Grand Bassa County – The Deputy Speaker of Liberia’s House of Representatives says vocational training can prepare the country’s youthful population for the job market, while calling for the transformation of the Road Maintenance Training Center (RMTC), otherwise known as German Camp, into a modern vocational training institution.
German Camp, located in the Hon. Barchue’s constituency (District One), is renowned for the impact it had on Liberia’s road construction and the training of engineers before the outbreak of the civil war in 1989.
The facility was rehabilitated in 2009 during the reconstruction of the Cotton Tree – Buchanan highway.
With the facility now in shape, the Deputy Speaker is optimistic that it can help contribute to the Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) of Liberia.
“What I will like to see is that we use the German Camp facility and open a technical vocational institution in this county,” he told reporters recently.
“This will be able to help Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Sinoe Counties in providing skill training for our young people.”
In July This year, the House of Representatives received a petition calling for the inclusion of vocational education in junior and senior high schools in the country.
But the Grand Bassa lawmaker defers and says such a move will compare every student to do TVET even if they are not interested.
“The bulk of our young people now who are outside the school going age will not go to school (academic) any more so they will go now to get technical skills,” Hon. Barhue said, further arguing that the facility is conducive enough to serve the purpose.
“We just need to legislate a law that will now established German Camp or RMTC, then Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Sinoe young people who fished high school and can’t go college, or those who drop and can’t go any further will go there and learn skills,” he said.
Questioned about sourcing funding to operate the school, the Deputy Speaker ensured that he will work to see the passage of the bill by both houses which will provide the legal framework to source funding.
He added that the country can work with other countries to solicit resources to operate the school.
On August 1, Grand Bassa Senator, Jonathan L. Kaipay signed an agreement with Humanity First Ahmadiyya Vocational College for the establishment of a technical mobile vocational school in District #1, Grand Bassa County with Over 350 youths in the district expected to benefit when the training kicks off early September this year.
Deputy House Speaker Barchue, who also attended the signing of the MOU, encouraged youth to take advantage of the opportunity, stressing that there are Liberians with college degrees that are jobless.
“Liberia is now transitioning from the position of academic to technical where you will be sitting down with your BSc…, the carpenter will be there doing his job and making money and you will be there sitting with your BSc,” Hon. Barchue said, emphasizing that technical skills will be surest way of employment in Liberia in the coming years.
There have increasing calls for government to prioritize TVET as a means of bridging Liberia’s gap of unemployment especially as the country’s education performance rating in the region remains troubling.
Public corporation like the once financially–strong National Oil Company (Nocal) in 2012 launched a TVET Program to addressing the situation with the firm claiming it trained about 1,200 youths in different employable and entrepreneur skills. However, the gap appears massive