BY ISATOU R KANDEH & DAWDA BALDEH
Executive Members of the National Association of Vocational and Skills Training Institution (NAVSTI) umbrella body of all training institutions has called for government support through the Ministry of Higher Education. The call was as a result of not receiving any support since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in March of this year.
Speaking at a press conference held at the association’s secretariat, Abdoulie Sowe, Chairman of the National Association of Vocational Skill Training Institute (NAVSTI) said their gathering was meant to express their frustration and disappointment over the continuing closure of skill centers across the country. And also, the lack of support from the regulatory bodies – NAQAA and government, since all training institutions were closed.
Chairman Sowe said we are calling on the government to allow TVET institutions to open for business with immediate effect. This he said can strictly observe the Ministry of Health’s guidelines on social distancing. Sowe said with agreed operating protocols such as; reducing class sizes, compulsory wearing of face mask, use of hand washing stations and sanitizers, compulsory use of non-touch thermometers in all institute and any other protocol agreed with the authorities he said.
Top officials said TVET centers were ordered to close for business to minimize the spread of the virus since the declaration of the first State of Emergency on the 17th of March 2020. As law abiding citizens and as institutions training future leaders, we obliged without reservations they told the press.
Abdoulie Sowe said while we remain closed, we have watched with dismay the partial or full easing of restrictions for almost all other sectors of the economy. It has been six months and up until the recent easing of restrictions nothing tangible has been said about the TVET Centers.
He said It is important to note that if government was to allow any sector to open, it should have been the training institutions who usually are working with matured, educated and responsible people who we know would respect the restrictions more than some sectors that were allowed to open he said.