Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri sponsored today at the Grand Serail the launching ceremony of the "National Strategic Framework for Technical Vocational Education and Training in Lebanon (TVET) 2108-2022". The framework responds to evolving labour market needs, by seeking to increase youth access to TVET and improve the quality of education and training in the sector.
The Minister of Education and Higher Education Marwan Hamade, the Minister of State for Women Affairs Jean Ogassapian, the Regional Director of the International Labor Organization Ruba Jaradate, and the Acting Representative of UNICEF Lebanon Violet Speek-Warnery, attended the ceremony.
Hariri said: "Good morning and welcome to the Grand Serail for the launching of the National Strategic Framework for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Lebanon (TVET).
This framework is the result of a joint effort between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Social Affairs, in collaboration with UNICEF and the International Labor Organization.
As you know, during the Brussels 1 and 2 conferences, the Lebanese government asked the international community to go beyond providing humanitarian assistance to displaced Syrians, and to contribute to the support of the national economy, particularly the host communities.
Within this framework, we put forward several priorities, the first of which is the Capital investment program that was launched at the CEDRE conference in Paris, in addition to providing vocational and technical education and training opportunities for our young men and women.
The strategy we are launching today focuses mainly on providing high quality technical and vocational education and training to our young men and women, taking into account market requirements to help the private sector secure specialized and trained work force.
It is no longer acceptable to look negatively at the vocational and technical education and training, and to turn every pupil who fails in his studies to vocational or technical education.
No. The issue is not like that at all. Vocational education is essential for building the country and for its economic development because it will increase the sense of creativity and the skills of labor.
In a quick look at the countries that are considered superior in their industries and technologies such as Germany, America, Japan and other major countries, we see that the percentage of students in vocational schools is very high, sometimes higher than that of students in general education.
It is time to change the mentality of our society that says that my daughter or son should be a doctor, an officer or an engineer regardless of whether there is demand in the market for these professions.
There are many other professions for which there is demand, like nurse, executive assistant, or skills related to the construction and engineering sector, and we will soon be asking for technical skills in the oil and gas sector.
The subject surely needs raising awareness from the state, especially the Ministry of Education, and with the active participation of the private sector because our concern is to have productive generations and not generations that have graduation degrees but no work.
Yes, we need doctors, engineers and lawyers, but the country also needs trained young men and women. It also needs technicians and professionals to open up their own work, help develop their regions and meet their needs, especially outside the big cities.
In this way, we will also be fighting high poverty rates in remote areas and contributing, with the national program for targeting the poorest families, to drag them out of poverty.
Thus, the citizens of Akkar, Tripoli, Baalbek or other regions will not be forced to go to Beirut to find a job. They will have the choice to remain in their villages and be productive at the same time.
We should not also forget that the next phase is that of implementation of the Capital investment program that includes more than 280 projects across all sectors that will create thousands of jobs.
This is why we need to have the specialized human cadre that will be prepared to manage and implement these projects. The only possible way for this to happen is by raising the level and quality of education and vocational and technical training to be able to respond to the needs of the market and the requirements of the private and productive sectors.
With the launching of this strategy today, the implementation of the Capital investment program, and after the completion of the production sector strategy and the implementation of the reforms that the Lebanese government has committed to, we would have taken steps towards the activation of growth, the creation of job opportunities for our young men and women, and raising the productivity of our economy.
I want to ask our partners in the international community who are present with us today to support the strategy we are launching and help the Lebanese government implement it.
Many countries expressed their willingness like the United States, Canada and Australia. There are also countries that are continuously supporting the sector of education and vocational and technical training in Lebanon, primarily Germany and we discussed this issue during our meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In the end, I want to thank all the ministries and administrations that participated in preparing this strategy. My special thanks go to UNICEF and the International Labor Organization for their continuous support for the efforts of the Lebanese government."
For her part, the Acting Representative of UNICEF Lebanon Violet Speek-Warnery said: "We believe that the investment is critical to help reform and shift the educational system to new forms of content and delivery, one that is more relevant, and responsive to job opportunities, an investment that plays a critical role in equipping youth with the right skills to meet labor market needs, fueling competitiveness, reducing unemployment and contributing to breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty."
The ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat said: "The launch of this framework is a key achievement for the Government of Lebanon and lays the foundations for prioritizing the support of TVET as a means to grow the economy and better support youth and the private sector. These reforms outlined in the Strategic Framework will help ensure youth have the skills, knowledge and linkages to gain employment and access to work in Lebanon, as well as provide hard data on labor market needs and improve the connectivity of the TVET system to the private sector."
Minister Hamade said: "This framework will serve as a basis for improving cooperation between government institutions and establishing strong partnerships with the private sector. It will also be the main national reference to the work plans of each ministry, which will include strong partnerships with the private sector employers. And this plan of action will integrate the main outputs to be achieved along with clear indicators for the monitoring and evaluating progress."
Source: National News Agency