At the start of 2020, PROMOST Rwanda launched the Dual Training System, a pilot program supported by the Ministry of Education in Rwanda and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The program intends to offer young people engaged in formal Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools, the opportunity to gain hands-on skills from private companies. Putting into practice the theories learnt in class will, in turn, help them acquire the knowledge required in the marketplace thereby improving their relevance in the job market.
In January and February 2020, PROMOST in collaboration with the Rwanda Education Board (REB), Rwanda Polytechnic (RP), Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC) Karongi, and all the Districts in Western Province, conducted sensitization exercises to encourage young people to pursue their studies in the six TVET Schools previously constructed by PROMOST. The sensitization led to the recruitment of 377 students (94 female) who trained in eight trades i.e., tailoring, carpentry, culinary arts, masonry, auto mechanics, welding, food processing and electrical work.
On 14th February 2020, Swisscontact and its implementing partners organized a conference with representatives from the private sector which aimed to demonstrate the critical role the private sector has in the success of the pilot dual training system. At the end of the conference, many representatives committed to supporting the initiative since it provided a chance to train their future employees. Swisscontact approached the Private Sector Federation (PSF), the umbrella body that represents most private companies, to streamline the best possible companies to participate in the initiative. Throughout the year, twenty companies in Kigali and the Western Province offered practical training sessions to the students.
In March 2020, Rwanda was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the government applied restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Restrictions in movement which were put in place, slowed down the initiative. Additionally, all learning institutions were closed till November. PROMOST worked with its partners to ensure students were still placed in private companies. Between July and November, 143 students (40 female) acquired hand-on skills in six out of the eight trades. The school and workplace trainers also participated in different workshops organized by PROMOST and its implementing partners. These forums provided solutions on the best ways of conducting training sessions and communicating efficiently during student evaluations. PROMOST and the Rwanda Polytechnic also organized a conference that concluded with an MoU signed between Swisscontact and IPRC Karongi, a representative of the six TVET Schools facilitating the dual training system.
The Year 2020 was full of challenges and learning opportunities not only because of the launch of a new and first of its kind dual training system in the country, but also because of the pandemic that shaken the entire world. In spite of all that, Swisscontact with the support of its implementing partners continues to implement the piloting program while respecting all the sanitary instructions put in place by the Government of Rwanda.