PNG Insight has been advocating for the importance of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) for over a decade. It is therefore encouraging to see the PNG government, through the Ministry of Higher Education and the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology (DHERST), finally prioritising TVET education in the country.
In a recent statement, Higher Education Minister Don Polye announced a 65 million US dollar partnership with the Asian Development Bank to support Technical Vocational education training centers across the country. He also spoke on the importance of human skills development, which is crucial towards the development of the country.
TVET Education Crucial for PNG
This is an education agenda that is long overdue. TVET education is the main job entry point for unemployed youth in PNG. It provides students with the skills they need to be successful in the workforce, regardless of their academic background.
TVET education is particularly important in PNG, where the economy is growing and there is a high demand for skilled workers. However, the country’s TVET system is currently underdeveloped and underfunded. This is a major obstacle to economic development and poverty reduction.
PNG Government’s Focus on TVET, Lacking
The government’s new focus on TVET education is a welcome step in the right direction. However, more needs to be done to improve the quality and accessibility of TVET programs. The government should also work with the private sector to develop partnerships that will create jobs for TVET graduates.
There are several reasons why TVET is the main job entry point for unemployed youth in PNG:
- TVET programs are typically shorter and more affordable than university programs. This makes them a more accessible option for unemployed youth, many of whom may not be able to afford the cost of a university education.
- TVET programs focus on providing students with the practical skills that they need to be employed in specific industries. This makes TVET graduates more attractive to employers, who are looking for workers who have the skills and experience that they need.
- There is a high demand for skilled workers in PNG, particularly in sectors such as construction, mining, and agriculture. TVET graduates are well-positioned to meet this demand.
How can the government improve TVET education in PNG?
The government can further improve TVET education in PNG by developing a national TVET strategy, establishing a TVET accreditation body, and promoting its importance to students, parents, and employers. These steps will help to ensure that TVET programs are aligned with the needs of the labour market. Hence, the TVET graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.
Furthermore, the PNG government can improve TVET education by:
- Increasing funding for TVET institutions
- Improving the quality of TVET instruction
- Working with the private sector to create jobs for TVET graduates
- Making TVET more accessible to students in rural and remote areas
- Developing more TVET programs that are aligned with the needs of the labour market
The governments of 🇦🇺 and 🇵🇬 will grow the number of skilled workers in PNG through a new commitment to expand TVET @aptcpacific opportunities. This is a practical investment in PNG’s economy and future. #PNGAusPartnership pic.twitter.com/hUxWWOf6cl
— Jon Philp (@AusHCPNG) August 30, 2020
Investing in TVET education is one of the best things that the government can do to create jobs and reduce poverty in PNG. It is an education agenda that is long overdue.
The government’s new focus on TVET is a positive development. However, the PNG Higher Education Miistry needs to do more to improve the quality and accessibility of TVET programs.