The Council for Technical and Vocational Education (COTVET), the lead agency in the skills development sector, has successfully implemented projects aimed at developing market-driven skills in Ghana, Mr Sebastian Deh, Executive Director of COTVET has disclosed.


Mr Deh, who was speaking at the opening of the Ghana Skills Development Fair 2016 in Accra on Wednesday, said in the last five years, tens of thousands of low and middle-level manpower as well as hundreds of businesses throughout the country had been positively affected by way of skills upgrading, technology acquisition, productivity improvement, job creation and increased income.


These, he said, were made possible through interventions such as the Ghana Skills and Technology Development Project (GSTDP), Development of Skills for Industry Project (DSIP) and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Voucher Project.


He expressed gratitude to the World Bank, African Development Bank, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the German Government for their contributions and support towards the success of the projects.


In a key note address, the Minister for Education, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, disclosed that the Skills Development Fund’s (SDF’s) support of US$51.9 million to 646 businesses under the GSTDP led to the creation of 13,000 direct new jobs and a 60 per cent increase in productivity of the beneficiary businesses.


Furthermore, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang said, under the 2nd component of GSTDP, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation benefited from a US$ 2.7 million to enable five key Science and Technology institutions—the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSRI), Ghana Technology University College (GTUC), Kumasi Polytechnic, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and the University of Ghana— develop innovative private sector demand-driven technologies.


She disclosed that more than 30 technologies had been developed or refined and transferred to the private sector through the US$2.7 million support.


She said under the GSTDP, COTVET’s capacity to co-ordinate the TVET sector had been significantly enhanced through the provision of capacity-building for COTVET staff, operationalization of the National TVET Qualifications Framework, introduction of Competency-based Teaching and Assessment methodologies in TVET institutions and the installation of a Management Information System, in addition to a Monitoring and Evaluation System for COTVET and the TVET sector.


In his remarks, Mr Mathew Dally Project Co-ordinator and Head, COTVET Project Support Unit (PSU), disclosed that for the implementation of the various skills and technology development initiatives, PSU had disbursed 96.2 per cent of project funds and exceeded all project targets barely a year to project completion.


Mr Dally said against a target of 449 grants awarded, 646 had been delivered while against the targeted 24,000 number of workers to be trained, 103, 683 had been achieved.


And on productivity, he said 60.7 per cent had been achieved against the target of 60 per cent, adding that as the project came to a close on December 31, 2016, four key legacies had been left.


These legacies, he said, were a more competitive and productive private sector equipped with contemporary skills and technologies to sustain increased productivity levels and create jobs; a more responsive COTVET, delivering on its TVET co-ordination mandate with enhanced planning, co-ordinating and monitoring functions in both  the private and public sectors at the formal and informal levels; a modernized TVET sector adopting Competency-based training and assessment methods to produce the relevant skills required by industry; and self-sustaining capacities of Science and Technology Institutions to develop and commercialize innovative technologies for the private sector.


The World Bank Country Director, in a statement delivered on his behalf, expressed the hope that the results of the GSTDP—showcased at the fair— would be reflected in the GSTDP report in an evidence-based fashion which could serve as a basis for additional development partner support in the skills and technology sector.


For her part, the Canadian Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Tove Degnbol, expressed satisfaction with the success of the project.


Ms Degnbol said against the backdrop of the gains made, DANIDA was committing 67 per cent (US$14 million) of its next phase of support to Ghana’s Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP III) to the second phase of the SDF (2016-2020).


She said for the effective implementation of SDF II, the Ministry of Education would be required to contribute US$1 million in counterpart funding for 2017/2018.


The Canadian Ambassador pledged Denmark’s commitment to deepening commercial engagements with Ghana post 2020.


The Skills Technology Fair was initiated by COTVET in 2013 to exhibit outcomes of government’s support to the skills and technology sector as well as provide a platform for collaboration, partnership building and experience sharing among the various stakeholders in the skills sector.


The three-day Fair, the third in a series, aimed to celebrate the outcomes of the GSTDP which was designed to address the critical skills and technology deficits within the productive sectors of Ghana’s economy.


The World Bank supported the project with a credit facility of US $ 70 million while DANADA provided US$18.5 million, with the Skills Development Fund (SDF), a component of GSTDP, spearheading the strategy.


Project beneficiaries included industry employers, employees associations as well as training and research institutions involved in the delivery of skills and technology for industry.


With a further additional funding by DANIDA, requiring counterpart funds by the Ministry of Education, SDF is to be extended for another five years after the end of the project.