Fast adaptations in technology, changes in the organisation of the present-day labour force and the burdens of a worldwide marketplace have nurtured a growing dialogue about the training of youths and adults for work.
Centrally, the discourse underpins the acknowledgement that investment in the provision of technical and vocational education and training to the youth is of major prominence.
Therefore, the discourse of this article argues for Malawi to take advantage of its booming youth demographic dividend that needs to be harnessed to achieve Malawi 2063 (MW2063) goals through the provision of technical, entrepreneurial and vocational education and training (Tevet).
In view of this, how can Malawi develop the Tevet system that will boost skills development?
On the outset, it must be understood that the Ministry of Labour is the holder of the Tevet Policy.
In 1997, the ministry initiated a reform process to establish an overall autonomous Tevet Authority (Teveta) and this culminated in the development of the Tevet Policy of 1998 and the Act of 1999.
Now, 24 years after the enactment of the Tevet Act, the Ministry of Labour and Teveta need to conduct a comprehensive review of the sector focusing on the following objectives:
- to assess and analyse the potential needs of the Tevet system
- to review the Tevet system’s strategic important issues and activities, and
- to offer recommendations to the Ministry of Labour and Tevet for improved skills access, quality and governance of the sector.
The review will strengthen the Tevet system by highlighting its challenges, achievements, recommendations and strategic implementation processes.
It will come up with the following proposed outputs:
- provide the main findings and considerations supporting the strategic matters of the Tevet policy operation process, and
- outline a strategic overview for the next 10 years, listing key intervention areas.
The outputs from the review will help the Tevet system reposition itself in order to operationalise and champion the MW2063 vision, where technical and vocational training centres will be made available and accessible to the youth.
This will help Malawi achieve its aim of progressing to an industrialised upper middle-income country by 2063 through the incorporation of a strong element of academic excellence and technical and vocational skills fit for the labour market.
Unfortunately, the Tevet sector has focused very much on setting up structures and creating stakeholders’ awareness about the sector’s mandate and activities.
This has been done at the expense of the many challenges the sector faces such as lack of adequate and qualified teachers, non-responsive curriculum to the current needs of the labour market, in adequate financing, outdated training equipment, lack of assessment and certification system and body, weak institutional governance structures, lack of infrastructure and lack of a strong Tevet management system.
Nevertheless, the technical and vocational sector needs to start focusing on actual implementation of the policy by creating viable training providers and formation of technical and vocational training that is suitable for the labour market.
This should take into account the integration of skills development from primary, secondary up to tertiary education as expounded in MW2063 vision.
In conclusion, the Tevet system needs to focus on actual implementation of its policy and this will be achieved through a review of the system.
The review will strengthen the Tevet system by bringing about access, quality, relevance and strong governance of the system that will meet the desired outcome catering for 21st Century requirements.
This will make the Malawian youth “work-ready, world-ready and future-ready”, thereby giving them hope and our country the skilled workforce.