Vocational education system needs restructuring

Published on 7 February 2012 in News
Sadeq Al-Wesabi (author), Sadeq Al-Wesabi (writer)

Sadeq Al-Wesabi


Sadeq Al-Wesabi

The Industrial and Technical Institute in Hodeida offers vocational training for 680 students in nine different courses. Sadeq Al-Wesabi

The Industrial and Technical Institute in Hodeida offers vocational training for 680 students in nine different courses. Sadeq Al-Wesabi

HODEIDA, Nov. 30 – Technical education and vocational training institutes in Yemen are poorly equipped and unprofessionally managed.

The institutes have played a vital role in reducing the unemployment rate in Yemen but they need rehabilitation and restructuring, said the dean of the Industrial and Technical Institute in Hodeida.

The Yemen Times visited the school in Hodeida governorate. Despite the increasing demand from young students for such institutes, Hodeida has only one, which has a limited capacity for only 680 students.

"Many of the students and youths are keen to register at the institute but the capacity is very limited," said Esam Taher, the Quality Department associate at the institute.

The majority of students are poor but their enthusiasm to study is very high. Most of the institute's furniture, table and chairs are made by the students.

The institute has nine departments including refrigeration and air conditioning, welding, mechanics and plumbing.

Taher said the students are very enthusiastic to start their own projects after graduation and several were able to establish their own projects and become very successful.

Hussein Ebraheem, 18, a student at the welding department said that he benefited immensely from  the institute, but demanded more modern equipment. "I feel that I'm skilled now. Experience is not enough – it’s important to study in such institutes,"

Ebraheem aspires to open his own welding shop after graduation.

Abdul-Malik Al-Bahsh, Dean of the institute, said that the technical education and vocational training is the base of development. "If we are able to train and qualify our huge human wealth we will be able to eliminate unemployment and develop our country.

"The cost of building technical education and vocational training is very high. Building vocational training institutes is not like building schools. The government should cooperate with private sectors to build more institutes with modern equipment," he told the Yemen Times.

"Unfortunately, only three percent of Yemen's students can register in these institutes while in other countries about 55 percent of students have the chance," he explained.

"Gulf countries seek skilled labor from Yemen. We can send many students and youths to these countries to find better opportunities but we first must provide them with qualifications," he said.

Al-Bahsh called on the government to expand the capacity of the institute to receive more students.

Quality assurance system

With the aim of building long-term confidence among students and employers in the quality of  Yemen's vocational system, the British Council has developed a strategy of cooperation with the Ministry of Technical Education and Vocational Training to establish quality assurance and inspection systems. They aim to ensure that young people in Yemen have the right skills to compete successfully for jobs in the national and international marketplace.

This strategy is based on the British Council's Skills for Employability Program that focuses on building strong relationships with industry, employers, governments and training providers, using the UK's expertise on standards, innovation and creativity in the field of skills training.

The Technical and Industrial Institute in Hodeida was one of the three institutes in Yemen that was chosen by the British Council to implement this system.

Three inspectors from the Ministry of Technical Education and Vocational Training visited the departments to make sure the institute has implemented the system to its fullest.

Speaking about the impact of the quality assurance and inspection system on the institute, Abdul-Malik Al-Bahsh said: "This system was a guide for us to improve our performance. It has positively affected students and teachers, leading them to perform skillfully and professionally.

"Many of the students started documenting their projects and thinking in different ways. Moreover, teachers started searching out new methods to teach their students," he said. "We have seen tangible benefits after implementing this system. Students, teachers and employees became more punctual and skilled."