The Government of Eritrea has established different vocational training centers with the view of enhancing the number of skilled professionals, particularly among the youth. These training centers are making significant contribution in nurturing knowledge-equipped young workers. These youth in turn are playing vital role in backing up the on-going national development campaign. The Center for Vocational Training (CEVOT) is one of such vocational training centers and was set up in 2007 in Sawa to implement the outlined strategy of the Government on the ground. Over 10,000 students have thus far graduated from the center over the past few years in different fields. The Director of the Center, Mr. Fessehaye Kidane, has conducted an interview on the general activities of the center. Excerpts follow:
Could you please tell us about the objective of establishing the center?
The distribution of education system in the country was constrained to specific areas until 1991. The wide access of education across the country was made possible due to the huge investments on the part of the government. And with the inclusive revision of education system in 2003, a plan was mapped out to expand the 4 technical and vocational schools in Eritrea. And hence, the vocational training center was established in Sawa in line with the different colleges that were built in different parts of the country.
Could you tell us about CEVOT?
The now four years-old center is very well known across the country. The center has a capacity of training over 3,000 trainees in one batch; with 40% of the students are often female. The center comprises of five schools which include, building construction, modern agricultural and construction machineries, agricultural technology in addition to school of business and management. All government sectors especially those institutions which are linked with the fields of training have great input in the development of CEVOT.
On the first year of its commencement, the center provided training in 24 fields of studies. But through time this number was dropped to 19 fields as other vocational training schools were established. Some of the courses include metal and wood works, plumbing, technical drafting, computer application and accounting, among others.
How would you describe the contribution of this center in the on-going development drive?
All students usually worry about what kind of profession or career they would like to pursue after completing high school. At this time a large number of students are provided with vocational and technical centers to acquire a skill. This training is quite expensive when compared to other trainings. The government spends at least 15,000 Nakfa for each student in this center. In many countries, citizens are required to pay for secondary schools let alone to get vocational training for free. But here the expenses of providing this kind of training is considered as a worthwhile investment for securing brighter future both for the students and the country as a whole. In addition, these students are assigned to work in different fields and thus are participating in the nation building endeavors.
As regards the competence of the students we train, and the feedbacks we have received so far from the institutions that they are working under, is very encouraging and many experts have expressed admiration about the skill of these young workers. At this time, many government institutions are demanding workers from the 2008 batch students. Thus, we don’t have any doubt regarding their work competency.
What new developments have been introduced since the center was established?
Well, we have registered great improvement in alleviating book problems by preparing books for every subject in 2008. Each school also has development plan which is used as a reference for future planning as well as assessment and evaluation. We also offer training to upgrade the capacity of teachers in addition to promoting digitalized working approach.
What does the future hold for this center?
Previously we were providing training to students who didn’t pass high school leaving certificate examination but now we have enrolled those who passed their exams at certificate level. So the structure of this center is improving. In connection with the implementation of the new road map students would be able to join in vocational and technical training centers from grade 10. In general, Sawa would become a hub of skills training at certificate and diploma levels.