Saturday, 29 June 2013

Integrated Polytechnic Centre launched in Southern Province

A plumbing students demonstrate what he has learnt as ministers Biruta and Kabarebe look on. Saturday Times/ Jean Pierre Bucyensenge
A plumbing students demonstrate what he has learnt as ministers Biruta and Kabarebe look on. Saturday Times/ Jean Pierre Bucyensenge
The government will continue to promote technical and vocational training over classic  education in order to accelerate development, the minster for Education has said.
Dr Vincent Biruta said the move will ‘promote technical skills for sustainable development’ in a country which aspires to become a middle-income economy by 2020.
He was speaking on Thursday during the launch the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre in the Southern Province (IPRC-South).
The college, which offers technical and vocational courses, is part of a wider plan to set up at least a modern IPRC in every province.
Biruta said the target is to have at least 60 per cent of all the students enrolled in technical and vocational training by 2017. The numbers currently stand at only 38 per cent while the rest still prefer classic education.
According to the minister, the establishment of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) in 2009 is part of efforts to reach the set target.
“WDA’s budget [for the 2013/2014 fiscal year] has more than doubled so as to facilitate it to continue its efforts to promote technical education and skills development,” Biruta said.
In the next fiscal year, WDA is set to utilise over Rwf38 billion,  up from the Rwf16.4 billion it was allocated in the 2012/13 budget.
Biruta called upon local leaders to keep encouraging parents to enrol their children in technical schools, something he said would bridge the skills gap and promote job creation as well as spur innovations.
“Ultra modern equipment”
The Huye-based Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre is located within the premises of the former military training school, Ecole des Sous-Officiers (ESO-Butare).
The college has been operating for the last six months and is a result of collaboration between the ministries of Defence and Education.
Serving larger community 
Defence minister James Kabarebe noted that the decision to avail the facility so as to make it a technical school aims at ‘enabling it to serve a larger community of Rwandans other than serving the military personnel.’
“The Ministry of Defence is not a passive player in the journey for national development and is always willing to forge a partnership with all willing stakeholders,” Gen Kabarebe said.
IPRC-South has about 305 students both at Diploma and Vocational level. Diploma courses include Electronics and Telecommunication, Electrical Engineering, Construction Technology and ICT while vocational level provides courses in Plumbing, Welding, Masonry, Carpentry, ICT, Hospitality as well as Domestic Electrical Installation.
The college is equipped with ‘ultra-modern’ machines, equipment and learning tools.
According to Dr Barnabe Twabagira, IPRC-South Principal, the college targets at least ten thousands (10,000) students in the next five years.


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