The Ministry of Skill and Labor is establishing the frameworks required for institutes of technical and vocational education training (TVET) to offer postgraduate and doctoral programs.
For decades, TVETs offered only diploma programs, which were widely regarded as inferior to the academically focused degrees offered by higher education institutions, such as universities.
Increased focus on TVETs coincided with a rise in the number of grade 12 students who were able to earn a passing grade but failed to meet the minimum entry requirement for universities.
“TVETs will soon begin offering PhD programs,” affirmed Muferiat Kemil, minister of Skills and Labor, in a Parliament session held last week.
By offering post-graduate programs, authorities intend to improve the country’s TVET education system, which is criticized for not being aligned with development programs. Over the last decade, the number of TVETs has more than tripled to over 1,600. More than 883 of the TVETs are owned by private entities, with the remaining under public ownership.
Despite numerous attempts by the government and development partners to modernize TVETs, the process was hampered by a lack of qualified instructors and an attitude problem among parents and students regarding the relevance of TVETs. Nearly all TVET instructors hold degrees and diplomas.
Acknowledging the difficulty encountered thus far, experts applauded the government’s decision to allow TVETs to offer postgraduate programs.
“Modernizing the TVET system in Ethiopia has many benefits,” said Tadesse Ayenew, an expert in TVET education. “It increases the public’s confidence in TVET by demonstrating that there are opportunities for success in this discipline.
In Ethiopia, TVETs provide over 124 different types of training.
Tadele believes that the introduction of new graduate and postgraduate programs will enhance TVET education.
He added, “It helps to improve the quality of education and create more employment opportunities in the sector.”