Kigali — In an era where all governments are
fighting against poverty, particularly as they pursue
their set Millennium Development Goals (MDG's),
education is vital.
Today, not all Rwandans are able to afford all school
dues as a result of prevailing financial constraints.
Statistics in Rwanda show that out of every children
who starts school, only less than
one percent make it to University.
The rest drop out of school, and embark
on agricultural tasks while others
move to the city in search of odd jobs.
provide alternative avenues of education
for Rwandans, the Ministry of Education
through the Workforce Development Authority
(WDA) has vowed to strengthen and
expand Vocational Training Centres (VTC's).
These will provide alternative education to school
dropouts to attain meaningful employment
so as to live productive lives.
WDA Deputy Director General Fatima Mukarubibi
views vocational training as an important
factor in the drive to enhance
This she said will raise people out of poverty
despite people's negative mentality
that continues to hinder its success.
"Parents need to stop thinking that
a good child is one who goes to university
and that one who joins vocational training
Students from VTCs are able to get jobs
just as their counterparts who join
higher institutes of education,"
WDA is mandated to facilitate skills development
programmes that ensure hands-on training that
is different from the traditional theoretical
knowledge passed on by
most educational institutions.
Since inception, the Integrated Polytechnic
Regional Centre (IPRC) popularly known as
Kavumu, located about two hours from
Kigali in Rwanda's Southern Province,
youth have been equipped in
various occupational skills.
and continues to enrol even more.
The serene environment in consists of numerous
lecture halls, student quarters and
machine rooms that host the different classes.
Francis Muhizi is a 23 year- old a S.3 drop out
who has enrolled for vocational training at
the centre because his parents can no
longer pay his secondary school fees.
"I am from Mutara, I heard people talking about
Kavumu and the skills that they taught.
I thought of the skills I would acquire if
I decided to come because I knew that
my parents could no longer pay
my secondary school fees," Muhizi said.
He adds that, "It's easy to study from here
because we are provided
with meals and hostels to stay in."
At Kavumu, Muhizi successfully
joined the Automotive Electricity class.
"I have always fancied cars, and I am
determined to acquire skills that will
assist me to get a job later," he said.
In Muhizi's class, a make shift car and
demonstrative equipments are on top
of the table as the trainer assists
his students to understand the mechanism
of automobile cars.
The attentive students periodically
interrupt him with various questions
as they seek for answers.
The trainer uses Kinyarwanda, French
and English because students
do not share a common language.
"I will be here for as long as I am able
to understand all these machines.
I studied human sciences in school so it's
not very hard for me to understand
all the new machines," says Muhizi.
Muhizi said that he is sure to land a job
in an automobile company or
probably start his own mechanic shop.
For other students like Muhizi the training centre
will serve as a bridge to self sufficiency
and a niche in the current job market.
In the 'Machine Tools' class a few blocks away,
Faustin Munyengabe, a trainer progresses on
with his lesson and this time,
there are little interruptions.
The blackboard is covered with different formulas
as Munyengabe makes an effort to explain
the complex theories of machine functioning.
"We try all we can to make the training
as practical as possible.
This helps the students to understand
the hard concepts behind machine operations,"
However, Munyengabe admits that training
is quite tasking since students do not share
a common language.
He said that some are francophone
while others only understand Kinyarwanda.
"Having all the needed equipments assists
to make the classes more practical," he said.
As a prerequisite of joining the classes,
the vocational centre expects students to have
a background of sciences and mathematics
that makes understanding easier.
Munyengabe assured that as soon as
his students graduate, they are able to work
for any firm that manufactures tools and
equipment or start small businesses.
he is proud to see his students acquire the skills
necessary to eventually provide for their
own needs and contribute to the local economy.
"This institution takes students who have dropped
out of senior three and are at least 18 years old.
After enrolment we facilitate their training in a field
of their choice.
Their school fees are affordable and it
includes boarding fees.
Upon completion we invite employers to review
their achievements for placement," Rudahunga explained.
Rudahunga notes that though several campaigns
have been made to attract women into the institution,
very few have enrolled for training.
"I understand that some courses we offer
especially engineering and automotive mechanics
are perceived not to be lady-like.
Women don't want to be associated with them.
However, we have beauty and cooking courses
that still attract very few of them.
It seems we still have to work on raising
awareness to encourage women to join,"
IPRC provides training in priority fields
like; electricity, plumbing, construction, publicworks,
automobile mechanics, welding, cookery,
machine maintenance, hair and beauty.
The courses provide a platform for students
at to compete favourably in the labour markets
According to Rudahunga, the school has
four levels that were completed after 6 years.
The students contribute Rwf 45,000 for the courses,
the most expensive is automotive mechanics
that costs Rwf 185,000.
These expenses cover food and
housing for the students
The Belgium Technical Co-operation (BTC) is one
of the partners attached to the institution.
They have availed state-of-the-art machinery
and equipments for practical training in the school.
"Our partners such as BTC have provided us
with equipments that have made learning
As a result statistics show that a huge percentage
of our students have good jobs," Rudahunga affirms.
Against this background, Rwanda's youths who
have dropped out of school are encouraged
to go to VTC's in order to be trained
on relevant skills for the evolving needs
of employers as they contribute to
the country's economic development.
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Kigali - RWANDA
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