Govt invests GH¢3bn to improve TVET
The government is investing over GH¢3 billion to boost technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in order to create employment opportunities for the youth of the country.
The investments, which started last year, are funded with support from AVIC International of China and the VACE and Amatrol Labs of Austria.
The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic, said part of the funding was going into the upgrade of all national vocational and technical institutes (NVTIs), the re-tooling of workshops in technical universities and the two polytechnics, as well as the construction of 32 modern TVET institutions across all the 16 regions of the country.
“Planet Core is expanding and upgrading 35 TVET institutions (NVTIs, Opportunities Industrialisation Centres (OICs) and establishing two new foundry and machining centres in Kumasi and Accra, at a cost of 119 million euros, the equivalent of GH¢642.60 million.
That was about 3.7 per cent of the ministry's total budget, Dr Prempeh said in the interview that bordered on the government's plans for the TVET sector.
The government, he explained, “has re-emphasised the importance of TVET and skills and anchored its key strategies around them to create employment for the youth”.
He said “a deputy minister has been appointed, since 2017, to be responsible for ensuring that our TVET agenda succeeds”.
Free SHS programme
On free education for students of technical and vocational institutions, he said under the free SHS programme, all second-cycle government schools under the GES were beneficiaries and, “therefore, all government TVET schools under the GES are currently enjoying free education”.
Dr Prempeh explained that other government TVET schools which were currently not under the GES were all being realigned under the Ministry of Education, so that they could equally benefit from the programme.
“There is a bill in Parliament which is close to being passed to enforce the realignment of all TVET institutions under the Ministry of Education.
“The bill, when passed, will mean that all TVET schools will automatically benefit from the free SHS programme, And so to re-emphasise, TVET is currently free if the institution is under the GES. The bill seeks to allow those not currently benefitting to also benefit,” he explained.
Dr Prempeh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South in the Ashanti Region, further explained that the realignment of all TVET institutions to the Ministry of Education had already started and progressed steadily.
He added that all key stakeholders had been consulted and that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education had engaged those stakeholders a number of times on the bill that would facilitate or ensure the effective implementation of the realignment.
“The bill, when enacted, will ensure effective coordination, regulation, harmonisation, standard and improved quality of instruction in TVET delivery and the sector.
“Therefore, the realignment is ongoing and it is a core part of the Five-Year Strategic Plan for TVET Transformation,” he further explained.
The minister said all the technical universities and polytechnics had already received the attention of the government, explaining that they had all been provided with laboratories and workshops, with equipment supplied by Amatrol Inc.
“This is equipment that meets industry standards. Associated with this is the re-training of lecturers and facilitators through training of trainers (TOT) sessions,” he explained.
Dr Prempeh said a major benefit of the equipment was that “it uses real-world industrial quality components to help students become better prepared for what they will encounter on the job, with industry-relevant skills that make them ready for the job market”.
He said each equipment had topics that incorporated the skill development needed for modern industry, saying that it ranged from operation to complex troubleshooting.
“This is what is required to boost technical and vocational skills for the 21st century to tackle the challenges presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution which require tailor-made solutions that are adaptable country wide,” he added.
The minister said TVET could no longer be considered a place for dropouts, considering the lift, energy and resources that the government had introduced into it.
“To address these concerns, a Strategic Plan for TVET Transformation was developed and approved by the Cabinet and it is being implemented.
“In this strategic plan is the ‘My TVET Campaign’, which has been launched and is already bearing fruits. This campaign covers all aspects of the world of work and society,” he explained.
World Skills Africa
Dr Prempeh explained that the zonal and national skills competitions that were organised alone caught up with a lot of the youth, especially after some of the competitors were sponsored to participate in the World Skills Africa Competition in Kigali and returned with awards.
The Education Minister said at that competition, Ghana won gold, silver and bronze in different categories, adding: “This means that our students have the talent and the skills set which, if honed, can lead to national development.”
He added that through the campaigns, some of the winners were sent to Italy to train in mechatronics and that they were back in the country, leading in the development of robotic arms to train other youth.
“Alongside this, we are implementing the Career Guidance and Counselling programme, emphasising the importance of skills and TVET at the basic education level,” he added.
He said Ghana was now a member of the WorldSkills International, which provided the youth with the opportunity to participate at the international level in order to showcase to the world what Ghanaian youth had to offer.
Dr Prempeh stressed that TVET had never been given more prominence in the country than now, saying “TVET is now seen as the preferred option to general academic education”.