Senior Rwandan academic and Vice Chancellor of Rwanda Polytechnic joins CARE-P and the University of Newcastle’s TVET Think Tank

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

CARE-P executive member Professor Shirley Randell AO has been liaising with both, Dr James Gashumba, Vice Chancellor of Rwanda Polytechnic, and Eng Pascal Gatabazi, the Director General of the Workforce Development Authority, who are the key leaders driving Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) developments in Rwanda.

Dr James Gashumba
Dr James Gashumba

Dr Gashumba has been unable to return from an international conference in Melbourne to Kigali because of the pandemic and was able to participate in the last CARE-P Executive members Zoom meeting. He has joined UON’s TVET Think Tank that is preparing for a TVET Congress at the University of Botswana in 2021.

Following discussions with Professor Shirley Randell AO, the chair of CARE-P, Dr Janet Dzator, was delighted to welcome Dr James Gashumba to the last meeting of the CARE-P Executive Leadership Group. Dr Gashumba will also join the TVET Think Tank that is preparing for a TVET Congress at the University of Botswana in 2021. TVET is one of the areas where the University of Newcastle’s (UON) world class achievers in education design and delivery are engaging with the rest of the world and CARE-P facilitates this engagement with partners in Africa. TVET is at the centre of sustainable practices focussing on skills development to support individuals, businesses and industries in sustaining the growth and development of rapidly changing economies across the globe.  Dr Gashumba has provided this news item on the Skills Development Agenda in Rwanda.

Rwanda is a small country in the middle hinterland of Africa with few or yet-to-be tapped natural mineral resources. For this reason, the country’s leadership has decidedly followed a policy of developing the nation’s most important and abundant resource, its human capital. About 70 per cent of Rwanda’s population is under 30 years of age. Moreover, the Rwandan age-old culture of love and praise of hard work, despising idleness and laziness, stands this nation in good stead as she embarks on a most ambitious agenda of skills development to transform the population into a productive workforce to build a knowledge-based economy. This agenda is enshrined in the TVET Policy of 2015 which is giving the private sector more influence in TVET and skills training; this policy is in the process of revision in 2020.

Since the establishment of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) over ten years ago, there have been giant gains in skills development both at secondary technical school and tertiary (polytechnic) levels. However because of the high-speed of industrial transformation in the country’s economy, the government established the Rwanda Polytechnic (RP) just over two years ago as the implementing arm, while WDA will continue as the regulatory agency of the skills development drive. RP has the unique double role of overseeing the whole spectrum of the value chain of skills development in lower education - from the basic hands-on skills like tailoring, carpentry, welding, masonry, etc., to the high-end, high-tech ICT-driven skills such as multimedia, mechatronics, engineering, energy, etc, and tending towards the 4IR skills of the emerging technologies.

Dr Gashumba has emphasized time and again the great importance and urgency of partnerships in this effort. Professor Randell said that this ambitious agenda will no doubt call for more than sheer willpower and determination of the Rwandans; there will be great need for collaboration and cooperation with other like-minded agencies and universities both regionally and internationally. CARE-P is excited to be one of the international universities keen to collaborate with Rwandan key institutions.

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