The current Government’s development agenda as stipulated in the National Five Years Development Plan II (FYDP II - 2016/17–2020/21) and Tanzania Development Vision (TDV) 2025 is in the mind of everyone. Both FYDP II and TDV 2025 aim at attaining a middle income country, which is driven by an industrial sector. Society’s development is associated with its ability to transform resources into products and services rather than on the amount of resources it has. A vivid example is the success of the industrial revolution, which was associated with the ability to transform raw materials into competitive products and services. Therefore it goes without saying that the contribution of vocational education and training on industrial development cannot be overemphasized. This has been evident elsewhere, it is not exception today and Tanzania cannot do without it.
Skilled and competent workforce stimulates initiation and development of industries and also contributes to increasing employment rates. The Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) has been entrusted with the role of overseeing development of skilled workforce, which constitute majority of the operations manpower required in industrial production and services. A question comes, how VETA has positioned itself to support the country current economic development agenda?
The Acting Director General of VETA, Dr. Bwire Ndazi, described some of critical issues of which VETA has outlined various strategies to fulfil its mandate within the context of the national development agenda. He says, as the country forges ahead with the implementation of its development agenda towards realisation of Tanzania Development Vision 2025 and the Five Years Development Plan II, VETA has just developed its fifth strategic plan also known as VETA Corporate Plan V. The strategic plan outlines expected contribution of vocational education and training and will be used as strategic guide for VETA’s endeavour during the period from 2018/2019 to 2022/2023.
“This new strategic plan has greatly taken stock and considered the contemporary socio-economic trends in Tanzania, including the current industrialisation agenda, the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 and the Tanzania’s Five-year Development Plan II of 2016/17–2020/21. Through this plan, we have positioned ourselves to ensure sufficient and competent artisans for supporting in increasing productivity and employment in Tanzania,” he says.
In specific, he says, the plan cherishes quality of vocational education and training; equitable access to vocational education and training, and improvement of management and administration. Likewise, the plan looks into strengthening of manpower and control mechanisms to ensure that there is transparency, accountability, and integrity in provision of vocational education and training services.
Dr. Ndazi elaborates further that VETA Corporate Plan V, is built on previous successes and continues to strengthen Vocational Education and Training (VET) provision and regulatory systems, outlines strategies and training delivery through institutional, outreach, Open and Distant Learning (ODL) and e-learning, and apprenticeship modes.
“Reflection of the previous years and the imagination of the future prospects have resulted into identification of critical issues to be addressed. The issues include improving VET provision; strengthening skills application; improving VET programs; promoting creativity and innovation, enhancing equitable access to VET, strengthening labour market information management; enhancing Workshops equipment and facilities; enhancing Financial management system; modernizing financial management system; enhancing collaboration and partnership; improving human resource development; improving working environment improving Infrastructure construction and improving infrastructure rehabilitation and renovation,” he explains.
Dr Ndazi mentions other critical issues identified as improving VET financing; improving VET promotion; ensuring excellence in TVET education, teaching, leadership, management and professional skills. Furthermore, the Authority saw need for enhancing management information system; improving performance management system; improving documentation and data management; improving ICT usage and reinforcing implementation of internal policies and guidelines.
To address those critical issues, the plan set out different strategies including improvement of labour market information; strengthening VET quality audit; promotion of creativity and innovation; improvement of training infrastructure; and enhancing partnership in vocational education and training. Also, promotion of VET for disadvantaged groups; promotion of gender equity in vocational education and training; increasing vocational education and training opportunities; improvement of working environment; enhancing Management information systems; strengthening financial management; and enhancing VET marketing and promotion.
He mentions notable targets of over the period, which include enrolment of 400 people with disabilities every year; enrolment of 2400 vulnerable youth every year; increasing female trainee’s enrolment from 35% to 45%; increasing enrolment in all vocational training centres from 200,000 to 700,000 youth and certification of 200,000 informally trained apprentices. Others are increasing enrolment of vocational teacher students from 1500 to 3500; training of 15,000 informal sector operators through Integrated Training for Entrepreneurship Promotion (INTEP).
“We therefore seek to increase the number of VET graduates (artisans), inclusion of special groups, increased gender equity and increase of innovation emanating from VET activities. Also, we aim at transforming innovative ideas into marketable products or services; to establish 15 new VET centres; and formalise collaboration with as many as possible formal sector companies in skills enhancement programme,” he adds.
The VET Board Chairman, Mr. Peter Maduki explains further that the Five-Year Corporate Plan identifies five (5) strategic objectives that set a land mark of the organisation’s intervention to achieve its desired vision. One of the objectives is, “Enhanced quality of vocational education and training,” whereby labour market information will be improved, VET quality audit will be strengthened, creativity and innovations will be promoted, training infrastructures will be improved and partnership in VET system will be strengthened. Another objective pertains to enhancing access and equity in VET system. In this strategic objective the Authority aims to promote gender equity in VET, increase VET opportunities and include disadvantaged groups. The third objective focuses on improved VETA management and administration by strengthening human resource management; improving working environment; strengthening management information system and financial management as well as enhancing VET marketing and promotion. The Fourth and the Fifth objectives focus on reducing HIV/AIDS infection and improving supportive services as well as enhancing, sustaining and implementing National Anti-corruption strategy.
“With our core mandate of overseeing vocational education and training in Tanzania, we are obliged to continuously ensure that we address the needs of the labour market by producing competent and employable graduates. VETA is obliged to ensure the diverse groups in the society, including vulnerable groups, have access to vocational education and training and continues to play a great role in contributing to increased productivity in industries and reducing unemployment and poverty in the country,” he says.
He says, the Fifth VETA Corporate Plan, in the life history of VETA, has been prepared with due attention of the current strategic focus of the country, particularly the aim of becoming middle income country through industrialisation, rural development and inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Mr. Maduki expresses his commitment towards implementation of the plan in collaboration with different stakeholders. He recognises the contribution of various stakeholders on the achievements of VETA plans and VET activities. He therefore invites and requests stakeholders, particularly from the manufacturing industry and development partners to cement such efforts by continuously providing support, feedback and advice in the course of implementation of the Plan.