The Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) refer to the education and training that prepares persons for gainful employment (Finich and Crunkilton, 1999). In other words, TVET refers to deliberate interventions to bring about learning which make people more productive (or simply adequately productive) in designated areas of economic activity.

There are multiple problems with TVET that cannot enable it to effectively and efficiently contribute towards national human resource development for a productive workforce. These problems include (1) The dormancy of the National Council on Technical/Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) (2) The fragmented and poorly coordinated governance system of TVET in Liberia (3) The lack of a National TVET Policy in Liberia and (4) The lack of a National TVET regulator

The National Council on Technical /Vocational Education and Training and its technical and administrative secretariat, AITB, were established by the Peoples Redemption Council (PRC) Decree #56 in 1981 to address the problem of several ministries and agencies being responsible for vocational training in the country. The need for national consistency of standards and trade tests and for the responsibility to be assumed by one body other than training providers was recognized and was in conformity with good governance principle. The membership of the NCTVET Consisted of government ministries and agencies with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs as Chairman and Co-Chaired by the Ministry of Education. Also Employers/Managers as well as Labor Unions were members of the Council. Unfortunately, due to the lack of commitment on the part of government and the non-existence of most of the members like LAMCO, Bong Mine and the Mesurado Group of Companies. NCTVET has become dormant and not meeting the needs for which it was created.

Liberia has a fragmented and poorly coordinated system of TVET. The arrangement of TVET is characterized by multiple responsibility and ownership. On the one hand, as per the Education Law passed in January 2002, the Ministry of Education is charged with the responsibility for skills training and TVET in Liberia. On the other hand, there is the Ministry of Youth and Sports which has under its responsibility some vocational training centers, and manages on the job/apprenticeship scheme. In parallel, there are large number of private, faith-based, and NGO training institutions which are in operation and are developing their own programs, carrying out their own assessment and awarding their own certificates. By law, also, the Ministry of Labor is responsible for training and creating jobs for the youth. With this kind of scattered TVET system, if money is placed in the National Budget for youth development, which of the three government ministries (Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Youth and Sports) will have an oversight responsibility for expending the money? There is a need to have one TVET regulatory body.

Currently, there is no national policy on TVET in Liberia. From August 5-7, 2009, there a National Conference on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) held with the Theme: “LIFT LIBERIA THROUGH TVET REFORM” at the SKD Sports Complex in Paynesville, Monrovia. The conference was held in an attempt to develop a National TVET Policy that would be of international standard and to revise the TVET LAW that was created by the PRC Decree #56. Two consultants were invited with one from Ghana and the other from Botswana. After this conference, a draft National Policy with the revised TVET LAW was produced through the instrumentality of the IRC and the National Working Group (NWG) on TVET and same was submitted to the President through the Ministry of Youth and Sports for an onward submission to the Cabinet for vetting. The document got stalked at the Cabinet Room instead of it being forwarded to the National Legislature for enactment and Liberia remains without any comprehensive policy framework and an adopted National Curriculum whose courses are tailored to the demands of the country’s emerging labor market.

Finally, the most serious problem hampering TVET delivery in the country is the lack of a National Regulatory Body that will ensure standard for TVET providers. Due to the lack of a dedicated, focused, and result oriented regulatory body, there is huge capacity gap and the absence of clear capacity building plan for teachers and administrators in the TVET sector. There are no training facilities for TVET instructors in Liberia. The National TVET regulator, if established, will promote proper coordination of the sector and enhance effectiveness and efficiency in the TVET delivery system.

The Technical Vocational Education and Training is an in integral part of national development strategies in many societies because of its impact on productivity and economic development. It is a necessary ingredient in any effort towards excellent management and development of human resources; which is the bedrock of the development of other sectors. The Technical Vocational Education and Training can raise the productivity of workers and increase earnings through their lifetime. Therefore I recommend the speedy passage into law of a comprehensive National TVET Policy and the establishment of a National TVET Regulatory Body (National Commission on Technical  Vocational  Education and Training) to coordinate the scattered  and poorly governance TVET system in Liberia.