#National News

NAVSTI chairman expresses worry over effect of Covid-19 on TVETs

Aug 25, 2020, 4:03 PM

Chairman of the National Association of Vocational & Skills Training Institutes (NAVSTI) has expressed concern on the impact of the State of Public Emergency imposed by government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic on training institutions in the country.

Abdoulie Sowe was speaking last Friday in a statement on behalf of the association.

He said all TVET institutions were ordered to close for business since the declaration of the first state of public emergency on the 17th of March 2020; the effect of the pandemic is global and affects all strata of the economy.

The impact, he went on, is more severe on TVETs.

Whiles other businesses are allowed to open partially, Sowe observed that there has been a total and complete lockdown of all training institutions for the past 5 months.

He cited that the impact of the closure has a serious negative effect especially in the TVET and skills sector, as there is evidence that the major challenge for institutions has been to remain operational and to continue to provide their services to the community, despite having suspended face-to-face classes.

Sowe noted that while some government institutions and corporate businesses are more likely to have ready-made online learning solutions for their students and employees, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) like most TVETS typically do not.

“TVETS require specific support from service providers and Government to promote up-skilling and re-skilling of their employees and to explore online learning solutions during this period”, he said, noting that we must also not overlook the fact that TVET and skills programs do not easily migrate to distance and online learning and hence the need for support.

“Training institutions are dying and there has not been any support from Government”, he lamented, saying it is a well-known fact that training institutes rely solely on school fees; with no more fees from students, the question remains, “how can we continue paying salaries when no money is being generated?”

He indicated that they are obliged to pay their staff and have the desire to but with the current situation and its unpredictability, they might struggle to pay salaries and rent if the pandemic isn’t wrestled down soon.

“We know that the ripple down effects of the current crisis are profound and potentially long lasting. We have our young people staying at home not engaged in any meaningful skills development, this can lead to high rate of juvenile delinquency as the adage goes “the idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, he opined.

NAVSTI is the umbrella body of all TVETs (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) in The Gambia.

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