Malawi’s challenges in reducing skills mismatch could be reduced with an effective system for recognising skills acquired through non-formal and informal learning, Godfrey Kafere, director of technical and vocational training in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development has said.
Speaking at International Labour Organisation (ILO)offices in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Friday at the end of a week-long study tour, Kafere said most skilled workforce, especially those in the informal sector, are lowly regarded due to lack of formal qualifications that would enable them compete favourably in the business environment.
He said it was for this reason that his ministry partnered with ILO to put in place Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as a process for recognising and certifying knowledge and skills acquired outside the formal training environment.
“We have started the preparatory work with regards to rolling out of the RPL. So far, we have put in place RPL guidelines which will be aligned to the Southern African Development Community [Sadc] RPL guidelines.
“We have heard that your system is working effectively; hence, we were here to learn best practices on RPL and how the Tanzanians are benefiting from the system. We are impressed with the way RPL is being implemented here,” said Kafere.
He said his ministry intends to align the National Trade Testing Certification to the Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training (Tevet) qualifications framework so that the Department of Trade Testing Services (DTTS) assumes the roles of RPL.
In his remarks, ILO Tanzania officer in charge Jealous Chilowe said skills development has come in a big way, hence, it was important for various countries to learn from each other on best practices in the implementation of RPL.
“We need to encourage this because it is through this way that we can improve the system. We also need to share various issues on how we can improve the quality of our apprentices to ensure production of quality products,” said Chilowe.
Earlier on Monday, the delegation paid a courtesy call at Tanzania’s Ministry of Labour Youth, Employment and People with Disabilities.
Briefing the Malawi delegation, assistant director of employment in Tanzania’s Ministry of Labour Youth, Employment and People with Disabilities, Joseph Nganga, said Tanzania government recognises RPL as one of the national skills development programme priorities and that it has been mainstreamed in most of the national policies.
ILO, through the Skills for Employability Project, is supporting the Government of Malawi and social partners to enhance responsiveness of skill training and employability of Tevet graduates and workers through the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) to develop national guidelines for RPL in Malawi. n