Sawa: Center for Nurturing Versatile Eritrean Youth

Opinions News
Sawa has been a center for education and vocational training
Sawa is a center for education, military and vocational training for the Eritrean youth and preparations are underway to celebrate its 25th anniversary (silver jubilee).


An area which was once a wilderness became a training center in 1994. The first round members of the national service set their feet on the grounds of Sawa in the same year.

Since then Sawa has been steadily transformed from just a plain into an urban area. There are no makeshift tents now but rather hungers and schools for vocational training – Sawa Vocational Training Center (SVCT).

Sawa, which was only a military training center on the onset, later became a center for vocational training.

Since 2003, 11th grade students have been pursuing their 12th grade classes in Sawa. It has now been 25 years since the establishment of Sawa Training Center, and Sawa is now set to celebrate the silver jubilee of its founding.

SVCT was established in February 2007 in a bid to provide 12th grade students, who failed in the National Matriculation Exam, an opportunity to pursue their academic career in various vocational fields of studies. It started its operations by offering courses in 22 fields of studies in eight training centers. The training centers were restructured anew into three based on the similarities of courses. Accordingly, the Center has been offering training in 15 fields of study.

Even though installation of equipment has been made, the Department of Foundry has not yet been opened. Deficit of trainers in this field is the main bottle neck. Preparations are underway to provide courses in this field as soon as possible.

The 15 fields of studies that are currently operational are grouped into the School of Business Administration, School of Technology 01 and School of Technology 02.

The School of Business Administration provides courses in Accounting and Secretarial Science, the School of Technology 01 offers courses in Computer Maintenance and Networking, Electronics, Refrigeration and Air- Conditioning, Auto Mechanics, Building Construction, Survey and Drafting as well as Electricity. The School of Technology 02 offers courses in the fields of Carpentry, Wood Works, Metal Works and Machine Shop.

Mr. Tesfay Tewolde, Director of SVTC, said that the Center has been registering remarkable progress. Nevertheless, it has faced shortcomings in the number of faculty members in the last two years, particularly in operating the newly introduced modern machinery. So, the Center had to solve the challenges by providing training of trainers in collaboration with local institutions and expatriate instructors. All in all, the Center is now in a good shape and all the instructors are competent and highly skilled.

Sawa is where Warsai came to life.
Sawa is where Warsai came to life. It disarms and neutralize Eritrea’s enemies at front-line when required.

“The Center has effectively achieved the set out goals. All the students have got a second chance to pursue their academic career through hands-on training. They are now implementing the training they received on the ground. So, the targeted vision has been realized,” Mr. Tesfay underlined.

As regards the quality of education and competence of the trainees, Mr. Tesfay noted that the training that has been offered in the later development of SVTC is more practical and currently the students have good exposure to practical training. When assigned to different work places the students demonstrate remarkable excellence.

The students in SVTC have been offered a chance to choose a field based on their inclination. That is why they are very keen to learn in the field of their interest. The students tend to focus more on practical training rather than the theoretical aspects of the courses. They spend much time in upgrading their skills by operating the machines. “They are very pragmatic,” Mr. Tesfay said.

The courses at SVCT are offered in two shifts. All the students have to attend theoretical and practical classes in the morning and afternoon shifts. The schools are well equipped with machineries and the students have plenty of time for the practical training. “The current batch is fortunate for they are being trained with new and very modern machineries,” Mr. Tesfay disclosed.

A number of students have been trained in SVTC since 2017, but what is their contribution when assigned to different work places? Mr. Tesfay said that, the students demonstrate remarkable excellence if assigned to work in their respective fields of study. A failure to do so has a negative impact and opens an opportunity for wastage of human resource. Thus, human resource management plays a crucial role in making maximum use of the acquired skills. “Those assigned in their fields of study have been more than competent and the companies they are deployed to can testify to this,” Mr. Tesfay reiterated.

Sawa - Giving students a second chance to pursue their academic career through hands-on training.
SVTC – Giving students a second chance to pursue their academic career through hands-on training.

According to Mr. Tesfay, there is no deficit of electricity at all. A 24/7 supply of electricity has been vital for the success SVTC has registered to date. Supply of electricity from Kerkebet and standby generators in Sawa have been playing a decisive role in facilitating the teaching and learning process and in providing the required supply of electricity for the technical workshops.

The students have been very dynamic and industrious. They are highly creative. Thus, utmost priority has been given to the practical aspect of the training. “We are looking forward to providing them with necessary materials to encourage them focus more on invention and innovation activities,” Mr. Tesfay said.

Sawa has been a center for education and vocational training. Those trained in Sawa have acquired skills that could shape their future career. The know-how they are equipped with during their stay in Sawa is a milestone for their success.

It is now about 12 years since the establishment of SVTC. Currently, the Center has around 120 staff members. So far, in 10 commencements, a total of 20,000 students have graduated from the center. Forty six percent of the graduates are female students.

The Center used to offer a one-year course until the fifth round. Later, the one-year course was extended to a two-year course starting from the 6th batch. The two-year training program was launched with the introduction of new machineries and in a bid to enable the students have sufficient time for practical courses.

This year, SVTC has been offering courses to a total of about 2,120 students. The 909 second-year students will graduate during the Silver Jubilee celebrations.

Mr. Tesfay finally said that the Center is getting ready to provide teachers with upgraded training of trainers and to create a viable ground for invention and innovation activities for outstanding students.

The opening of SVTC in 2017 was indeed a remarkable transformation. In addition to the academic programs for 12th grade students, the vocational courses have enabled a number of youth to acquire skills in a number of disciplines. The Center is now at the forefront in supplying the needed human resource for the nation building underway. The steady journey of 25 years in various domains makes Sawa a center of excellence.

Happy Silver Jubilee!!