The TVET stakeholders in the East African Community (EAC) have called on EAC Secretariat and Partners States to facilitate the finalisation of the TVET harmonisation strategy so as to spur fully realisation of the fruits of the TVET sector.

Speaking during the East African Community (EAC)-African Union (AU) Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Dialogue Forum, which was held from 28th- 30th August 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, the representatives from all the partners States also placed on the EAC Secretariat to facilitate the eestablishment of a regional body to coordinate TVET in the EAC.

The three-day meet was organised to consider the progress that has been made in harmonizing the EAC TVET sector, pending actions to be taken by the EAC TVET TECHNICOM in operationalizing the EAC TVET harmonization strategy.

The organisers used the opportunity to increase awareness of the different stakeholders on contemporary developments in the TVET sector in EAC and in Africa and also aroused engagements between the African Union and the EAC on how to align regional TVET strategies with the continental one – the African Union Plan of Action for the TVET Decade (2019 -2028).

The participants shared best practices and experiences shared amongst Partner States and also the Regional Economic Communitiess (RECs) and also engaged with with development partners on the way forward with harnessing the potentials of TVET for Africa’s development.

The Dialogue Forum was attended by the representatives of the Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs in the EAC Partner States, the representatives of the Ministries responsible for Education and TVET in the EAC Partner States, representatives of designated EAC TVET Centres of Excellence, representatives of National Quality Assurance and Examination Agencies. Others were the TVET Experts, representatives of the Industry/Private Sector, the development partners with a focus on TVET (i.e Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, JICA, UNESCO, and African Development Bank, a representative of the Inter-University Council for East Africa, and representatives of the African Union.

The Director General of TVET Authority (TVETA), the host regulator Dr. Kipkirui Langat observed that the COMESA treaty calls for the removal of obstacles to the free movement of persons, the right of establishment, and the right of residence.

“The Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Labour, Services, Right of Establishment and Right of Residence establishes a gradual implementation process involving the removal of visa requirements, movement of skilled labour, movement of services, right of establishment and right of residence,” he noted.

He told the high-level gathering that although the TVET sub-sector in Kenya has experienced moderate growth over the last 40 years, the sub-sector is yet to produce adequate and skilled middle level human resource required to meet the demands for national development.

“The Ratio of Engineers, Technologists, Technicians and Artisans required for Vision 2030 should be at the ration 1:3:12:60. At the moment we have an estimated gap of about 30,000 Engineers/Technologists, 90,000 Technicians and 400,000 Artisans, “he said.

The East African Community Secretariat Deputy Secretary General (Productive and Social Sectors) Christophe Bazivamo, noted that the EAC youth advantage could only be turned into an opportunity if strategic and timely choices and investments are made to stimulate, nurture, develop and utilize the potentials in this youthful population.

He informed the participants that the EAC had developed a TVET harmonization strategy and set up a technical committee to operationalize the strategy. He underscored the essence of this forum in re-starting the EAC TVET harmonization process through the inputs of the different stakeholders involved.