CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka
DURING the official opening ceremony of this year’s Zambia International Trade Fair in Ndola on June 28, President Edgar Lungu and his guest, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, toured some stands.As they moved from one stand to another, their attention was drawn to a monster on four wheels.
Its somewhat grotesque appearance did not in any way deter the two presidents from taking a closer peek. And what a find!
The gleaming contraption was actually a prototype of a sports car named JOEAMO, invented by innovative Joseph Zulu, a former Northern Technical College (NORTECH) automotive engineering student.
Lungu made the sports car, whose speedometer goes up to 350km/h, using recycled pieces of metal.
The two presidents could not resist the temptation to have a feel of the novelty.
Now inventor Lungu could be on the threshold of fame, if his innovation catches the attention of WorldSkills Zambia, which aims at identifying and harnessing such skills to spur national development.
The WorldSkills International local chapter hosted by the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) will hold a competition management and leadership training workshop on July 19 and 20, 2018 in the ICT Centre of Excellence at Zambia Information and Communications Technology College in Ndola.
WorldSkills Zambia board chairman David Chakonta says the workshop follows a successful stakeholders meeting held at the Government Complex in Lusaka in May.
Mr Chakonta said the country wants to grow a number of skills centres of excellence and use skills as the springboard for development through the WorldSkills Competition and Career Exploration System.
“The event will also include participants from other African countries which are already members of WorldSkills International,” he said.
Participating countries will include Namibia, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt as well as those contemplating to join WorldSkills International such as Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Ghana.
The establishment of and activation of the National Skills Competition and Career Exploration System is one of the deliverables of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).
The workshop will initiate the cultivation of a pool of policy, managerial and technical experts who will enable the sectors, provinces and the nation at large to tap into the skills excellence standards of WorldSkills International to support development at national level.
Current centres of excellence include Kafue Gorge Regional Training Centre (KGRTC) near Kafue Gorge Power Station in Chikankata district, Southern Province, and the Zambia Industrial Training Academy (ZAMITA), which specialises in heavy equipment repair training at NORTEC in Ndola.
Others are the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre of Excellence based at the Zambia Information and Communications Technology (ZICT) College in Ndola, Mopani Central Training Centre, based in Mufulira, and the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies (ZCAS), which has recently transformed into ZCAS University, in Lusaka.
In May the government of Korea sent two experts from the Human Resources Development (HRD) Services, Global Institute for Transferring Skills (GIFTS) under the Ministry of Employment and Labour, to help Zambia navigate the complex path to a solid and functional national skills competition system.
Joo Hyoung Woo, Global HRD Cooperation team manager, and Youngil Cho, project manager at Korea Skills Transfer for Aspiring Regions (K-STAR) Project, attended the stakeholders’ workshop in Lusaka in May.
Dr Cho presented a case study on how skills development has contributed to Korea’s meteoric economic growth in only half a century.
He unveiled a proposed legal, institutional and financing framework for the establishment of Zambia’s own sustainable and successful national skills competition programme to be supported by the Korean government.
Dr Cho showcased how WorldSkills Korea has driven that country’s technological and skills advancement since 1966 when it joined the global human development coalition.
Since its inception WorldSkills Korea has been organising national skills competitions, the last two in 2016 and 2017.
In 2015 the Asian country won the 19th World Championship at the 44th WorldSkills Competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Dr Cho explained that the national skills competition initiative has helped Korea to seal the fissures between training institutions and the industry by creating an alternative career path for innovative young people.
He said after the end of the “cruel” Korean War in 1953 that split the peninsular into two, South Korea carried the shameful tag of being one of the poorest countries in the world until the 1960s.
“Korea, a poor country with few natural resources, realised that it had to develop human resources well, the only engine to make industrial and economic development and become a rich country,” Dr Cho said.
However, he explained in his case study that the Republic of Korea could not even afford to invest in developing human resources then.
It largely depended on aid from the international community from the 1950s to the early 1980s.
With the help of the international community, however, the country has grown into the world’s 12 largest economy.
According to the World Bank country report, the Korean government’s bold economic policies resulted in gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 10 percent annually between 1962 and 1994.
“In just 50 years, Korea has transformed itself from an aid recipient country to a donor country through rapid economic growth and prosperity. Its per capita income rose sharply from US$67 in the early 1950s to US$22,670 in 2012, thanks to strong investment in education and skills…,” the report said.
CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka