By Maureen N Ntari

The 1st meeting of the technical committee on harmonization and mutual recognition of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the East African Community was last week launched by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education Dr.Fred Matiangi at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.

The main Agenda of the meeting included sensitization of the TVET experts, policy makers, and stakeholders on the current state of TVET in the region and the importance of promoting TVET as a driver of the regional economic development. The program’s overall goal is to contribute to increased employment and income generation for rural populations by improving their access to quality labour market oriented vocational training.

In his speech read by the Principal Secretary – Vocational and Technical Training, DrDinah Mwinzi, Dr Matiangi reminded participants of the importance of the harmonization of curriculum and the fact that it will act as a catalyst towards achieving free movement of people, labour and services within the EAC partner states as per the objectives of the common market protocol.

“The common market protocol defines the objective of the establishment of a TVET harmonization mechanism to facilitate free movement of people, labour and services. One of the key outcomes is to promote the mobility of citizens within and among member countries through the facilitation of a national and regional harmonization and mutual recognition of TVET,” he said.

The meeting, organized by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and hosted by the Department of East African Community Integration, was attended by Ministers and other top-level representatives from the EAC partner states and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Cabinet Secretary also said that the ministry is at the moment spearheading a major curriculum reform of the entire education system in Kenya.

The representative of the Swiss Ambassador Ms.Caroline Tissot appreciated the presence of all the stakeholders including the Department of East African Integration led by Dr. Alice Yalla who is the Director of Social Affairs.

Ms.Tissot pointed out the importance of the regional Integration in the growth and development of the global economy. She also reminded the meeting of the problem of youth unemployment in the region and emphasized the need for everyone to work towards finding a solution since it is an entire society’s problem.

Switzerland, she said, has been financing development projects in Kenya, Tanzania and West Africa since 2012 and is now financing the regional programme Promoting Market Oriented Skills in the Great Lakes Region (PROMOST)

The chair of the EAC Council of Ministers, Honourable John Munyingu sighted the importance of education, and TVET in the region and also the integration process.

“We are very committed towards working hard to improve TVET and also the growth of employment in the EAC region, “ he said in his speech.