Only about 10 per cent of students in the country offer formal technical, vocational education and training (TVET), the Director-General of the Commission for TVET (CTVET), Dr Fred Kyei Asamoah, has disclosed.
He said until recent years, there was no motivation for students to pursue TVET, adding that the area was considered the last resort for less-performing students.
Investing in TVET
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, Dr Asamoah explained that the current government had injected resources into TVET "because that is the way to realise our industrialisation goals”.
"Our target is to attain 25 per cent in the medium term and the long term is 50 per cent," he said.
Outlining what the government had done to improve TVET, he said since 2017, the government had injected $1 billion into revamping and retooling TVET in the country.
He said the amount was being used to build multi-purpose TVET centres throughout the country and also rehabilitate and refurbish all existing public TVET institutions.
“The government is also providing free skills upgrade for master craftsmen and apprentices, covering over 17,000 beneficiaries as of July 2021. It has also commenced work to construct 32 state-of-the-art TVET institutions (two per region), costing about $500 million, across all the 16 regions,” Dr Asamoah said.
He said the Cabinet and Parliament had, in 2019, approved the master framework agreement for all the 32 institutions, and that commercial (Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract) and funding for phases one and two had been completed.
He said the implementation of phase one was on course and processes had started for the second phase to start.
Phase one projects were to be located in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Akyem Awisa in the Eastern Region, Tolibri-Lawra in Upper West, Patuda in Bono East, Dambai in Oti, Boako in Western North, Salaga in Savannah, Guabuliga in North East and Kenyasi No.1 in Ahafo, he said.
Dr Asamoah added that with the coming into force of the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020 (Act 1023) and the Pre-Tertiary Education Act, 2020 (Act 1049), all TVET centres scattered among various ministries, both in the tertiary and the pre-tertiary space, were being brought under the Ministry of Education.
On efforts to make TVET attractive for students, he said the commission was piloting career guidance and counselling at the junior high school (JHS) level, with the primary goal to provide guidance and counselling for the students and the youth in general.
"The guidance and counselling project also seeks to encourage the girl-child to enter male-dominated skills areas and professions, such as mechatronics, electrical installation, information and communications technology (ICT), masonry, carpentry and mechanics," he explained.
Apart from that, he said, the project was also to improve the perception of technical and vocational education among the youth, thereby increasing enrolment into TVET institutions.
Dr Asamoah said it was also the expectation of CTVET to use the media to drum home some of the success stories on TVET through media engagements.
"We are also using role models in TVET and engaging the youth through TVET clubs," he added.
On scholarships, he said even though there was no targeted scholarship scheme for TVET, "all the scholarship programmes available in the country are accessible to learners in the TVET space.
These include the Ghana Education Trust (GETFund) and the Scholarship Secretariat," the director-general said.
Additionally, he said, there was the Ghana TVET Voucher and the Jobs and Skills projects which were providing free funding to support skills training.
Speaking on advantages of TVET education, Dr Asamoah explained that the skills sets that graduates from TVET acquired made them more valuable in the labour market, with the opportunity of securing jobs much faster than those on the grammar ladder, because “they are not only thinkers but also doers”.
"Again, they have the skills and opportunity to start their own businesses or go into partnerships; this orientation needs to get to TVET learners through the guidance and counselling sessions and TVET clubs," he added.
Dr Asamoah urged all TVET facilities within the pre-tertiary and the tertiary space to register and accredit their outfits, in compliance with Act 1023 and Act 1049, before June 30, 2022.
The registration, he explained, was to take measures to ensure quality, equitable and inclusive access in the provision of TVET, to accredit programmes, institutions, centres, facilitators, assessors and verifiers at formal, informal, non-formal, technical and vocational institutions to ensure quality delivery.