A reply to Ato Seyoum


A reply to Ato Seyoum : "the incompetent TVET capacitating the incapable MSEs"

A reply to Ato Seyoum : "the incompetent TVET capacitating the incapable MSEs"

Menkir Temesgen

April 29 2014


I have read Ato seyoum's article "the incompetent TVET capacitating the incapable MSEs" with keen interest. I appreciate the writers view on the issue of capacitating MSEs by TVETs. I remember this issue had been debated at higher level during the inception of the idea. The central questions, at the time were: are TVET institutions capable to capacitate MSEs?. If they couldn't, who else can do it?. The answer was neither yes nor no. Rather, it created an impression that, objectively, TVET institutions were relatively well organized technical institutions in terms of management, technical capacity, and reform fondness, (I can assure you that the present situation shows that there are many TVET Institutions which are better off than many universities in many aspects of technical and managerial capacities) the Government decided to give responsibility of MSEs capacity building with regard to technical competency, technology development, quality and productivity improvement, and entrepreneurial development... With this arrangement, lots of successes have been registered. By the way, currently there are thousands of University graduates who are re tooled (capacitated) by TVETs to demand oriented occupations and created many MSEs in the country.

Coming to the point, one of the reasons the writer mentioned for making TVETs inappropriate for capacity building, is lack of conducting research and find solutions for the problems of MSEs. With this regard, I want to know what type of research is under question. In fact, TVET is not entitled to conduct a research requiring delivery of a bundle of paper probably trying to answer how many angels can dance on the tip of a niddle? I don't suggest our Universities too to conduct this type of research. However, TVETs can conduct a value chain analysis for a specific product or service (which is also a research) to find a constraint impeding competitiveness and consequently find solutions through acquiring and copying from the benchmarks. I believe the problems of our MSEs does not go to the level of "paralysis of analysis" as the writer might have perceived.

If I understood you correctly, the other reason you mentioned for the incompetency of TVETs, is lack of MBAs and BA programs. Regarding this point, I guess you have no clue on the role of TVET in the development . Just to highlight, TVET is entitled to provide competent workforce to the industry in qualification related to industry requirement which is out of the scope of University offerings. BAs and MBAs are mostly University programs. Besides, I believe that the problems of our MSEs at this level, does not as such require MBAs and sophisticated management techniques, as you mentioned, to be solved. .

The issue of Kaizen: I dont want to go detail to explain the foundation concept and benefits of KAIZEN on this very short writing. But please be informed that if implemented correctly, KAIZEN is the most practical grass root management philosphy and tool which has been proved to be a catalyst for developed ountries like Japan. Our country has also conceived this management philosophy as a major tool for our renaissance journey. In addition, I see nothing wrong if this concept is spread around including at household levels. Kaizen is not also a confusing concept that TVETs, I quote" baffle" it. I would suggest you read and implement it at personal level.

Thus, it is in this framework and consideration that TVET has tkaen the role and responsibility of supporting MSEs

Thanking for your concern, I would appreciate if the you can also clearly suggest a better arrangement or competent organization/institution that can do this job.


Finally, I would like to say that let's accept the reality that all institutions in Ethiopia, when compared to international standards are incompetent and need to be improved, to hatch out of poverty shell and reach a middle income country very soon. For this, I think we need to encourage and use the better at hand.


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