There are a number of institutions, Government and non-Governmental agencies involved in TEVET in Malawi and it is critical that these agencies have regular exchanges of information on their plans and activities. Members of the STEP team actively participated in just such an exchange session at Ufulu Gardens, Lilongwe on February 27th. The event was organized by the Extension Department, Bunda Campus, of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and was part of a project funded by the Canadian International Development Research Council (IDRC).
The project called “Skills for Employment: Scaling Up TEVET in Africa” is a regional project which is conducting research to investigate quality, relevance and inclusiveness of TEVET to meet dynamic labour market and entrepreneurship needs thereby enhancing employability of the working age population.
The team from Bunda campus of LUANAR led by Dr. Daimon Kambewa presented the findings of their research on TEVET in Malawi to the assembled group of TEVET officials, NGOs and the private sector. Among the recommendations to improve TEVET in Malawi were the following:
Recommendations on Improving TEVET in Malawi from LUANAR Study
· Improve(TEVET) staff working conditions to motivate them
· Establish job placement and career guidance and counselling centres
· Regular implementation of curriculum reviews
· Organize work symposiums and career talks
· Provision of start-up capital for TVET graduates and links to financial institutions
· Advocate for better wages (perceived low returns and employment conditions of graduand)
· Organize forums where parents, teachers and employers can meet
· Improve TVET study conditions
· Establish professional associations
· Diffuse (reduce) negative perceptions – persistence of self-selection into traditional occupations by women
· Deliberate assignment into male dominated trades to bridge the occupation segregation gap (in addition to the 30% enrolment policy for women)
· All-inclusive approach to promotion of TVET that integrates labour market realities confronting TVET graduates
Persons familiar with STEP will recognize that components of our programme are well aligned to help implement many of the recommendations in the LUANAR study. This should come as no surprise since STEP was designed to address the concerns about TVET raised by the LUANAR study and those preceding it. For example, Component 1 of STEP is working with Youth to Youth (Y2Y) to run career guidance sessions in some 80 schools; Component 2 is developed revised curricula for construction courses in association with industry and TEVETA; and Component 3 is organizing stakeholder forums on TEVET.
STEP of course is conducting its own research on issues such as career guidance, gender based violence in technical training institutions, and gender and inclusion which speaks to ways of making TEVET institutions more gender friendly.