He said there have been two earlier such policies in 2010 and in 2014 respectively that survived only in draft form, but never went through Cabinet or Parliamentary scrutiny, hence the need for the current government of President Julius Maada Bio to ensure that a comprehensive TVET policy that can stand the test of time is formulated and enacted into law.
He went further to state that following the approval of a $20,000 World Bank loan, the MTHE is currently developing this National TVET Policy in collaboration and in consultation with all relevant stakeholders/partners including GIZ. He added that the process is being led by a national consultant with both national and international experience in policy development and implementation. He added that this loan would be divided into three parts and that one part would be to support TVET providers that apply to the MTHE.
He informed the press that at every stage of the process there would be regional consultations which will be conducted simultaneously to further solicit stakeholders’ inputs in the five regions namely: East in Kenema, South in Bo, North in Makeni and West in Freetown. He added that a final validation workshop will be held by the 4th week of April this year leading to the finalization of the TVET 2019 Policy before the final document will be presented to Parliament for approval and enactment.
According to Prof. Gbakima, the first National TVET Policy was drafted in 2010 by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology with support from UNESCO. He lamented however that this policy did not go through the regulatory parliamentary procedures and remained a draft until 2014 when another review process was triggered through a loan agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and Islamic Development Bank to support the growth and development of TVET in Sierra Leone.
“The 2014 revised TVET Draft Policy faced similar challenges and also remained a draft to date. Thus, the provision of a credible and comprehensive TVET Policy to guide the operations of institutions, agencies, the private sector and other TVET service providers has become priority to the Ministry of Technical and Higher education since inception,” Prof. Gbakima noted.
He maintained that the objectives of the new TVET Policy are to set up a common vision for the TVET system in Sierra Leone; to facilitate alignment with the natural development framework and coherence with other policies; to enhance coordination of planned actions and reforms for improving outcomes and impact of TVET; to clarify institutional arrangements and stakeholders roles and responsibilities for TVET; to integrate best practices at national and international levels, and to pledge the political and collective will of the GoSL and implementing stakeholders.
A question and answer session climaxed the event.