Liberia: House Passes Landmark Act to Establish Liberia Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Commission

Liberia: House Passes Landmark Act to Establish Liberia Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Commission

It was submitted by Montserrado County district # 14 Representative Kerkula Muka Kamara.

CAPITOL HILL, Monrovia – In a bid to help improve the shattered Liberian economy and provide job opportunities for citizens, especially young people, the House of Representatives has passed an act seeking to establish a commission of the Government of Liberia (GOL) on Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).

By Obediah Johnson, obediah.johnson@frontpageafricaonline.com

The act under the captioned: Liberia Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Commission (LiTCOM) Act of 2024 was passed by members of the House last week. It was submitted by Montserrado County district # 14 Representative Kerkula Muka Kamara.

The Act, a copy which is in the possession of FrontPage Africa, seeks to establish the commission to regulate, coordinate and harmonize at all levels, including the pre-tertiary, formal and non-formal activities and operations of TVET programs, both in the public and private sectors.

“The purpose of this Act is to harmonize and improve the governance and regulatory framework of the TVET sector; to facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for the acquisition of employable skills for the world of work by all categories of learners, including the youth, adults, the unemployed, ex-combatants, survivors from the Ebola pandemic, men, women and persons with disabilities.”

“The commission will coordinate, harmonize and supervise the activities of public and private TVET institutions and TVET providers, including in the informal sector; rationalize and harmonize the assessment and certification system in TVET; Take measures to assure quality in the delivery of TVET to minimize variability and promote equity in access to TVET.”

It intends to create a robust, flexible, and cost-effective human capacity development system that is responsive to the changing needs of the labor market and the growth and industrialization imperatives of the economy.

It would also promote cooperation with international agencies and development partners and facilitate collaboration between training providers and industries to generate demand driven curriculum development and placements, and national internship programs.

Under the proposed legislation, the TVET Commission of Liberia would register, accredit, monitor and evaluate TVET providers, programs, courses, trainers and conduct quality audits.

It would also develop tools and mechanisms for recognizing skills, competencies, and achievements acquired from different learning pathways as well as for validating prior learning.

The commission is tasked with the responsibility to provide for career guidance, counseling, and employment orientation of current learners and workers, and maintain a national database on TVET.

“LitCOM will engage businesses, trade associations, labor unions, professional bodies, TVET providers and industry to promote the development and review of occupational standards and demand driven curriculum, competency-based training, national internship programs for learners and trainers, in-service and on the job training; initiate and facilitate research and development in the field of TVET.”

The act would establish guidelines and procedures for the proper and efficient governance and management of TVET institutions as well as advise the government on all matters related to the management and improvement of the TVET system.

The commission would develop, implement, and maintain a National TVET Qualifications Framework by recognizing and equating qualifications awarded by local or foreign technical and vocational institutions in accordance with the standards and guidelines set out by the authority.

It would establish guidelines and procedures for the proper and efficient governance and management of TVET institutions as well as advise the government on all matters related to the management and improvement of the TVET system.

When passed into law, LiTCOM, a Governing Board, with members and Director General/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) appointed by the President, will be established to oversee and control the affairs of the Liberian TVET commission.

Other members of the Board would include: The Ministries of Youth and Sports, Education, Labor, Finance and Development Planning, Commerce and Industry, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Public Works, Agriculture, and representatives from the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), Persons with Disabilities, the public and private sectors respectively.

Several Standing Committees will also be established including the Committees on Trade Advisory, Accreditation, Quality Assurance and Research, Planning and Statistics.

The Liberia Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Commission (LiTCOM) Act of 2024 will ensure that no institution or person offers TVET training in Liberia unless the person or institution has been registered, licensed, and accredited.

It also guarantees that any person or institution already offering training in Liberia by any mode of delivery or is a trainer prior to the passage of the Act coming into force, shall within six months thereof apply to LiTCOM for registration, licensing and accreditation.

“No person or institution shall engage in any TVET training without prior approval by LiTCOM; and no academic award or qualification issued by a non-registered, licensed, and accredited person or institution pursuant to this Act shall be recognized in Liberia.”

The proposed legislation disclosed that any person or institution that contravenes this provision of the Act will be held liable by the commission and fined not more than US$5000 or its equivalent in Liberian dollars, and such institution would be immediately shut down under the violator regularize its status with the commission.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa shortly after the passage of the Act, Representative Kamara commended his colleagues for the swift and smooth passage of the document.

According to him, the proposed legislation would help reduce the high rate of unemployment in the post-conflict nation.

He observed that young people will acquire vocational and technical skills training and be fully prepared to immensely contribute to the improvement of the country’s economy and their respective lives by passing through the walls of qualified TVET institutions with competent trainers.

“We think that a TVET Commission should be established in Liberia to meet with the standards of other countries around the world in terms of how they are succeeding in providing technical and vocational skills training to their peoples. This proposed Act will get young people prepared for the job market.”

“The good thing about this Act is that it will help us to grow economically. Developmentally wise when young people are prepared, they will have a brighter future and it would be so easy for the country to grow. Five or ten years from now when this Act is passed, we will be seeing different things in our country.”

Representative Kamara maintained that Liberia’s peace and stability would also be sustained because many young people will be discouraged from engaging in unwholesome acts and lawlessness because they are already busy applying their different vocational and technical skills acquired at their various workplaces.

He attributed the growing wave of hijacking and robbery to lack of job opportunities for citizens, especially young people.

“When people have something to do, they will not think about jerking people’s phones and engaging in bad habits. Disadvantaged youths will not be in the streets like we are seeing now after the passage of this Act.

Representative Kamara, who runs a TVET institution in his district that is providing education to thousands of constituents, emphasized that TVET should be separated from the Ministry of Education to ensure that Liberia becomes a better country for all.

He, however, expressed the hope that members of the Liberian Senate would see reason to concur with their colleagues from the House of Representatives to pass the Act in a timely manner.

The passage of the Act comes following the holding of a series of public hearings and consultations with major local and international stakeholders by the relevant committees of the House of Representatives.

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