Participants at a round table conference on Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) have called on government to make TVET attractive by mainstreaming technical and vocational schools under the free SHS policy.
According to the participants, the failure to make technical and vocational schools part of the free SHS policy, had further entrenched the perception that technical and vocational training were for people who were not academically good.
They were of the view therefore, that in order to make technical and vocational training a programme of choice and not by chance, such schools should be part of the free SHS so that students after the JHS would be attracted to it.
The participants who included; industry players, heads and proprietors of technical and vocational institutions, educationists and many others, argued that the current arrangement where students opted for technical or vocational schools as the last resort was a huge impediment in making them a tool for national development.
The conference was organised by the Vocational Training for Females (VTF) in collaboration of Youth Bridge Foundation both Non-Governmental Organisations as part of an agenda to ignite interest of the public in TVET and the need for government to prioritise that sector to create employment and jobs for the teeming Ghanaian youth.
The VTF was established by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) and her partner the Bread for the Word/Protestant Development Services, Germany to respond to the church’s socio-economic objective of transforming lives of the people.
Since 1992, VTF has been an ardent advocate of a vibrant TVET sector in Ghana by introducing a number of interventions and innovations to enhance TVET delivery and also provided different support services to address the value chain development of the TVET sector, informing policy change and supporting enterprise development.
Ms Barbara Asher Ayisi, Deputy Minister for education in charge of TVET said plans were advanced to re-align all TVET institutions into the ministry of education as part of five-year strategic plan, because the current system where TVET institutions were scattered under different ministries had been identified as a major challenge.
She indicated that as part of the 5-year strategic plan and the pre-tertiary bill, “very soon we will have a fully-fledged TVET service just like the GES and a coordinating body to further improve TVET and set it as a national priority”
She observed that despite the gains made in the vocational and technical training, the perception that the sector was for less academic persons was unfortunate and reiterated government’s commitment to introduce fundamental reforms to the sector to mainstream TVET “as a first and not a last option for the youth”.
The Deputy Minister noted that the strategic plan has identified strongly the need to create awareness and change the stereotypes about TVET and commended the VTF for its pioneering role and continuous engagement to inform policy change in the TVET sector.
Ms Linda Agyei, Director of VTF indicated that a TVET advocacy committee re-echoed the importance of the TVET in national development and the need to give it the needed attention adding that TVET is inherent in itself the potential for employment and job creation which must not be overlooked.
Other key Speakers at the conference included; Professor Ransford Gyampo, Director Youth Bridge Research Institute, Mrs Leticia Osafo-Addo CEO Samba foods and Mrs Rosamond Appenteng, General Manager, Presbyterian Schools.