By Godwin Bonge Muhwezi
Experts in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania met in Nairobi , Kenya between from 27th to 29th September to discuss the draft regional TVET Qualifications Framework. They were joined by delegates from other members of the Easte African Community (EAC) member states including Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda.
Speaking at the opening session of the meeting, the IUCEA Executive Secretary, Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, said “the harmonisation and mutual recognition of TVET Qualifications will support regional integration by facilitating the implementation of the EAC Treaty and the Common Market Protocol which call for free movement of skilled labour and professional services across the EAC region”.
Prof. Banyankimbona noted that at the end of the harmonisation process participants are also “expected to produce a set of harmonized standards toward mutual recognition of qualifications in selected priority occupations”.
Prof. Banyankimbona further noted that the exercise as “being undertaken in close partnership with industries so that the TVET qualifications and curricula respond to industry needs which is important in developing competent graduates that are relevant to the labour market”.
The draft framework was developed as part of the regional effort to harmonise TVET qualifications and occupational standards to increase mobility of skilled labour in the region in line with the EAC Common Market Protocol. The draft framework focusses on priority sectors of the economy including manufacturing, Agro-processing, energy, transport, and ICT.
The Principal Secretary State Department for Vocational and Technical Training, Ministry of Education in Kenya, Dr. Margaret Mwakima said, “A Regional TVET Qualifications Framework is an investment for increased access and progression in the regional as well as a basis for mutual trust”.
Dr. Mwakima further noted that, “The TVET qualifications framework will reduce incidences of time spent by trainees to re-learn to reach outcomes expected in other context as well as avail independence in decision making. It is therefore imperative that the harmonized occupational standards are all aligned with priority sectors as they are critical for the socio-economic recovery plan”.
The Deputy Secretary General for Social and Productive Sectors, EAC, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo said that, “the development of the Regional Qualifications Framework result in strengthening the quality of TVET training, facilitate mobility of TVET trained professionals, students and teachers and further facilitate recognition and referencing of TVET qualifications attained in the Partner States and enable us address the skills challenges we have in the Community”.
The Writer is a Project Communication Officer for EASTRIP at IUCEA