Technical training for productive work is one of the solutions to the unemployment problem which currently reflects on marginality, exclusion and forced displacement of the population. We will give priority to education actions that help train the population in techniques, arts, crafts and skills that vindicate such population as part of the society and that may put them back in the path to developing the country.
Currently, Colombian institution Sena trains -in two and three-year long courses- more than 118,000 apprentices and 120,000 alumni thanks to agreements with companies. In the short courses, it trains 1,400,000 alumni, out of which many of them are repeating the course.
The training efforts for productive work have been complemented throughout this administration by the program Jóvenes en Acción (Youngsters in Action), which currently trains 44,000 youngsters belonging to levels one and two of Sisben health strata in the main six areas of the country. The goal is to train 100,000 youngsters for three years (2000-2002).
The cost of technical training for productive work delivered by Sena and other nonprofit institutions of the private sector ranges between 3 and 18 million pesos per student a year. Some studies show that only 15% of technical training in the country is provided by Sena.
I propose the following:
1. Train 150,000 people in productive tasks per year. If within 10 years, 150,000 fellow Colombians have learned a productive craft, we will have motivated an impressive social and productivity revolution.
2. Expand and diversify the program Jóvenes en Acción with high-school students yet to graduate in exchange for the obligatory military service.
How we will do it?
1. We will keep technical training provided by Sena and will allow participation of nonprofit entities such as Fundación Carvajal, Minuto de Dios, Hogares Don Bosco, Actuar, Mac, Antioquia Presente, Fundesan and others. These entities will be paid per every trained alumnus. We will eliminate control by politics maneuvering and will introduce agility in Sena's management, with fewer buildings and more virtual programs that reduce management costs. We will continue to run the program Jóvenes en Acción, although with some modifications to widen it substantially in order to create vocational training in tasks that add value. We will gradually incorporate youngsters yet to graduate from high school to this program, as a substitute for the obligatory military service.
We will follow Antioquia province's example, in which during my period as a Governor, we delivered 62 workshops with high-tech equipment. The province supplied the machinery, the local municipality and Sena provided the trainers. At the end of the three years, 1,644 trained people graduated and other 2,355 were studying.
2. We will expand training for productive work to prison's inmates, as well as soldiers and public force officers so that they can learn crafts different from the sole handling of weapons.
3. We will advance so that all high-school graduates can acquire productive skills. The requirement will be a minimum of theory and practice hours in a technical area. The idea is that in 2005 all high-school graduates are ready to enter the university or the labor life.