Germany working with Education Ministry to draft new strategy for vocational training

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
The dignitaries who graced the occasion
The dignitaries who graced the occasion

The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, has given an assurance that his country is working closely with the Ministry of Education to draft a new strategy to enhance vocational training in Ghana.

He stated that the process was almost completed and called on Ghanaians, especially the youth, to change their mindset about technical and vocational education training (TVET) and pursue programmes in TVET.

He added that the current perception that TVET was only a second-best option to a university education was doing more harm than good to socio-economic development in Ghana.

“In my country, Germany, and your country and many other places in the world, you can build a successful and sound career if you do not opt for university but rather opt for sound professional training,” he stated.

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Better and decent incomes

At a programme aimed at increasing the interest of the youth in TVET in Accra last Tuesday, Mr Retzlaff said: “In Ghana, there is a strong demand for skilled technicians, be it carpenters, painters, plumber and mechanics. In Germany, these skilled technicians are very well-respected members of society and they often earn more money than those doing white-collar jobs,” he said.

The one-day event was on the theme: “My future in my hands—Skill development at Accra Technical Training Centre (ATTC)” and attracted a number of students from some selected junior high schools and technical and vocational institutions in Accra.

It was jointly organised by the Ghana Skills Development Initiative (GSDI) and the ATTC, with support from the European Union (EU) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ GmbH), in commemoration of the ATTC’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The GSDI, which started in April 2016, is a project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the EU, and it is being implemented with the cooperation of Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET).

TVET central pillar

The German Ambassador, who described himself as a big fan of vocational training, said TVET was one of the central pillars of Germany’s development cooperation with Ghana over the years.

“The two countries are engaged in a lot of sustainable economic development and vocational training; we started our cooperation in the field of vocational training with Ghana in 2012 and now we have a portfolio of a little more than 20 million euros for vocational training.

“Germany has a strong traditional vocational training that dates back to the middle ages. Now Germany’s vocational training is an export model for many countries,” he said.

Empowering the youth

The Team Leader of Macroeconomic and Trade Sector of the European Union, Ms Sophie Autie, said the EU, the biggest international donor, was working around the world to reduce poverty to ensure sustainable economic development and promote democracy, good governance and respect for human rights.

She added that the private sector was the main engine of job creation and responsible for 90 per cent of employment in developing countries, a reason for which the EU is helping to increase investments and create policies for the youth.

“The EU seeks to empower the youth by promoting equal access to quality education and demand-driven vocational training necessary to create the appropriate conditions to tackle youth unemployment,” she said.

Ms Autie added that the European Commission had also committed nearly two billion euros in the form of bilateral education and work programmes to support youth development in developing nations.

In an address read on his behalf, the Executive Director of the COTVET, Dr Fred K. Asamoah, expressed appreciation to the GIZ and the EU to partner COTVET to train the youth in technical and vocational education.