Botswana needs to create one (1) million jobs until the middle of the century if she is to achieve full employment. But, according to the Demographic Dividend report, in order to maintain the current unemployment rate the country will have to create 340 000 jobs until 2050.
Ambassador of the European Union to Botswana and SADC, Jan Sadek shared these staggering statistics recently during the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Sector (TVET) communication campaign dubbed “Making TVET cool”. Sadek said that demographic developers in Botswana will see thousands of young people enter the labour market in coming decades, in a context where the formal labour market is still small.
He advised that youth need to be empowered with skills that meet the market requirements of technical skills, soft skills and work ethics in order to get jobs.Entrepreneurial skills must be complemented by policies that support entrepreneurship in order to create self-sustained employment, he said. Sadek said that providing youth with access to education and Technical and Vocational Training is of paramount importance. “If we want to boost investment and create jobs, skills need to be matched with demands of the labor market,” he said.
He added that TVET increases employability by equipping the youth with the technical skills to meet labour market needs and opportunities. The campaign is aimed at changing the perception that society already has regarding TVET as programme targeting students with minimum pass rate. He added that TVET and skills training do not create jobs themselves, but that jobs are created by the private sector. “The active engagement of the private sector in all levels of the TVET system is fundamental to increase its quality and relevance through apprenticeships, internships and on-the-job training,” said Sadek.
He said making TVET an effective driver for the country’s economic and social development needs concerted efforts and actions of all stakeholders.“It requires a well-functioning governance framework that incorporates and balances stakeholders’ different interests, expectations and potentials through strong collaboration of public and private actors at all levels,” he said. Sadek shared that the EU is supporting skills development in several countries in the SADC region and that in Botswana they have a budget support programme targeting TVET reforms that amounts to 13 MUER.
A representative of Changing Parents’ Persperctives on TVET, Victoria Damame concurred that a lot of parents perceive TVET to be meant for the less academically gifted students, which limits the potential and impact of the programme. “This is supported by certain views like vigorous entry requirements. Students who enrol for TVET mostly have less points and that even goes to an extent of hindering those with higher qualifications to choose a TVET course because a parent won’t allow it, with that perception that TVET is for the less academic students,” she said.