What 63 vocational training centres mean for education

Vocational training college in Bukoba district, Kagera region. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Vocational training offers a safe bet for individuals who do not want to waste time looking for undiscovered positions in formal education

Dar es Salaam. Experts told The Citizen yesterday that Tanzania still has challenges, including a lack of craftsmen and technicians, who make up the majority of the workforce, particularly in the industries of engineering and manufacturing.

In this regard, the government’s aim to increase vocational education and training (Veta) in the nation is timely given that an increasing number of university graduates lack the necessary skills for employment.

Prof. Adolf Mkenda, the minister of education, science, and technology, said yesterday that the strategies to deliver competence-based education go hand in hand with the ongoing effort to bring about reforms in the education system.

He stated that one of the strategies being used to better meet the aim is the financial year 2022–2023 plan to build 63 Vocational Education and Training Centres (Veta) in 63 districts, along with one for each region.

Prof. Mkenda was speaking in Dodoma during a joint session of the Ministry’s management and that of Veta with the aim of jointly discussing strategies for the implementation of the construction of the said training hubs.

In the opinion of experts, vocational training offers a safe bet for individuals who do not want to waste time looking for undiscovered positions but instead want to work for themselves or even seize many of the opportunities that are present in the labour market.

They used the 1:5:25 ratio as an example of the internationally advised ratio for engineers, technicians, and craftsmen.

However, in Tanzania, the current ratio stands at 1:0.2:2.6, which highlights high skill shortages in the sector.

“In countries like China, the most demanded level of education is technical institutions or vocational training, and this is why we always have them in our major projects,” Dr Emmanuel Feresi from the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology said in an interview.

“We need to get away from the ‘I or you must go to university mindset’ and focus on making lives better, and I believe this is the aim of our current government,” he added.

Prof Mkenda said that in this year 2022/23, the Ministry has allocated Sh100 billion for the construction of the said centres, thus calling for districts to come up with their own strategies to ensure that the construction starts immediately in accordance with all relevant procedures.

According to Prof Mkenda, one of the areas that can provide quality education and skills is through Veta, and the solid strategies that the government has adopted aim at achieving the same.

“I want us to go together in setting this history; we are going to make a major reform of education by ensuring that we provide education and skills... Now I want the construction of these centres to take off on time and with speed,” said Prof Mkenda.

Speaking about the preparations for the construction, Mr George Sambali (Engineer) from Veta said that so far, out of the 63 districts where the construction will take place, 59 districts already have the land and construction is set to begin.