Since the end of the civil unrest, the high level of unemployment in Liberia continues to raise eyebrows and the crisis situation has been attributed to the lack of the requisite skills set for available jobs.
The initiation of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led administration is an important intervention that would go a long way in address the scaring skills deficit that exist in the country. Speaking at the TVET policy validation seminar over the weekend in Monrovia, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Assistant Director General for Education Dr. Quian Tang said unemployment is a major issue that needs to be remedied. “Youth unemployment and under development are major issues that could have serious implication on the stability and national security of the country,” Tang said. Tang stressed the need for more attention to be directed towards youth in technical education area. He mentioned that, about 80% of the total population of the country is in the range of 26 years and too many of them are faced with unemployment. UNESCO Assistant Director General for Education emphasized that young people in Liberia are not only unemployed but also lack the requisite skills to compete for available jobs in the country. “Youth unemployment can be holistically addressed with the creation of vocational and technical training opportunities for young people,” Tang stressed. According to Dr. Tang, the lack of more skills for young people is a major challenge hindering Liberia’s economic growth and development. He said the draft policy of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) needs to be legislated in order to add economic value to the acquired knowledge. Dr. Tang said embarking on the TVET scheme will further expose the full potential of the youthful generation who he considered future leaders of the country. Moreover, the UNESCO Official recommitted his organization’s full support towards the development of youth through the TVET. Also making remark, the head of the Inter- Ministerial Task Force on Technical and Vocation Education and Minister of Youth and Sports Saah N’Tow pledged the government’s continued support to TVET. Minister N’Tow said the TVET program is something that should not be taken lightly but with seriousness for the empowerment of young people that will immensely contribute to the society. The National TVET Policy is crafted to meet up with the development of the country among the comity of nations up to 2020, aimed at improving the governance, management, and efficiency of its system through the establishment of coordinating body to be called LiTCOM. The policy will ensure that all learners acquire basic literacy, numeracy and life coping skills and incorporate the study of science, sexuality education, technology, and mathematics into all TVET programs as a means of facilitating the development of resilient and skilled human resource that is socially compatible and competitive locally and internationally. According to the policy document, the TVET is aimed at providing quality and relevant for all to enhance employability and livelihoods, harnessing human capital for increased manufacturing industrialization, promoting productivity and sustainability in agriculture, developing competitive workforce for the tourism and hospitality among others the Policy envisage. Meanwhile, the policy was thoroughly reviewed by government ministries, agencies, commissions, civil society, the private sector and further input are still been anticipated from the committee for its final completion before submission at the Legislature.