Vocational Study and Training [Archives:2001/33/Focus]

August 13 2001

Ahmed S. Shammakh
Chairman of Hodeida Local Council for Vocational Study and Technical Training
With a young aged nation and tremendous shortage of qualified labor to support the Yemen developing strategies, the Vocational and Technical Study and Training becomes a must and of prompt necessity which must be given full attention and support by both the government and private sectors. With about 60-70% of the population under the age of 25, we are not exaggerating if we say that Vocational developing plans for the government and private sectors, be it industry, agriculture, tourism or micro projects.
In Yemen, the technical training have a long history and received attention from the governments maybe for the past 20 years, but to be honest the outcome of the various training institutions and centers were not by all means satisfactory and were not justifying the money spent on them. But supported by active and continuous assistance -financial and technical- from the foreign countries, mainly EEC through Germany and Holland supervision.
A decree was passed by the Parliament to form a Training fund financed by private sector factories and companies through fees of one percent of wages and salaries. The idea was to encourage the private sector to be more active in their training programs and the up grading of their employee’s qualification. It was a very brilliant scheme but unfortunately and like many other laws and regulation, it turned up to be another form of “tax”. The main reason for this tragic off-track of this scheme were the zero media cover, poor introduction to the society and the heavy “central” control co. by simple revision to its law we discover that the
usual “police” thinking had pulled it. We find so many “penalty” clauses, which totally emptied the idea from its noble attitude.
The donating countries and international institutions insisted that “local”
Vocational and Technical training councils to be formed at every and each governorate.
Those councils were supposed to promote among the private sector and society the importance of the training schemes, to help the concerned sectors to voluntarily cooperate and to give the scheme the confidence which it was lacking in the past.
In 1996 the local council was appointed at Hodeida governorate and I would like to reflect my experience with the council. Several meetings and workshops were held with the contribution or supervision of delegations and representatives coming from the head offices in Sana’a of the concerned official bodies. In several occasions even representatives of the foreign donators were participating. The private sector in the governorate showed keen interest through their active presence in those meetings and demands and concerns showed. Specially, by the private sector was the vital importance to give the local councils financial and technical independence, away from the traditional “central” control, which was believe will kill any local efforts due to many reasons. Unfortunately all the efforts and requests to give the local councils some sort of power and financial support which were important for activating them, all efforts failed and could not overcome the strong lobby in Sana’a.
How can a council do its duties if even the simplest elements for it like, budget, plans, and perfect office necessities were not granted. Why to form councils, if the government do believe only the people in the center or the capital are the only honest and capable to carry on the work. If those ways of thinking continue to master the brains of the leaders of training scheme, we see no need for councils and honestly the whole idea is just waste of money, efforts and time.
It seems the new government of Mr.Bajammal does give good consideration to the training to the point that a ministry is nominated for it. This by itself gives life to the old hopes that the local councils will truly be given the right chance to carry on their tasks and a true support will truly be given to them. But, if even with all these optimistic signs, the old ideas proved to be still in control. Then we simply and clearly tell Mr. Bajammal, as an honest and well know leader, save the money for other activities and to the donating countries also please direct your donations to other fields, which the Yemenis badly need.