Soon, finding a qualified plumber, tiler, or carpenter in Madagascar will no longer be a tremendous challenge for building and public works companies. For this key sector of the Malagasy economy, there are plenty of contracts but not enough qualified professionals to do the job. More often than not, these companies have to recruit skilled workers from abroad.
How did this come about? “Since the early 1990s, technical and vocational education has gone downhill, because of equipment in bad repair, obsolete teaching programs, and a lack of new teachers,” explains Gédéon Rajaonson, Chair of the Board of CNEF BTP, Madagascar’s national center for jobs and training in the building and public works professions.
This is confirmed by Camille Paquet, Project Officer at the AFD Antananarivo agency: “The existing training is not adapted to the new techniques now used in building and public works, especially for people seeking a vocational training certificate.” Indeed, secondary schools lack resources—and paradoxically this is especially the case for classes in practical applications, essential to vocational training.
A project crucial for the entire economy
But on November 30, 2018, there was a sign of change to come. On this date of the annual ceremony for the new school term, the Ministry of Technical Education and Vocational Training (METFP) announced the creation of three new “CAPS” courses, whose graduates receive specialized vocational certificates. These two-year courses will be established in five technical training institutes, in Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Toamasina, Toliara, and Mantasoa.
This announcement was a major step forward for Formapro-BTP. This large-scale project is being carried out by CNEF BTP, which is composed of representatives from both the private and public sector, including the METFP, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Ministry of Public Works, the Union of Public Building and Works Enterprises (SEBTP) and the National Federation of Building and Public Works SMEs. AFD’s support comes in the form of a grant of €5 million euros.
From now on, 390 young Malagasies per year can be trained in the professions of mason, plumber, tiler, carpenter, roofer, etc.
Formapro-BTP was designed during a slowdown, to help relaunch the economy via jobs, by putting employable and skilled people on the job market.
The establishment of these new courses is the outcome of long-term preparation that began in 2011: not only did the needs have to be defined in terms of professions, qualifications, teaching content, and material, but workshops had to be renovated and equipped, and teachers trained. Fifty teachers were recruited and trained in skills-based pedagogy, in particular by teachers from the Lycée de l’Atlantique secondary school in Royan, France. The dual education being experimented at the Toamasina technical secondary school is also a new experience in Madagascar.
A new type of public-private cooperation
This program has been developed and implemented within an unprecedented framework of dialog, within the CNEF BTP, between the public and private sectors. As Ernest Tsikel'Iankina, Secretary-General of the METFP points out, “The public stakeholders and the professional organizations have worked together in the management and governance of the training systems. The professional organizations in the building and public works sector actively participate in defining the training needs, from curriculum development, implementation of dual education or apprenticeship, teachers training, and up to evaluation.”
For his part, Gédéon Rajaonson is delighted with the program: “This overhaul of the vocational training system will greatly boost opportunities and finally make it possible to recruit qualified personnel in Madagascar who can produce quality work. This should motivate young people, who will benefit from new job opportunities.” From the public-sector point of view, Ernest Tsikel'Iankina considers this project “as an example to follow for other types of teaching.” In fact, the project prefigured the national job and vocational training policy adopted in 2015.
Support over the long term
Vocational training is one of the focus sectors of the AFD agency in Madagascar, which intends to support its modernization over the long term. As Camille Paquet explains, “We’re going to continue to support these schools and are in the process of conducting an investigation into new financial assistance for 2019, over five years, to continue to support a network of pilot schools.”
“Only sustained effort and ongoing actions can deliver tangible results, because the development of Madagascar is a long-term undertaking,” concludes Gédéon Rajaonson.