The government has underscored the need for more investments in Technical and Vocational Education Training(TVET) in terms of infrastructure and capacity development as the sector was a key enabler of the big four agenda.
Vocational and Technical Training Principal Secretary Dr. Kevit Desai said the sector was expected to play a big role in the implementation of key projects like value addition, food security, provision of universal health coverage as well as affordable and decent housing.
Dr. Desai said this called for collective funding from counties and the private sector as the government planned to equip one million youths annually with relevant skills and attitudes for self-gainful employment.
The PS said TVET institutions and enrolment was on the rise as young people had started to realize its context in terms of flexibility and purpose towards creation of self-employment.
Speaking during the fourth graduation ceremony of Mathenge Technical Training Institute in Nyeri, Dr. Desai said most of the technical institutions had increased their enrolment by almost 30 percent.
The increase was largely attributable to the government’s promotion of TVET trainee placement for students who did not make the cut to join universities through Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Services (KUCCPS).
Another reason was as a result of government capitation in TVET programs to a maximum of Sh56,240 annually out of which, Sh30,000 would be from the Education Ministry, while the rest could be settled via a loan from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).
Desai said this was a good step towards growing TVET sector, adding that the country needed at least 10 percent of its population enrolled in the institutions to make a significant contribution in economic transformation of the country.
“TVET sector is the bedrock for the achievement of the big four agenda,” said the PS, as he commended counties that were making a significant contribution by providing bursaries and capacities for institutions in their localities.
However, the rise in TVETs enrolment, according to the PS, has created a constraint in expanding capacity of TVET institutions in terms of infrastructural development and equipment.
He therefore appealed to counties and local sectors to create public private partnerships especially in development of hostels for the growing number of students.
“We believe such a partnership will go a long way in supplementing the government investment to ensure TVET institutions rise up to the required standards of development,” the PS said.
To further improve the sector, the PS announced plans by the Ministry to employ 2, 000 trainers even as focus was being shifted towards competence based education training.
Despite the department facing a budget cut of Sh1.3 billion due to austerity measures taken by the government to cut down on expenditure, Dr. Desai expressed optimism that their programs would not be adversely affected.
“We will look into ways of being more resourceful and creative to match the shortfall,” he said.
And in a bid to enhance access and equity, Dr. Desai announced that plans were underway to ensure that every constituency had a Technical Training Institute (TTI).
He said currently, 125 Technical and Vocational Centers (TVCs) out of 290 were operational with the remaining requiring funding for construction and equipment.
The PS further said the ministry had put structures in place for quality assurance in TVETs through establishment of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority(TVETA).
He said this would go a long way in regulating TVET institutions as well as challenging them to rise up and invest in research and innovations to generate homegrown solutions to local needs.
On the raging debate of the role of universities in provision of TVET certificates and diplomas, the PS said the most important thing was the quality of training and not who should offer the training.
He said, while the amendments of Universities Act of 2014 allowed universities to participate in TVETs at certificate and diploma level, emphasis should be on quality and relevance of training offered.
“The quality of training should meet international standards and institutions must realize that the diplomas and certificates of today are not like those of yesterday,” the PS said.
For effective and efficient management TVETs, the PS said the government had initiated plans to transfer trainers from Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to the Public Service Commission (PSC) as well as implementation of Technical Trainer’s Scheme of Service.