A programme to strengthen the quality and access to skills development for young people in Liberia is helping teachers in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions also learn new skills. The quality of teaching is one of the essential success factors for improving TVET skills development in Liberia. As a result, the "Youth Rising" project, an intervention funded by the European Union's Delegation to Liberia and implemented by UNIDO, is training TVET instructors, administrators, and principals.
Esther Javillie is a young Civil Engineer and a graduate of the University of Liberia. She is one of many teachers who are receiving support to develop their teaching skills. She believes the training they will receive will change how they transfer knowledge to young Liberians. She is preparing to be a TVET instructor in Carpentry and Joinery.
Training new teachers
According to the Senior TVET Coordinator of the project, David Chakonta, 78 new teachers have been recruited by the Ministry of Education to undergo practical training and general teaching methods. The new teachers are to undergo training in Zambia, Kenya, and South Africa. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the training has started online until it becomes possible for them to travel.
The new teachers are being trained in agriculture, air conditioning and refrigeration, automotive, carpentry, electrical, heavy equipment, ICT, machining, welding, and fabrication.
Esther Javillie is one of the newly recruited teachers receiving support to develop their teaching skills. As a young Civil Engineer and a graduate of the University of Liberia, she is preparing to become a TVET instructor in Carpentry and Joinery. She believes the training will change how teachers transfer knowledge to their students.
For Esther, this training is an opportunity that will help her sharpen her practical skills.
"I see teaching as something exciting and an area I will help develop my career. I had always had academic training and wanted something hands-on because there is a need for more such training in Liberia. Now, I am training as a carpentry teacher through this project, and in a year or two, I will be training other young people to develop skills to help our country".
After the training, Esther is hopeful that she will become an ambassador for skills training in Liberia. She said, "most of the youth here are not interested in TVET, especially the female. So, if, I as a woman, can train in carpentry, when I come back, I will serve as a role model for most of the young girls. We can be changing the perspective out there".
Enhancing capacity through in-service training
According to Mr. Chakonta, they have also started standardizing in-service training for teachers already working in the TVET schools and managers. He said, "for teachers working in schools where the project is intervening, we have in-service training centered around teaching methods, as well as knowledge about the equipment the schools will receive."
The project has sourced three online training programmes for new teachers and serving teachers in the project schools. The courses include Teacher training, Occupational Health, and Safety and Computer-Aided Design.
The series of training programmes is part of strengthening the governance and management of TVET holistically. According to Mr. Anthony A. Nimely, Deputy Project Manager, of the Youth Rising Project, the training is intended to ensure everyone involved in TVET education at the national and institutional level are abreast of the necessary skill for their job.
He said, "the plan is to ensure everyone along the TVET value chain understands the importance of TVET, the benefits to the economy and Liberia's youth. This will make the results will be better".
About the Youth Rising Project
The 'Youth Rising" project funded by the Delegation of the European Union to Liberia is working with the government to make TVET accessible to all. The project is taking several measures, including facilitating capacity and infrastructure development, recruiting instructors, TVET policy alignment, increased private sector involvement, and addressing equity issues, emphasizing gender and persons with disability. The project also promotes entrepreneurship and connects vocational education with the private sector in nine schools located in six counties. The schools are the Monrovia Vocational Training Center; WVS Tubman High School & the Business and Domestic Occupational Training Center (BDOTC) in Montserrado County; Booker Washington Institute (BWI)& Harbel Multilateral High school in Margibi; Zwedru Multilateral High School in Grand Gedeh; Sinoe Multilateral High School in Sinoe, Cape Palmas High School in Maryland, and the Tumutu Agriculture & Vocational Training Centre in Bong county.