Education and skills development: Examining the effectiveness of technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training in Solwezi district of Zambia
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This study was an examination of the effectiveness of Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) in provision of education and skills development in Solwezi District. The assumption behind the research was that the district suffered from skills mismatch between the training that was offered at the training institutions and what was demanded on the labour market. Solwezi being a new mining hub of Zambia required well skilled human capital to work in the emerging industrial sector. To that effect, the role of TEVET in enhancing skills acquisition cannot be overemphasized. The study was guided by three specific objectives: to assess the nature of infrastructure at Solwezi Trades Training Institute (SOTTI) and Solwezi Skills Training Institute (SOSTI) in supporting skills acquisition; to evaluate the responsiveness of the TEVET curriculum to the labour market demands of Solwezi district and to establish to what extent funding has been a constraint to the operations of SOTTI and SOSTI. The study sample was 278 respondents, comprising 244 students, 27 instructors, 2 principals, 1 training manager and 2 accountants from SOTTI and SOSTI. It also involved the chief operations technologist from ZESCO and the Training engineer from Kansanshi Mine. A mixed method design known as embedded design was employed; where questionnaires were used for quantitative data collection from students and instructors and semi-structured interview guides, observations and document analysis for qualitative data collection. Quantitative data was entered in SPSS to generate frequency table, means, modes, standard deviations and other inferential statistics while qualitative data was analyzed thematically. Key findings suggest that SOTTI and SOSTI were riddled with infrastructural challenges these include among others: old and obsolete training equipment, shortage of workshop and classroom accommodation, poor library facilities and poor internet connectivity. The curriculum was established to be updated but was poorly implemented due to limited use of practical pedagogical approaches (projects and field trips), Lack of effective tracer mechanism for graduates and non-examination of entrepreneurship courses. It was also established that the institutions were poorly funded. The implication behind these findings is that TEVET institutions were not producing inventive and productive graduates to work in the emerging industries. The study concluded that the poor state of infrastructure, poor implementation of the curriculum and inadequate funding resulted in the mismatch between the training offered and what was demanded on the labour market. The study therefore, recommends in the short term, increased partnership between training institutions and the industrial sector so as to enhance the responsiveness of the training to the labour market demands. It further recommends for future research an investigation on how revenue diversification can be explored as an alternative funding modality in TEVET institutions in order to address both the infrastructural and curriculum implementation challenges.
University of Zambia