Rwanda: TVET: Empowering the youth with practical skills

By (Michel Nkurunziza)

In the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the country was devastated in many ways including a lack of skilled labour and trainers in different technical fields. Those in the workforce had either been killed during the Genocide, while others, who had participated in the massacre, were either in prison or had fled the country.

The Ministry of Education developed the first Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) policy, adopted in 2008, to address the serious deficiencies in trained human capital for technical professions and meet the major objective of Vision 2020, to create a knowledge-based and technology-led economy.

The new policy led to the creation of Rwanda Polytechnic, approved by Cabinet in December 2017, which took over the TVET implementation role previously conducted by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA).


In 1994, Rwanda had five technical schools and a small number of vocational schools. By 2010, there were 69 TVET schools which have since increased to more than 360 TVET Centers with approximately 103,000 students.The number of graduate students increased from a few hundred in 1995 to 97,000 in 2018 and over 400,000 to date.

Electrical wheel chair for the handicapped

Rwanda Polytechnic has eight colleges designated as ”Integrated Polytechnic Regional Colleges” (IPRCs) which are: IPRC Gishari, IPRC Huye, IPRC Karongi, IPRC Kigali, IPRC Kitabi, IPRC Musanze, IPRC Ngoma, and IPRC Tumba. They offer Advanced Diploma & Diploma courses in different fields namely Civil Engineering, Irrigation and Water Engineering, Agriculture Engineering, Hospitality Management, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Tourism, Forest Resources Management, Mechanical Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, and Mining Engineering.

Training Centers in coveted skills have also been established like the Africa Digital Multimedia Academy (ADMA) created to equip students with the skills necessary to work in all areas of the digital media industry with the same degree of talent and resources as anywhere else in the world.

Rwanda Coding Academy is a model school that aims to produce, in a more sustainable manner, a pool of top-end experts in the field of software engineering in order to address the current shortage of software developers in the Rwandan market and the region.

Impact on labour market

Dr Eugene Mutimura, Minister of Education, says that the future is tending towards Hi-Tech and that the Polytechnic colleges established all over the country are aimed at positioning TVET as a very attractive course option for young people. “The National Strategy for Transformation 1 (NST1) has a target of ensuring that 60% of our young people are enrolled in TVET schools by 2024.”

Besides TVET Schools, the Minister strongly encourages all schools mainly tertiary institutions to provide more practical industrial orientated trainings

According to National Tracer Survey and Employer Satisfaction Survey for TVET graduates of the 2015/2016 academic year, employers are satisfied with the graduates. The survey showed that the employment rate within 6 months after graduation was 64.9% among TVET graduates and 75.2% among Polytechnic graduates. Most graduates in TVET schools and Polytechnics were satisfied with the quality of education at 72.4% and 76.6% respectively while employers’ satisfaction with graduates was at 78.2%.

Milk selling machine

Eng. Pascal Gatabazi, Director General, Workforce Development Authority, said that the research raised awareness of where improvement is needed to ensure that students are empowered with employable skills and entrepreneurship capacity. “This type of research is necessary and will continue because it is feedback that informs us of what measures need to be taken to ensure that the knowledge and skills that students acquire in TVETs and Higher Education institutions meet labour market demand.

We are allocating more resources to increase the capacity of teachers and availability of equipment and training consumables. It is our responsibility to help students to develop their entrepreneurial and innovative capacity and thus be able to scale up their innovations and become proprietors of small and medium enterprises that create jobs.”

Innovative skills

The growth in the number of TVET students has increased innovation. Students at IPRC-Tumba designed a hybrid system that combines power from utility grid and off-grid (solar system). The hybrid system has a solar power part with the capacity to generate 800 Watts that can supply electricity to 2 families in rural Rwanda.

They also developed a Smart Egg Incubator to incubate and hatch poultry eggs. This machine increases the productivity of poultry farming by incubating and hatching a huge number of eggs in a short time. The farmer can save more than 80% of their expenses.

IPRC-Tumba students also fabricated a Solar Water Heater which, over the years, has been continuously improved to attain higher levels of thermal efficiency and cost effectiveness. “We have to put much effort on innovations that can lead to rapid development,” said IPRC-Tumba Principal, Eng. Rita Mutabazi.

A smart egg incubator.

IPRC-Ngoma students built an electric wheelchair for the disabled to enable them to move freely in all directions, without expending much mechanical energy and reducing the need of a helper. They also built strong pavers made from recycled plastic waste and sand, used to pave different places such as pathways and parking spaces.

Dr James Gashumba, Vice Chancellor, Rwanda Polytechnic, said that TVETs were instituted to ensure that students were equipped with academic and work skills and also initiate a change in the mindset of students and parents regarding their view of occupations that require working with their hands. “Rwanda Polytechnic plans to carry out a national awareness raising campaign that will last one year, with the assistance of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, conveyed by Rwanda Broadcasting Agency. The campaign will be characterized by interactions with people who have made their mark in TVET, involve young people and social media to ensure that there is a lot of conversation such that by the end of the campaign young people who are gifted and creative and want to earn a good income will choose TVET instead of choosing TVET because they feel they are not intelligent enough. We want to change that mindset and are hopeful that we will.”


Rwanda: Burera youths warned against drug abuse

By (James Peter Nkurunziza)

The state minister expressed concern over the growing number of mental health cases

Youths from Burera District were on Wednesday warned against the abuse of drugs, reminding them of the repercussions that include loss of life, destroying life goals and lengthy prison sentences, among others.

This call was made by Agnes Mukagashugi, the Deputy Prosecutor General during an anti-drug abuse campaign held at Burera playground in an event that was organised by Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

“Drugs are responsible for the big number of cases of mental health patients in the country,” she said to a large audience that consisted students from secondary schools from across the district and area residents.

The meeting was also attended by the State Minister Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, local government officials including the Governor of Northern Province, and security officials among others.

Mukagashugi reminded the youths – whom he said are the main consumers of drugs – that drugs do not only affect the individual consuming them but also the community they live in and also the country as a whole.

She noted that in 2015-2016, over 4700 cases were recorded and in 2016-2017, the numbers significantly increased to over 5,600 cases but due to the anti-drug abuse campaigns that started soon after these findings, the numbers reduced from to slightly over 4,000 last year.

Ndimubanzi also expressed his concern over the growing number of mental health cases resulting from drug abuse that the country is facing at the moment.

“As a ministry, we shall not tire from fighting drug abuse through such types of campaigns throughout the country,” he said.

The Minister also cautioned residents to always be on the lookout against individuals that are involved in the abuse of drugs or selling them, saying that communities are destroyed where drugs are allowed to thrive.

Meanwhile, Ndimubanzi cautioned everyone present to be cautious of the Ebola scourge that had as of Wednesday reached neighbouring Uganda where three cases had been confirmed.

He argued residents to maintain proper sanitation at all times and also report individuals with symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding from different body parts such as ears, eyes and nose among others.

During the event, assorted drugs were destroyed in the presence of the residents.

Ghana Youths, Awake!

By (Richmond Anane-Simon)

According to the population structure by the Ghana Statistical Service, the youths dominate. Out of an estimated population of 26,902,628 Million people, 57% are under the age 25. It clearly indicates that Ghana has a very youthful population.

Aside that, those within the ages of 25-54 constitute 34.05% and other age groups contributing minutely to the total population. This ought to have reflected the fact that the state of this country is of utmost relevance to the vast majority of Ghanaian youths. However the convex rather reign.

In their slumber, they trade the destiny of our country and hand over the future of unborn children into the hands of some revaneous and self-seeking politicians who can afford the luxury of travelling to foreign countries for their health care, sleeping in mansions but don’t know a thing about the trauma that the average Ghanaian youth goes through.

In their slumber, they trade the destiny of our country and hand over the future of their children unborn to some mischievous individuals claiming to be Religious leaders and sent by God. They render the youth unproductive by engaging them in fruitless and unprofitable ventures to the relegation of national development. The Good book makes it clear that nobody works harder than God, for he worked for six days and rested for just a day. The Christian youth of today wants to work for a day and rest for six day. Hmm such an irony.

In their slumber, they study so hard, but know absolutely nothing, because they study just for examination purposes but not for life. ‘’ The average Ghanaian student is extremely hard working but not life working.” The knowledge acquired ends only in the classroom and scarcely applied.

If Ghana would become a developed nation then, there should be an intentional approach to developing its youths. If the youths of this country have no future then Ghana has no future.

I dare all the youths of our dear country reading this to awake from their slumber! The future of this country is largely dependent on you. Your knowledge acquired is relevant, your skills are relevant and most importantly your integrity is superbly relevant towards building our beloved county Ghana.

I dare the Ghanaian youths not to be apathetic towards the things of Ghana because they know that they may be largely affected if any mishap should occur.

I dare the Ghanaian youth to take responsibility of the future of this country and not blame others for their maladies.

Finally, I dare the Ghanaian youths to know that there is no elevator to success, they have got to use the stairs.

Awake! Ghana youths Awake! God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.

BY: Richmond Anane-Simon
Youth Activist, Thinker and founder, Rassam Initiative Team

Kenya youths get Sh30 billion for quality jobs

By (Fredrick Obura)

Five million youths across the country stand to benefit from a sh30 billion partnership aimed at creating quality jobs.

The project also known as Young Africa Works in Kenya is aligned to the country’s economic priorities, including the ‘Big Four’ sectors (enhancing manufacturing, food security and nutrition, universal health coverage, and affordable housing), as well as the digital economy.

Mastercard Foundation on Thursday said the commitment ropes in the government and private sector targeting to support 5 million Kenyans access quality jobs. The programme will run for a period of five years.

“Kenya has a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, a strong private sector, and an enabling policy environment,” said Reeta Roy, President, and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. “Young Africa Works in Kenya builds on this momentum to prepare and connect young people to opportunities that will grow the economy and transform their lives.”

The partnership is part of the Foundation’s ambitious strategy to enable 30 million young people in Africa secure dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

To achieve this, the Mastercard Foundation will implement solutions in 10 countries, including Kenya. The initiative will equip young people with digital, vocational, and life skills; use technology to connect employers and job seekers; and support entrepreneurs and micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to grow and generate work through access to finance business development services, and markets.

“We have a strong platform to expand job opportunities for our young people. We are now seeking to unlock their potential; with this platform being an important avenue to allow them to transform their lives, the country, and the world. What we are launching today will contribute significantly towards this goal in several ways,” said President Uhuru at the project launch.

Partners such as Equity Group Foundation, Equity Bank Group, KCB Group, and KCB Foundation will provide billions of shillings in the capital, business development services, and market linkages to MSMEs to support their growth.

The project will support the expansion of the Ajira Digital program, which will provide digital skills training and mentoring to young Kenyans as well as increase their access to locally available digital and digitally-enabled jobs.

This implementation will be undertaken with Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), and private sector innovators such as eMobilis.

In addition, Moringa School will provide digital and professional skills training in software development and data science through their blended learning model and will help place graduates in leading technology companies in Kenya and across the region.

The Mastercard Foundation is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to support the strengthening of technical and vocational education and training institutions (TVETs) in order to improve the employability of graduates while working closely with the private sector.

“Entrepreneurship is the key to an economically empowered nation,” said Ruth Kaveke, Co-founder and Executive Director of Pwani Teknowgalz, and one of the speakers at the launch event. “Young entrepreneurs need access to finance and mentorship, and importantly, the right exposure to domestic and international markets to generate revenue and provide job opportunities for other youth in the country.”

Zimbabwean’s Youth Participation Critical for Vision 2030

By (Pamela Shumba)

Youths have a critical role to play in the attainment of Vision 2030 and the improvement of transparency, accountability and good governance in the country, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said on Friday.

Addressing students from Bulawayo’s higher learning institutions during a public lecture at the Bulawayo Polytechnic, Minister Mutsvangwa said sustainable good governance cannot be achieved without the participation of youths.

The public lecture, which was also attended by Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo, was held under the theme: “The role of information and the youth in achieving Vision 2030.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said it was vital for the youth to play their part, while the Government plays its part as the country moves towards a better economy.

“Vision 2030 will only be attained if we improve the governance of this country. We’re working hard to improve transparency and accountability as the Government, but sustainable and good governance can’t be improved without the participation of the youth,” she said.

“For Vision 2030 to be sustainable, it has to be inculcated into the population from the early years. It has to be normalised as part of our culture.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said in Africa, about 60 percent of the population was below the age of 24, while 35 percent fall within the 15 to 35 age range.

She said Government could not attain any of its goals without involving the youth, adding that her ministry will ensure that the youth have adequate information and capacity to participate in the journey to Vision 2030.

The youth, Minister Mutsvangwa said, have a huge assignment to work hard in modern industry and complement the efforts made by previous generations, who fought for the country through military battles.

“We have thousands of youths who died as they were being trained to master modern weaponry and fought epic military battles,” she said.

“They paid the supreme price of life to create freedom so that future generations can live in prosperity. The youths we have today need to take it from there.

“Clearly, the odds are better, lighter and not life threatening. I’m confident that they can live up to that. Zimbabwe is a democracy. The Second Republic is opening the space so that the youths can fully exercise their rights and freely participate in governance.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said youths should take pride and be inspired by what Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have shown the world in terms of the country’s work ethic.

She said President Mnangagwa was working hard to provide a business environment that is better than what the Zimbabwean youths seek in other countries.

“Let’s take pride in that our fellow Zimbabweans are well regarded as diligent workers in various nations,” she said.

“This makes our task in Government that much easy and clear. The Government continues to embrace transparency and accountability and we can’t attain Vision 2030 if we can’t uphold the freedom of the people.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe’s future could only be secure if the youths took a leading role in the industrial revolution through innovation and information technology.

She urged the youths to demand space for their creativity and knock on the doors of Government until someone not only opens, but also delivers.

Minister Mutsvangwa said youths could choose to be merchants of anarchy and destruction or drivers of peace and national unity.

“This country will not achieve its national aspirations if a peaceful environment does not prevail,” she said.

“Vision 2030 is not only value driven, but it’s youth driven with information being the key driver. So, our young people should find their niche, not wait for opportunities, but help create them.

“As a nation, we want to develop our young people to be the custodians of our national aspirations and developmental goals.”

The youths, led by the Zimbabwe Congress of Students’ Union called on Government to help them become technologically advanced to reach out to the rest of the youths in the country in their drive to work with Government.

South Africa’s Growth Depends On Its Youth


According to the World Economic Forum, Africa will be home to a billion youth by 2050. South Africa alone has a youth population of 20.6 million, making up 35.7 percent of the country’s total population of about 57.7 people.

But even though a youthful population presents a significant opportunity in promoting the growth and advancement of any economy, factors such as disparity in educational quality and poverty, among others pose a huge risk in Africa.

In South Africa, unemployment has left thousands of youth feeling hopeless. This has largely been attributed to a slow-growing economy, which is struggling to create opportunities for those looking to break into the labour market.

According to Statistics South Africa, the unemployment rate among this age group was 55.2 percent in the 1st quarter of 2019. Among graduates in this age group, the unemployment rate was 31.0 percent during this period compared to 19.5 percent in the 4th quarter of 2018 – an increase of 11,4 percent.

In order to address this, the South African government is adopting more strategies to secure a brighter future for its youth. During the 2019 World Economic Forum in January, South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the country would be investing in more programmes to equip youth in schools and colleges with digital skills that will boost their future employment prospects, thereby growing the economy. At the recent State of the Nation Address, the president announced that he has secured R840bn in funding towards job creation. While this is a welcome relief particularly for South Africa’s youth, the emphasis should be on closing the skills gap considering that the world of work is changing due to continuous technological advancements.

For instance, according to Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2019 Survey , 78 percent of executives in South Africa predict significant disruption in the next three years. With the threat of new competition, technology transformation and rising customer expectations as top drivers of industry disruption, it’s no wonder that a majority of executives believe more than 20% of current jobs will cease to exist by 2022. edX’s 2018 survey findings reveal that employees will require a hybrid set of skills in technical, future-ready leadership and essential power in the new digital economy.

However, there are significant human capital risks – from the inability to close the skills gap to low engagement – that can slow the progress of digital transformation. With many graduates leaving school without the desired skillsets that could make them employable by companies at home or abroad, it creates uncertainty. While initiatives such as the Youth Employment Service (a collaboration between government, business and labour) offer a great opportunity for paid quality work experience for a million unemployed youth, skills gap remains a critical risk for companies to adapt in the new digital economy. As such, more organisations should rethink their strategies in preparing for the workforce of the future in order to accelerate their growth plans.

Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2019 survey highlights the importance of skill diversity and overall change in the way that work is delivered. In leveraging against the backdrop of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in securing economic opportunities and growth, human skills, such as complex problem solving, inclusive leadership, social collaboration, remain essential to digital transformation.

African youth are among the most talented people in the world. Quick to learn and highly motivated, they also have the ability to work under pressure, while developing vibrant ideas that could be massively transformative when given guidance. Once they are able to receive adequate training to help them seize those opportunities, everything changes. Avenues to employment such as entrepreneurship open up, and attitudes towards work change. Economic growth improves and everyone in the society benefits.

With this in mind, organisations should look at where to find future talent, how to access and build critical capabilities in order to capitalize on the booming youth population in South Africa and the rest of Africa. As this generation desires flexibility and mobility – they’re not looking for a long rewarding career with one firm, but rather a series of rewarding opportunities that offer personal and professional satisfaction. With a deeper understanding of their particular needs, wants and motivations, as well as the advice they value, organisations can design a talent value proposition that appeals to our youth.

With hybrid skillsets gaining strength in 2019, South Africa requires greater collaboration between government, business and labour in keeping up with the rapidly changing skill demand of jobs today. In a world of disruption, South Africa, and the rest of Africa, can capitalize on unpredictable market trends by unlocking the potential opportunities presented by a booming youth population. Investing in Africa’s youth will ensure that we solve some of today’s challenges to create rewarding and more secure futures for our continent.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Mercer.