Experts and policymakers attending a high-level seminar on China-Africa collaboration in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) on Sunday called for strengthening China-Ethiopia relations in TVET education.
The China-Africa TVET Collaboration Academic Exchange Seminar, held in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, gathered senior Ethiopian government officials, Chinese officials, academia and experts, among others.
During the seminar, Teshale Berecha, Ethiopia’s state minister of Labor and Skills, underscored the crucial need to foster shared learning and collaboration between Ethiopia and China in the field of TVET. “The collaboration in TVET education is not just an academic endeavor; it is a bridge that connects our nations, fostering mutual understanding, and reinforcing the bonds that tie us together,” Berecha said.
He said the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor and Skills “stands as a driving force behind our shared commitment to strengthen collaboration in the realm of TVET between Ethiopia and China.”
He disclosed the Ethiopian government “envisions a future where our workforce is not only skilled but adaptable to the ever-evolving demands of the global job market. This collaborative effort is not confined to our borders; it is a testament to the interconnection of nations in the pursuit of shared prosperity.”
According to Berecha, the seminar marks a significant milestone as it is the first time such a collaborative event has been hosted, bringing together the expertise and insights of TVET institutions from both Ethiopia and China.
“Through collaborative efforts, we anticipate that our TVET institutions will gain exposure to the best practices and experiences from China. This exposure will pave the way for establishing networks that transcend borders, fostering ongoing collaborations that enhance the quality of TVET provision,” he said.
Gong Zhiwu, director general of the China-Africa Vocational Education Alliance, said the alliance has launched projects in several African countries, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and Seychelles.
In Ethiopia, the alliance has been working very closely with the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor and Skills on the comprehensive review and improvement of the TVET system in the country, including TVET policies and manuals, occupational standards, curriculum, assessment tools, and staff and faculty capacity buildings, industrial linkages, said Gong, elaborating on the collaboration which covers the areas of industry development, economic infrastructure, mining and extractions, health, agriculture, trade and business, sports culture and tourism.
Sun Shanxue, vice chairman of the Chinese Society for Technical and Vocational Education, said the seminar, taking place on the backdrop of the recently held Belt and Road Forum, will contribute towards promoting the China-Africa, in general, and China-Ethiopia, in particular, cooperation in the TVET sector.
Sun recalled the Chinese government’s recent announcement during the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue that China will launch the plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development, planning to train 500 principals and high-caliber teachers of vocational colleges, and 10,000 technical personnel with both Chinese language and vocational skills for Africa every year.
During the seminar, experts and scholars assessed the overview of Ethiopia’s TVET industry development, the overview of China’s vocational education development history and industry development, China-Ethiopia cooperation in the TVET education sector, as well as the progress in the polytechnics, TVET institutions and colleges.
Azmera Kebede, the TVET adviser to the State Minister of Labor and Skills, said Ethiopia’s vocational education and industry development policy emphasizes the need to create citizens who are ethical, self-confident, problem solvers, technology savvy, passionate towards national prosperity and skillful in addressing various challenges.
The expert emphasized the need to harness the TVET sector to boost the country’s international competitiveness through the ever-growing technology that fosters knowledge-based economic competitiveness at a global level.