May 24, 2013, 1:17 PM
The forum drew participants from different sectors, among them educationists, security officers, and people who own and run vocational training centres.
In his keynote address, the permanent secretary at MOHERST, Dr Cherno Omar, revealed that there are 103 registered TVET institutions under the National Training Authority (NTA) that provide skills up to level 4.
This did not include the in-village skills training centre and the tertiary institutions, he said, adding that in the early 1980s, tertiary institutions were given a new a lease of life whilst the highest level of TVET was provided at the GTTI.
PS Barry disclosed that in the Gambia education status report published by MOBSE, it is indicated that TVET represented only 3.6 per cent of the level attended regarding the distribution of the adult population in sub-Saharan Africa, and as for The Gambia, this represents 5.1 per cent.
It also revealed that only 43 per cent of those who attended TVET and higher education are in formal employment, and TVET graduates tend to accept jobs with salaries far below their expectations.
He explained that in March 2014, MOHERST led a team across the country to gather firsthand information from selected beneficiaries of skills training to appraise the state in-village training centres, and other TVET centres in the country, but the challenges and perceptions alluded by the beneficiaries were enormous, which included gender stereotyping, mismatch between labour and supply demand, poor perception of TVET, imbalance of access to TVET institutions between the rural and urban areas.
VSO programme manager Samba B. Jallow said the TVET forum was a momentous occasion in the history of the academia and youth empowerment in The Gambia.
He also said it was equally a deeply fulfilling event for VSO-The Gambia as it marked an auspicious start to a promising partnership between MOHERST and VSO-The Gambia.
He disclosed that VSO is a leading independent and international development organization that works through volunteers to fight poverty in 35 fragile and least developed countries in the world.
For over 50 years VSO had brought positive and sustainable changes to the lives of millions of poor and disadvantaged people, Mr Jallow said.
He pointed out that in 2013 and 2014, VSO supported over 660 partners working at every level of society from government organizations at a national level to health and education facilities at local level, and they also work in four thematic areas.
He said it was a fact that vocational training and skills developments are an integral part of the strategy to develop The Gambia’s economy and promote employment opportunities.
Mr Jallow noted that as the case with most developing countries, our youths are challenged by inadequate market-driven practical skills that would support their employment by the formal sector, as well as challenges relating to inadequate entrepreneurial skills to be engaged in economically viable self-employment or jobs.
Babucarr Bouye, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, who launched the TVET forum, emphasised the significance of having skills.
He added that his ministry had just awarded 10 contracts to 10 Gambian contractors with Gambian staff, and if someone should visit those working sites the person would find them working.
He disclosed that most of the students he taught at high school are now contractors, adding that MOBSE would continue to collaborate with MOHERST and to revitalize and project TVET in a decent manner.