The Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, says the government is implementing various initiatives to encourage the country’s youth to choose technical education.

Christina Mkutumula, Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the ministry says some of the initiatives are; the construction of modern community technical colleges and skills development centres in all districts in Malawi, the government subsidized fees in the technical colleges to make them affordable to many youths.

The other initiatives according to Mkutumula are; the provision of bursaries to girls and needy students to enhance equitable access to technical education in Malawi, introduction of entrepreneurship studies in order to inspire students to venture into business or apply for jobs that are business related after graduating.

Mkutumula says the government also provides start-up tools for community technical college graduates.

The PRO says technical education is very important in Malawi’s economic development.

“Technical education increases the quality and volume of the skilled workforce, reducing the unemployment rate as students are equipped with the entrepreneurship skills that enable them to be self-employed and eventually employ others as well.  This in turn contributes to the economic development of the country,” she explains.

She adds, “self-employed graduates help to contribute in the socio-economic development of the country through the payment of taxes after registering their respective businesses.”

On the measures that have been put in place to ensure that TEVET responds to the needs of the country, Mkutumula says the government has involved all relevant stakeholders in the development of curriculum so that it addresses the needs of industry.

She says the government ensures that courses that are offered in the colleges respond to the needs of industry.

“We also ensure that industry takes the central role in monitoring students during attachment programs,” she says.

One of the stakeholders the government is working with to strengthen technical education in Malawi is UNESCO, through Skills and Technical Education Program (STEP) with funding from the European Union.