema.
The engagement had the Deputy Minister of Education (TVET), Gifty Twum Ampofo, interacting with students. There was also an exhibition put up by Don Bosco Tech, showcasing Ghana’s efforts at technical and vocational training, as well as innovations in skills acquisition in the sector.
Various speakers, including the deputy minister, underscored the importance of technical training and skills acquisition for the youth to empower them to contribute meaningfully in employment and by default to the development of the country.
The National President of GNUST, Ahmed Akusie Osei, speaking on the topic: “Unlocking the future of Ghanaian youth through technical and vocational training”, commended the government for its efforts at ensuring the acquisition of technical and vocational training by the youth.
However, while the government is playing its part, we add our voice to the call for more resources, infrastructure and logistics to boost technical training and skills acquisition.
As these policies are rolled out, it is our considered view that communication must dispel the negative notion that TVET is for school dropouts.
We also share in the opinion that TVET curriculum must be reviewed periodically to get students abreast of developments in a technologically paced world.
After all, technical training and skills acquisition by the youth is in tandem with Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is for countries to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote life-long learning.
Ghana must ensure that its youth of over 11 million are properly established through skills development and technical training for our collective good.
For Ghana to maintain its competitiveness, the surest route is investing in technical training and skills acquisition.