Ethiopia aspires to internationalize the quality of skilled labour as a potential source of the economy.
The East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP) which has been working to standardize the East Africa qualification framework and occupational standard has signed to validate a qualification framework for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) between the three east African countries; Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.
At the regional workshop on adoption of East African qualifications framework for TVET, Assegid Getachew, State Minister of Labour and Skills, said that EASTRIP will have quite a lot of benefits, including exploiting economies of scale to lower costs of training for individual countries on specialized and industry certified training programs, facilitating mobility of technology and skilled labour, promoting peer learning among countries and institutions and sharing good policies and practices, and targeting employment toward regional economic corridors such as the Northern and Central Corridor Initiatives and other mega infrastructure projects in the region.
“More importantly a project that is striving to not only create centers of excellence within our TVET polytechnic colleges but also to push beyond that and ensure a regional integration with our neighboring countries,” Assegid said.
The sharing of standards, curriculum, and training facilities will help reduce costs for each center. At the same time, demonstrations will help inform and guide the broader array of national TVET reforms in these countries. The regional TVET centers of excellence can serve the labor needs of major regional infrastructure projects.
Genene Abebe, technical working group coordinator, said that through the project the three countries have been working to validate their qualification framework that would allow the three countries to adopt each others standard and even shall share skills.
Genene told media that the scheme is crucial for economical benefit since if the countries have qualified skilled with accepted international standards that would attract investments and even exporting skilled labour to the region and globally with better and higher standard jobs and pay.
He reminded that the establishment of Education and Training Authority has concluded and the regulation has been ratified that would give life for the implantation of qualification framework.
Assegid said that certification has been a challenge, “currently we are looking abroad for certifications for skilled labour thus we send it overseas.”
”The establishment of a center of excellence will allow the country to certify Ethiopians locally with internationally accepted standards. For that the establishment of the centre is under construction that would have holistic facilities and expertise,” the State Minister told media.
EASTRIP is a project funded by the World Bank and the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to increase access and improve quality of TVET programs offered by the selected Regional Flagship TVET Institutes and promote regional integration.
The project is expected to benefit not only the three countries directly involved in the project but also other countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa. One of the project interventions is promoting the regional integration through mutual or regional recognition of TVET qualifications which will allow the free mobility of skilled workforce from one country to another.
According to the 2015 World Bank Enterprise Surveys, over 25 percent of the formal firms surveyed in Sub-Saharan Africa identify an inadequately educated workforce as a major constraint, and over 29 percent of all production workers are rated unskilled workers by these firms. Shortage of specialized TVET skills is particularly acute in transport, energy, manufacturing, including agro-processing, and ICT, and this could slow the industrialization agenda.