Rwanda: A fund for local skills development

Rwanda has announced the setting up of the National Fund for Skills Development in Rwanda (NFSD). This initiative is part of an ambitious strategy to build local capacities through two components: training and financing. The private sector is invited to contribute.

By Bilkiss Mentari

Rwanda has embarked on an ambitious development program and aspires to become a middle-income economy by 2035 and to join the ranks of high-income countries by 2050, with effects already tangible, though slowed down by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Though growth is back, the country still needs to be equipped with the human resources to carry out its national ambitions. 

“A study to conduct a broad assessment of needs”

Hence the efforts made by the government for a number of years, the integration of technology in education, the attraction of international higher education institutions including the American university Carnegie Mellon located in the heart of Kigali Innovation City. But before going any further, the government has undertaken to conduct a broad assessment of the needs in this area. Thus, a study to develop a comparative analysis of technical vocational education and training (TVET) landscape in Rwanda was launched on November 21 by the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) with the support of the European Union (EU). Similarly, the National Fund for Skills Development in Rwanda (NFSD) is to be established to capture best practices in TVET financing.

“We want the private sector to play a role not only financially but also in training”

“We have realized, from many countries, that to be able to run TVET successfully, there is a need for sufficient funds. Many countries have done so and we want to see if we can also do it here. The government has already invested in TVET but it is not enough. That is why we need to think of other ways to support it,” said Claudette Irere, Minister of State in charge of ICT and TVET, who also invites the local private sector to contribute. “We want the private sector to play a role not only financially but also in the training we provide, so that they can respond to some of the challenges they face.” As such the NFSD will therefore be a platform for stakeholders’ engagement in mobilizing financial resources and ensuring their effective use towards the development of a highly skilled workforce to drive national economic transformation.

In line with the National Transformation Strategy (NST1), TVET should respond to ever changing demands in the labor market through the development of new training programs, the application of new training technologies, and by providing opportunities for employees to engage in continuous professional development and lifelong learning.

“Recommendations that will emanate from the study are expected to play a fundamental role in achieving the Vision 2050 strategy”

An initiative that received support from European cooperation. “Like any public policy area, TVET systems and their performance are shaped to a significant degree by financing,” says Michela Tomasera, Head of Cooperation of the European Union in Rwanda. We believe that this assignment, which shows the EU’s commitment to supporting skills development and youth employment in Rwanda, will provide practical recommendations on financing TVET in an open and participatory approach. 

Meanwhile, the recommendations that will emanate from the study are expected to play a fundamental role in achieving the vision 2050 strategy. 

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