TANZANIA is among Eastern African countries that are lined up to benefit from over 670bn/- (293m US dollar) worth project from the Eastern Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP).
The project will be channeled towards the development of highly specialised Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes as well as industry-recognised short term certificate level training, and will target regional priority sectors in transport, energy, manufacturing and Information Communication and Technology(ICT).
A statement released by Inter- University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) yesterday, says the five-year project will run under World Bank’s (WB) financing as an International Development Association (IDA) loan to the tune of 483bn/- (210m US dollar) and over 190bn/- (83m US dollar) grant.
According to the statement, 18.4bn/- (8m US dollars) of the grant will go to IUCEA to facilitate and coordinate the project and implement regional initiatives that would promote the mobility of students and faculty within and beyond the region and to establish a community of practice of TVET in the region. Other countries that will also feature in the project include Kenya and Ethiopia.
“We are all aware of the magnitude and significance of TVET’s role in developing countries such as ours, and we also know TVET is currently at an infant stage,” noted Dr Abdiwasa Abdilahi, Ethiopian Minister of State for Science and Higher Education shortly after launching the project recently.
Dr Abdilahi noted that the low recognition of TVET had contributed to its low perception status. “Thus it needs our attention and active engagement to bring the status of TVET up to speed to where other nations are currently.”
On his part, WB EASTRIP Team Leader Xiaoyan Liang noted that a quality demanddriven TVET system could be a powerful engine for youth skills development leading to employment and poverty alleviation, and for economic restructuring and transformation, as already demonstrated in the Republic of Korea, Singapore and China, where TVET had been used as an instrument and channel for technology transfer and skills upgrading of workers.
The World Bank Country Director for Regional Integration, Ms Deborah Wetzel, stressed the need for Africa to industrialize and integrate. “Low productivity and capacity impede the diversification, industrialisation, and modernisation progress, and if not addressed could impede and even reverse economic growth. Industrialisation and regional integration are key development and transformation strategies for Africa,” she said.
She added that Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania represented the initial group of countries working together to establish regional flagship TVET Institutes that will not only provide the skilled workers required by the growing economies but also, as the word “flagship” entails, become shining stars to trigger and guide continental wide TVET reform.
Based on government nomination and competitive selection, 16 Regional Flagship TVET Institutes (RFTIs) were selected from the three participating countries.
Each flagship will specialise in specific sectors and occupations with niche programmes in highly specialised TVET diploma and degree programmes, as well as industry recognised short-term courses.
Among other things, EASTRIP is expected to strengthen the capacity of the 16 RFTIs to produce skills for the regional sector markets in transport, port management, energy, light manufacturing, and ICT.
The project is expected to close in December 2024.