This study estimates the economic benefits of the government of Swaziland and its development partners’ investment into the National Handicraft Training Centre (NHTC). Using NHTC’s student database from 1995 to 2015, the study tracks graduates from the Centre to assess the demand and absorbability of their skills into the economy. Data on employment, self-employment status, and the level of skills upgrading with institutions of higher learning after graduating from the NHTC was collected. Employment earnings, self-employment, and part-time profits was collected to calculate their annual average incomes.

The study finds that the NHTC return on investment calculated as the benefit-cost ratio of the graduates’ incomes against the money spent on NHTC is 1:4.66. This means for every E1 invested on NHTC, the economy generates E4.66 in the income generating activities of NHTC TVET graduates. Pertaining to skills utilisation, the study shows that 48.7% of the NHTC graduates were formally employed, 24.7% self-employed, and 26.2% unemployed while 0.4% continued with studying after graduating from NHTC. Enrolment analysis reveals that there was little demand for ceramics (0.7%), leather (0.4%), and wood carving (1.1%) over the study period yet NHTC was established to contribute in skills development within the handicraft sector.

Computers (35.2%), electrical engineering (31.1%), and sewing (23.6%) attracted the most students with computer course dominated by women while men dominated electrical engineering course. Overall, the study finds that 73.4% of the graduates were in productive employment after graduating from NHTC and only 39% acquired employment relevant to their skills. The study recommends that NHTC should consider balancing the number of males and females in each course as well as ensure that courses are filled to capacity at all times. Given the high BCR (1: 4.66), and considering that the Republic of China on Taiwan’s funding ended in 2015, the Government of Swaziland should increase funding to NHTC by matching the Taiwanese yearly contribution of US$500,000, which has been allocated over the past 20 years.

Download PDF