Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Teveta) established in 1999 celebrated clocking 20 years last year. The authority which was established as a regulatory authority in the job sector has also been instrumental in provision of skills training in technical and vocational education in the country. Our reporter, JACOB NANKHONYA caught up with the authority’s executive director WILSON MAKULUMIZA NKHOMA to give some highlights of the institution’s work in the past 20 years. Excerpts;
Why was Teveta established?
It was created by Section 4 of the Teveta Act as a regulatory body mandated to create an integrated Tevet System in Malawi. A system that is demand driven, designed to service both rural and urban Malawi through skills development. Apart from being a regulatory body, Teveta also promotes and facilitates the implementation of sustainable provision of quality skill development programmes in the country.
Was it necessary to establish this authority?
The idea of skills development in the country was introduced at the time Malawi was facing serious economic challenges. During that period, the government had just embarked on a journey of the Structural Adjustment Programme [SAP] that saw a number of State-owned companies being privatised. With a country that was already struggling with high unemployment rate, privatisation of government companies exacerbated the situation, as most companies also engaged themselves in the same reforms and reduced their workforce.
To ensure that those who had just been laid off as well as the unemployed are economically empowered the issue of reforming Tevet came into limelight. This was seen as a solution to unemployment and creation of a productive nation after learning from countries like Germany in terms of how they managed such effects of privatisation and the high unemployment rate.
How do you assess the past 20 years?
Reflecting on the 20 years’ journey of Teveta, various reforms in skills development programmes have been made. In the early years of establishment, the skills development programme was initiated as a tool for the unemployed to use for survival. Today, the impartation of the same skills is regarded as a full career that one can choose to pursue and become successful in life. This has been transformational on the labour market.
Has Tevet been able to recruit the right numbers of people to address its objectives since there is a high illiteracy level in the country?
With high illiteracy levels in the country, the apprenticeship programme could, however, not adequately address the objectives of initiating skills development programmes as it only targets those with Malawi School Certificate of Education [MSCE]. Therefore, the Informal Sector Skills Development Programme [ISSDP] was introduced in the inception years to address the need for skills by those that did not go far with their education.
The skills development initiatives under ISSDP are short, tailor- made and specific to particular needs of the beneficiaries and communities they live in and are implemented right away in the communities where they are demanded. The training delivery approach includes; training through Community Skills Development Centres [CSDCs]; Vocational Centres; Village Polytechnics; Master Craftsperson’s [MCs]; and through On the Job Training [OJT]. The informal sector in Malawi covers a spectrum of economic activities across all sectors in the country’s economy and absorbs more than 80 percent of the labour force in both the rural and urban areas.
What else does Teveta do?
Now and then Teveta undertakes inspection exercise to various institutions offering any form of training in order to check if they are meeting the required standards. Institutions that fail to meet the minimum required standards are either closed or are advised to stop offering training in a particular course depending on the gravity of their non-conformance to the standards. However, in some cases, institutions are advised and given a timeline to work on those shortfalls.
How do you ensure satisfactory skills acquisition by the trainees/apprentices?
Over the past years the Tevet sector has facilitated the development of the Tevet Qualification Framework to support the adoption of Competency Based Education Training [CBET] methodology as a mode of training, and enhance the regulatory structures of the Tevet system. The training approach ensures that students have both theoretical knowledge and practical experience in their chosen trades
Sometimes there has been confusion in certification and curriculum for technical and vocational training, how are things now?
In a bid to ensure sanity in the delivery of technical and vocational training, we harmonised the Tevet Curriculum, effective from 2017. This means those who graduate under the Tevet system will be awarded Malawi Tevet certificate and all the multiple certificates on the labour market such as Trade Test, Malawi Crafts Certificates and City and Guilds are phasing out.
Looking ahead, what is the future of Teveta?
The next years to come will be those of rapid growth of Teveta and its services. Most likely, the industry will be fiercer and we must say goodbye to the glorious past and get ready to embrace the future. Skilled workers in any developing country are a precursor to development, therefore we wish to assure you that we will continue to refocus and adopt a Tevet system that should make the country’s workforce competitive. This will demand that the Tevet system should be more accommodating and responsive to stakeholders and beneficiaries whilst the authority continues with its business re-engineering to adapt to the ever changing environment. Recently, the Tevet Authority launched its 2018-2023 Strategic Plan which gives us a push in as far as achieving our vision is concerned. As a regulatory body the strategic plan gives direction with focus on its regulatory and compliance service; facilitating provision of teacher training programmes and the establishment of the first ever Technical Teacher Training College in Malawi to address the evidently predominant capacity gaps in our instructors and ensure quality delivery of our training in the country.