Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Patrick Molutsi says Botswana need new engines to power economic growth to reduce dependence on diamonds. Dr Molutsi said while mining and minerals resources will continue to drive the economy there is need for diversification.
Speaking at the launch of five new Sector Human resource development Committees this week, Molutsi said there is a need to transform the country’s education system from being supply led to demand led. According to him it is this current setup that contributes to the prevailing skills mismatch in Botswana.
The new introduced sector committees include Education &Training, Health, ICT, Public sector, Research & Innovation and Science & Technology. These bring to 12 the total number of sector committees established by HRDC. Molutsi said these sector committees exist to produce specific human resource development plans that will ensure a direct linkage between the education skills that are being developed and the needs of the economy. This is the effort by HRDC to address the burning issue of skills mismatch in the country.
Molutsi explained that with the sector committees HRDC will be able to advice education institutions on which skills are in demand in the market so that relevant personnel could be produced to avoid skills mismatching. “We have to move towards a skilled workforce hence the need for committees that will advise on skills needed to help grow the economy,” said Molutsi. He went on to say the sector committees will themselves not be able to solve the existing problems but they will provide a forum of discussions towards this.
The sector committees are comprehensively composed of a mixture of individuals of different experience, qualification and authority. It has been explained that the sector committees will be working to develop a comprehensive human resource development plans and align it with the national plan. Manager, Department of Human Resource Development Planning Nancy Diphupu there is need for the committee to work at lightning speed in order for them to catch up with the NDP 11.
Diphupu said skills mismatch continue to contribute to unemployment hence the need to address it very quickly to help produce skilled labour that could improve the state of the economy. “The road map is to create a skilled workforce, sector level service delivery and increase the country’s overall competiveness,” said Diphupu. HRDC officials feel ever since the establishment of the sector committees there has been a significant improvement. According to Molutsi up to date there are over 61 000 students at tertiary level and 70% of these students are enrolled for courses deemed essential such as science, mining and engineering.
“For us to talk about knowledge based economy we need to have skilled labour and it is important to produce the right personnel. HRDC is here to help produce skill the people for the economy of the country to improve,” he said. For some time there have been talks of saturation of some sectors due to overproduction of graduates. However Molutsi now feels strides are being made to address this.
Nonetheless he said the impact will not be felt now as it a process. “There is a saying that Rome was not built in a day. Even with us the results will not be seen immediately but will be visible in time, he explained. Some of the other sector committees which have been in operation are Mining, Minerals, Energy & water resources, Tourism sector, Agriculture sector and the finance and business services sector.