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TEVETA revises syllabus for electrical programmes
May 26, 2020 at 15:17

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IN ZAMBIA, the demand for qualified electrical handymen is quite immense. This is due to economic, social, political and technological changes that have not spared the electrical industry. Recent increases in industrial and commercial activities in the nation have also led to a rise in demand for qualified electrical handymen who are able to strictly adhere to the Zambia Code of Practice for wiring of premises rules in the design, selection, erection, inspection and testing of electrical installations.

Therefore, ensuring safety of persons, livestock and property against dangers and damage, which could arise in the reasonable use of electrical installation and to provide for the proper functioning of these installations. It is against this background that electrical engineering programme for handymen has been revised to meet the new demands in the industry. TEVETA, Zambia Bureau of Standards, Zesco Ltd, Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency, Energy Regulation Board, Lusaka City Council and Engineering Institution of Zambia collaborated to develop the code of practice for wiring premises. The output of the code of wiring premises fed into TEVETA’s process of revising the syllabus in electrical engineering for handymen.

The revision is aimed at providing the nation with qualified electrical handymen who apply the skills to meet the high demand in both formal and informal sectors of the electrical industry. The revised programme in electrical engineering would provide handymen with knowledge, skills and appropriate attitudes to install, maintain and repair domestic and industrial electrical machinery and equipment competently in line with the Zambian Standards of Wiring of Premises-Code of Practice.

ZESCO limited recently issued new house wiring and installation requirements before connection of power to family houses and small commercial structures that require power not exceeding 15k VA. The regulations include the requirement for the electrician to attach registration certificate from the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) and a compliance test certificate from the person who inspected and tested the installation. These requirements are coming into effective from March 1, 2020.

These measures are meant to minimize electrical incidents arising from poor and substandard electrical wiring of houses. The measures are also aimed at ensuring safety and proper functioning of installations. Most house owners engage unqualified or poorly skilled electricians to wire their houses. The poor work results into houses catching fires. With the new rules on house wiring, TEVETA and EIZ and ZESCO Limited have been working together to identify new skills electricians require in line with the new installation requirements by ZESCO. Up-skilling programmes for electricians to meet the new requirements will be designed and implemented by different players in the power supply and consumption value chain.

TEVETA is using the collaboration with other organisations in the development of the Code of Practice in Wiring Premises to include new skills in the curriculum for electrical engineering for handymen, technicians and technologists. Among the roles of TEVETA is to develop and review curriculum, develop test and assessment instruments to assess the competence of the learners in each technical and vocational programmes. These are developed in consultation with industry to ensure the relevance of skills being churned out into the industry. Whenever industry signals skills gaps or emerging skills, TEVETA coordinates the development training programmes to supply new skills or review old training programmes to add new skills in an occupation. Electrical programmes are candidates to the review process to meet industry needs in domestic wiring and installation.

Each organisation in the collaborative work of developing the Code of Practice in Wiring Premises. TEVETA’s interest is in training skilled human capital in installation, maintenance and repairing electrical installations at domestic industrial levels. The Lusaka City Council is interested in compliance to building standards. Licensing of practicing certificates is done by the Engineering Institution of Zambia and the Energy Regulation Board regulates the provision of quality of energy and electrical services. The two institutions were part of the collaborative work to ensure regulatory and quality aspects in electrical installations were taken care in the development of the Code of Practice.

This is the first time the country is developing the Code of Practice in house wiring. In the past, electricians used different standards. Some electricians used South African, British or Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE). The country is now standardizing electrical installations by developing a Code of Practice for wiring premises. The multi-agency collaboration brought different regulatory, standards and practice requirements in the Code of Practice. Some of the standards included in the Code of Practice include positioning of sockets from the ground to avoid electrocutions of people, especially during floods.

The Code Practice entails up-skilling trainers in electrical engineering to ensure they know code of practice and deliver lessons in line with what was prescribed in the Code of Practice, especially practical lessons on wiring premises. The involved organisations had areas of interest to be factored into the Code of Practice to ensure electrical installations met industry requirements for the code of practice to stand the test of time from different perspectives.

TEVETA would ensure training providers are complaint to the Code of Practice during training and assessments. The Code of Practice has been included in the curriculum in electrical engineering programmes.