Practice-oriented training courses in Rwanda
Koblenz Chamber of Crafts • Promoting occupational qualification of the young generation
The Koblenz Chamber of Crafts is responsible for vocational education and training in the skilled trades. It maintains 13 vocational education and training centres in the north of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate for its approximately 19,500 member businesses. Key areas of vocational training and continuing education programmes include the construction and metal working professions as well as the food industry.
The Koblenz Chamber of Crafts started its international activities towards the end of the 1980s in Bulgaria and the Balkans, at first in projects that were funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Subsequently, further regions such as Africa and South-East Asia were included. The main goal was to support the German federal government in its international projects and to pass on the specific know-how regarding the German system of chambers and German business culture to partnering countries. In most cases, current international partnerships derive from contacts made in the context of this project work.
The Ost-West GmbH is a fully owned subsidiary of the Koblenz Chamber of Crafts. It was established specifically for the purpose of international co-operation and by now commands extensive experience in co-operating with partners worldwide. Of the chamber's nearly 300 employees, more than 40 experts have provided immediate creative input to projects abroad. During an event abroad several years ago, the Koblenz Chamber of Crafts established the first personal contacts to iMOVE; since that time, it has attended several iMOVE seminars and workshops in Germany.
With its stable and higher than average growth rates, Rwanda is one of the ten most strongly growing economies worldwide, according to the World Bank. In the past seven years, poverty in this country was reduced by more than 14 per cent. Rwanda intends to attain middle-income status by 2020.
In order to sustain economic growth and to promote the creation of new jobs, the government provides support for occupational qualification programmes. These include the creation of an employment market information system and the establishment of a vocational college association for the 78 vocational colleges in the country. In its capacity as the governmental certification agency, the newly created Workforce Development Authority (WDA) has developed mandatory job profiles for all occupational fields, which will be gradually introduced in the curricula of the various types of school.
The German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate has been active in Rwanda for 30 years. One of the many results of this partnership was the establishment of numerous training workshops in the East African state. The involvement of the Koblenz Chamber of Crafts in further projects in the field of vocational education and training derives from a corresponding request by the Rwanda-Rhineland-Palatinate partnership association.
The Koblenz Chamber of Crafts was able to contribute its expertise in several projects. In doing so, it placed particular importance on qualifying the instructors and teachers at the vocational colleges. In 2012, it took on the conception and implementation of a training workshop for renewable energy sources (solar thermal energy and photovoltaics) at the secondary school in Kibihekhane. So far, three training courses for vocational college teachers from the entire country have taken place there. After their successful final examination, the graduates received a certificate issued by the Koblenz Chamber of Crafts and the WDA. Further training courses for instructors are planned, in part with new learning modules and extended content. To render the lessons more descriptive, short films explaining the use of the technology available at the training workshop for renewable energy sources were created. These films facilitate the use of the technology and the joint work with students on the equipment also for the teachers.
Training programmes have been implemented also for other occupational fields. In late 2013, teachers and businesses from the entire country were the first to receive further training at a new, small facility for drinking water purification. A training course on current developments in the field of automotive mechatronics took place at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) East in Kibungo, one of the five leading vocational education and training centres in the country, which was specifically selected by the Rwandan government and furnished with modern equipment. All workshops were developed and carried out by experts from the Koblenz Chamber of Crafts and are scheduled to be offered also in the future.
In late October 2013, an international conference on vocational education and training took place in Kigali. There, the German experts presented the advantages of the dual system of vocational education and training. For a next step in their project work, the partners agreed on increasing the practical share in the vocational education and training provision and the integration of work placements in businesses.
This sucess story was first published in the iMOVE publication Developing Skills for Employability with German Partners • 8 Success Stories from Sub-Saharan Africa. The brochure was published in July 2014.