Zim to fix Bots’s skills mismatch
Gaborone – Botswana is collaborating with Zimbabwe to address a public outcry about the quality of graduates from local vocational institutions.
The agreement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in Technical and Vocational Education and Training between the two countries.
Botswana education minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, says the agreement is of mutual benefit to the two countries.
She says the collaboration would see Zimbabwean technical and vocational education and training personnel seconded to Botswana for a fixed term.
Venson-Moitoi also notes that Botswana personnel would also go to Zimbabwe for training.
There has been a public outcry about the products from the vocational institutions, which are said to be ill-equipped for the labour market, the minister says.
The education minister has urged those tasked with implementing the agreement to make sure that it succeeds since both countries have shown political will to help produce the best product for the world market.
She says Botswana has a high number of qualified people who are unemployed because they lack skills required by the market. Consequently, expatriates are recruited for such jobs.
“This is clearly a sign of mismatch in the type of graduates we have as opposed to the types of jobs the economy is producing,” she said.
She says in order to match the graduates to the jobs, there was need to increase training in vocations because the industry requires a lot of people.
Venson-Moitoi says there is a shortage of trainers in technical colleges; hence, the country could not produce enough people in the vocations.
The collaboration with Zimbabwe would promote opportunities, avenues and resources that would facilitate a well-trained, competent and productive workforce, which would strengthen industry and commerce for increased productivity, Venson-Moitoi says.
Venson-Moitoi says through the collaboration, Zimbabwe would help Botswana identify a group of lecturers to train personnel in four technical colleges.
“It is my hope that Zimbabwe will be willing to share with us, by way of experience, in teaching and producing people for the industry,” she says.
She says she believes in south to south co-operation and that for it to bear fruits, it should start with the neighbours (Zimbabwe).
“Starting with our neighbours means recognising the worth and the competencies of our neighbours,” says the minister.
She says Zimbabwe had proved to be the best country in the SADC region regarding vocational training, as evidenced by the number of technical workers who worked for government on contract basis.
Venson-Moitoi urges the joint committee of technical and vocational education and training to move with speed so that by August, the first batch of trainers could arrive in Botswana to start the job.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean acting minister for Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Ignatius Chombo, says the signing of the MoU would go a long way in deepening and strengthening relations and co-operation between the two countries.
He says he looks forward to having a report on meaningful progress in the implementation of the MoU.