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FOSDA pushes for uniformed TVET education in ECOWAS sub-region to end unemployment

Theodora William Anti.

By Rachel Kakraba

Executive Director, Foundation for Security Development in Africa (FOSDA), Theodora William Anti, says despite huge investment in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), in Ghana, it is one of the sectors confronted with infrastructure challenges. The situation, she said, is the reason many people, especially the youth, do not choose TVET for higher learning. She has therefore called on the government to do more to resource the sector.

Madam Anti was speaking at the 2023 TVET forum in Accra. It was organised by FOSDA with funding from OXFAM and explored strides made in the transformation of TVET in Ghana in the past five years to enhance the employability of the youth.

Madam Anti, who expressed worry at the high number of youth unemployment, noted the TVET sector is critical to bridging the unemployment gap in Ghana as well as enhancing the security of the country. This, she said, is a reason relevant investment must be made into it to attract more youth whose employability would be enhanced.

“We believe that TVET is one of the key sectors that can provide many jobs or that can close the gap of youth unemployment in the country and enhance our security.”

She disclosed that FOSDA, with support from Oxfam and funding from DANIDA, is engaging ECOWAS to adapt an ECOWAS Action Plan on TVET to streamline TVET education in the sub-region.

“With the support of Oxfam and funding from DANIDA, we are engaging ECOWAS to adapt an action plan on their strategy plan on TVET, something that all ECOWAS states can adapt and work with it, so we have a uniform TVET service, TVET education, or TVET implementation and delivery across the ECOWAS state. Hopefully that will help with youth unemployment that we see across the sub-regions.”

Senior Technical Advisor to the Director General, Ghana Technical and Vocational Education and Training, David Mensah, charged industries to partner TVET institutions to provide requisite training to learners to make them competitive globally. He said countries the world over have developed due to the importance placed on TVET education.

“I think a forum like this, where we are wondering about huge government funding and huge investment, is it reflecting? It’s a very important engagement to have because TVET should be the way, it’s the soul of employment in this country, as other developed world have done it.”

He said although it is capital-intensive, it has a huge impact on the country and called for massive investment in the sector.

“It is very expensive, and it should be expensive. You cannot compare grammar education to TVET education. Provision of the learning materials, tools, and equipment that we need to be changing because everything is changing, technology is changing, society is changing.”

Head of Policy Planning Research Monitoring and Evaluation, Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Samuel Thompson, while acknowledging some challenges in the sector, said they have been addressed with the realignment of TVET institutions under the Ministry of Education.

Samuel Thompson.

He said there has been a massive infrastructure upgrade in all Technical Universities and Technical Institutes across the country, as well as the construction of new workshops in TVET institutions across the country.

Mr. Thompson said a sector skills project has been incorporated into training to prepare graduates for jobs, thereby enhancing their employability.

“Going forward we established the sector Skills Project, which is working. Before we did that we did the skills gaps analysis and audit.”

Project Coordinator OXFAM, Wumbei Dokurugu, said his outfit remains committed to the wellbeing of the vulnerable in society as a way of eliminating poverty. He called for the support of the private sector to expand the TVET sector.

Wumbei Dokurugu.

“Private sector should be a key stakeholder in the business of TVET because I think it’s one of the sectors that are the direct beneficiaries of the skills that we are going to produce.”

Project Officer FOSDA, Solomon Okai, in a presentation on research findings undertaken by FOSDA on the TVET sector dubbed “My TVET MY Report,” acknowledged increased investment in TVET education, which according to him has improved access and quality. This, however, he noted, has not translated into increased participation by women or persons living with disabilities.

“We realised access has improved, with the introduction of free TVET, enrollment has doubled. You go to some of the schools and space is even becoming a problem. That one is clear on the grounds, very good policy that has increased access. But what we are also realizing is that the access is not translating into immediate increase of women participation.  Then when it comes to disability inclusion it’s nothing to write home about.”

Solomon Okai.

The research, he added, was undertaken by its youth network located in the Upper East, Northern, North East, Ashanti, Volta, Eastern, and Greater Accra.

It focused on access and participation, quality, domestic financing, and green adaptation of TVET.

Mr. Okai said recommendations would be presented to relevant authorities to cause changes in the TVET sector.

There was a panel discussion on stakeholder perspectives of the TVET sector as well as youth perspective on the TVET sector reforms.

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