The demand for highly skilled employees to meet the needs of the knowledge economy is growing. Hence, investing in people, their knowledge and skills is the key for the success of national socio-economic development. As Brandt, Yoka (2015) ascertains: “Investing in education isn’t just the right thing to do, its smart economics”. If that is the future we want, we must invest in our youths of today. It is in this context that Technical Education and Training is of great strategic importance to the social-economical development of our country. Among the reasons for this assertion is that, it:
- Absorbs a big proportion of secondary school leavers;
- Provides for most middle cadre employees in the country;
- Has great potential for self-employment and informal sector activities;
National Council for Technical Education (NACTE)
The National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) was established by Act of Parliament Cap. 129 (No. 9 of 1997) to oversee and coordinate the provision of technical education and training in all non university institutions in Tanzania. Technical education and training in this context is defined as “education and training undertaken by students to equip them to play roles requiring higher levels of skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes/ethics and in which they take responsibility for their areas of specialization”.
The goals and objectives of Technical and Education and Training (TET) is to impart, mainly to young people, the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to enable them contribute to the socio-economic development of their communities, and ultimately that of the nation. Essentially, technical Education and training has a basic influence on the quality and efficiency of the labour force, and hence on: productivity and quality of goods and services; potential for technological change and product innovation; and problem solving.
Therefore, NACTE is cognizant of and fully accepts its responsibility of contributing significantly towards the realization of the Tanzania vision 2025. The aspirations of our country can be realized, to a greater extent, with the availability of a technical education and training system, which the Council is endeavoring to achieve, capable of producing a critical mass of high quality technicians and professionals required to effectively respond to and manage development challenges of our nation at all levels.
Increased Access to Technical Education and Training
The number of registered technical institutions has been increasing over years. This has opened up more opportunities for youth from secondary schools to access technical education and training. The National Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania (BEST,2018) indicates that there was an increase of registered technical institutions from 324 in 2012 to 540 in 2018 (221 Government owned Institutions; and 319 Non-Government owned Institutions) registered by the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE), and thus legally authorized to provide technical education and training in Tanzania. In that regard, there has been an increase of enrolment as well. Generally, the trend shows that the number of students has increased for both male and female students from 112,447 in 2012 to 128,121 in 2018 (BEST, 2018).
Increased Educational Equity and Opportunities
The Technical Education and Training (TET) in Tanzania, practically implements the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030, guided by the Tanzania Development Vision, 2025, the National Five Year Development Plan, 2016/17 – 2020/21, the Education and Training Policy, 2014 and other related policies to ensure that equitable access to quality technical education is provided to all youths and adults across the subsector. Basically, TET’s main emphasis is to enable everyone in the target group have equal opportunity to learn, develop and enhance knowledge, skills and competences regardless the gender, disability, disadvantaged and vulnerability or any kind of obstacle, so that all can equally participate and contribute in creating transformative changes and development in the national economy.
The observed gradual increase of enrollment in technical institutions which is from 112,447 in 2012 to 128,121 in 2018 out of which the number of female students was 53,889 in 2012 and 57,456 in 2018, makes a remarkable indicator for achieving progressive gender equity in technical education and training. On the other hand, the enrolment of students by field of study and awards indicates that the enrollment in science and allied technology programmes is 19,386 in 2018 out of which the number of females enrolled was 5,596, i.e. 29% (BEST, 2018). This indicates that there is a need of devising gender mainstreaming strategies to increase the number of females in science and technology related fields. At institutional level, there have been initiatives to mainstream gender issues, specifically to ensure increased number of females in science and technology programmes; including introduction of access courses for female students.
Improved Quality of Technical Education and Training
An improvement in the quality of technical education and training is critical for enhancing employment prospects. Various kinds of trainings are needed to reduce the skills mismatch problem. For that purpose and in the effort to ensure provision of quality and relevant technical education and training, Competence Based Education and Training (CBET) was introduced in Technical Education and Training Sector. All of this serve to bridge skills gap and enrich human capital, which is essential to boosting productivity and incomes. To implement this initiative, various procedures and guidelines are developed and used in various stages of developing competence-based curricula.
Technical education and training by itself does not create jobs but it is beneficial when it is associated with the actual needs of the labour market, whereby it enhances economical and social development through human development in various ways. It is very essential as it imparts people with knowledge; skills and adequate understanding necessary to enable them to contribute effectively to various economic activities and address the problem of poverty and its associated problems. For instance, provision of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to especially youth and women, opens way to self-reliance in the absence of salaried employment and, also enhance industrialization process of any country.
Therefore, investing in technical education and training is key for the success of our national socio-economic development as it has significant contribution to Tanzania’s economic development, by making more Tanzanians, job creators than job seekers.