Here’s how African governments are building a skilled Africa, block by block

Governments in many African countries are beginning to believe that technical education and training are becoming increasingly crucial to their national development.

The increasing importance that African governments now attach to the promotion and development of vocational education and training is evident in many of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) developed by governments in the recent past.

Among the best features of vocational education and training is its emphasis on delivering employable skills. Governments are developing a system that can respond to the training needs of different learners, who come from different social, economic and academic backgrounds. Hence the system prepares learners for gainful employment and sustainable livelihoods. It also means that young and poor people in Africa will have easy access to employable skills and thus be able to provide for their families.

The content and delivery of vocational education in Africa varies from country to country; Education and training is also offered at different levels in different institutions, such as technical and vocational schools, technical institutes, and companies. However, the essence of education remains the same in all countries: empowering the young and the poor and making Africa the place it deserves in the global marketplace.

Many African countries – such as South Africa, Botswana and Namibia – have established national training authorities to promote vocational skills; These authorities are often given overall responsibility for skills development in their countries. Moreover, many NGOs and training companies are also creating a strong skilled manpower generation system for many industries, which were not able to get enough skilled manpower in the past few decades.

Key issues that the current vocational education and training system in Africa is likely to address:

Poor perception of vocational skills in Africa

Despite the great efforts of African governments to promote vocational education in Africa, the public as well as parents consider vocational skills and training appropriate only for those who are academically less fortunate. This perception must be changed. But this may take many years.

Linking vocational education and training to the labor market

The ultimate goal of vocational education in Africa and elsewhere is employment. Therefore, vocational skills must be adjusted to the needs of the labor market.

Last but not least, vocational education and training authorities are also required to ensure consistent quality in programs conducted for young people. Quality in training programs requires an adequate supply of training materials and practices, up-to-date equipment, relevant textbooks, and qualified trainers with experience in the institutions. And step by step, African governments are managing everything to build a skilled Africa and get the place it deserves in the global market.

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