Botswana turns to Zimbabwe for vocational education

Botswana and Zimbabwe have agreed on closer cooperation in technical and vocational education and training in a bid to address the problem of skills mismatch in Botswana.

Botswana's Minister of Education and Skills Development Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi told media on Tuesday that Botswana and Zimbabwe has entered into an agreement of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for a term from two to three years.

The first batch of Zimbabwean trainers are expected to arrive in Botswana by August to abate shortage of qualified trainers in vocational and technical centers in Botswana.

"Botswana has a high number of qualified people who were unemployed because they lacked skills required by the market. Consequently, expatriates were recruited for such jobs. This is clearly a sign of mismatch in the type of graduates we have as opposed to types of jobs the economy is producing," Venson-Moitoi said.

She said in order to match the graduates to the jobs, there was need to increase training in vocations because the industry required a lot of people.

The minister admitted that in technical colleges, there was shortage of trainers, hence the country could not produce enough people in the vocations.

"The collaboration with Zimbabwe would promote opportunities, avenues and resources that would facilitate the well trained, competent and productive workforce, which would strengthen industry and commerce for increased productivity," Venson-Moitoi said, adding that through the collaboration, Zimbabwe would help Botswana identify a group of lectures who would train personnel in four technical colleges.

"It is my hope that Zimbabwe will be willing to share with us by way of experience in teaching and producing people for the industry," she said.

Venson-Moitoi said Zimbabwe had proved to be the best country in Southern Africa with regards to vocational training, as evidenced by the fact that there were many technical workers who worked for government on contract basis.

According to local media, most vocational and technical centers in Botswana has been hit by shortage of qualified trainers, and led to suspension of a number of programs in these facilities. In total, 82 positions have been vacant in the areas of performing arts, jewellery design, multimedia design, electronics, waste-water engineering and heavy plant air conditioning, among others.