Government invests Ksh 11B in expanding TVETS

Skills imparted by Technical Vocational Educational Training Institutions (TVETs) will be critical in propelling Kenya to new industrialized status by 2030 and creating opportunities for self-employment.

Principal Secretary, State Department for Vocational and Technical Training Dr Margaret Mwakima said it was time the country stopped overhyping university degrees and started to strike a balance between technical and vocational education and training and workplace demands.

Dr Mwakima stated that world over the labour market was transiting from theoretical expertise to practical-based skills adding that a growing number of Kenyans with good academic qualifications were unemployed because of a mismatch of skills and career choices.

She indicated that the government had so far invested Ksh 10.6 billion in expanding TVET training by increasing the number of technical training institutions which now stand at 238 as one way of transforming Kenya into a manufacturing hub and empowering the youth to participate in gainful employment to spur nation-building.

While speaking at the Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology in Nakuru during the institution’s 15th graduation ceremony Dr Mwakima revealed that there was a growing shortage of technicians and artisans in the country and noted that in order to achieve the Kenya Vision 2030, the country needs 90,000 technicians and over 400,000 artisans to plug the current shortage.

The Principal Secretary added “we boast of having an educated youth, whose glossy academic qualifications are a mismatch with practical industry needs. We are recording a worrisome shortage of vocational skills and competencies such as plumbing, electrical installation, welding, bricklaying, painting, carpentry, tailoring among others. If we go on like this we will start bringing in expatriate welders.”

Dr Mwakima however expressed optimism the situation was steadily improving as the national government’s initiative to invest in new equipment, modern technologies and infrastructure and qualified training staff was paying off as student enrollments in TVETS had increased to the current 249,316 from 55,945 in 2013.

“Further, the cost of technical training has been standardized across the board at Ksh 56,420 per annum with the government providing capitation grants of Ksh 30,000 per trainee, per annum. In addition, TVET trainees access loans from The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), to further supplement the cost of training,” the Principal Secretary indicated.

While pointing out that at the moment vocational skills and competencies were well paying and key in the socio-economic growth of this country, Dr Mwakima observed that the government had rolled out new technical and vocational courses as it begins to implement the Competence-Based Education and Training (CBET) policy framework aimed at delivering industry responsive skills.

She emphasized that an effective Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) system will play a key role in the achievement of the big four Government agenda and Vision 2030.

“CBET concept entails the involvement of industry in all aspects of training. This includes the development of occupational standards, training programmes, facilitation of training as well as assessment. We are keen on entrenching CBET in our systems,” said the Principal Secretary.

The government and the private sector she added were collaborating to ensure that the curriculum developed by Sectors Skills Advisory Committees (SSACs) is aligned to the competencies required for national development. Dr Mwakima noted that SSACs were the focal point of TVET reforms.

Dr Mwakima informed the graduands that The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) was now recognizing certificates issued to informally trained artisans and professionals who pass practical tests conducted by various authorities.

Under the new arrangement, the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examination Board (KASNEB), Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) and Curriculum Development, Assessment and Certification Council (CDACC) will issue academic certificates based on practical performance as opposed to written examinations.

“This effectively means that a jua kali trained, tailor, carpenter, mechanic, sculptor or a plumber who has never sat in a formal classroom or Technical Educational and Vocational Training Institutes (TVETS) may be issued with a recognized certificate just as his counterparts who have undergone years of formal training,” explained the Principal Secretary.

This is however subject to the condition that one must practically demonstrate that he or she possesses the requisite skills before a relevant examination body.

Dr Mwakima said the government was working on a policy shift where artisans will be given an opportunity to showcase practical capabilities in their respective areas of expertise before being issued with certificates that will enable them to seek employment in both formal and informal sectors where their skills are required.

“We need to bring this skilled pool of informally and non-formally trained manpower to the mainstream of our development. Most of these skilled people have never been to school but their competencies are running this country” stated the Principal Secretary.

She said various skills were being tested in industries, Universities or TVET institutions that have the necessary machinery, equipment, personnel and expertise spread across the country. She stated the candidates are assessed as either ‘competent’ or ‘incompetent’ and that there is grading.

Dr Mwakima urged the graduands to take advantage of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund in sourcing for easy and affordable financial and business development support services to contribute to job creation through entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic development.

“As one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030, the fund is strategically focused on enterprise development as a key strategy to increase economic opportunities for, and participation by Kenyan Youth in nation-building. The aim is to create employment opportunities for young people through entrepreneurship and encouraging them to be job creators and not job seekers.”

RVIST Principal Dr Daniel Mutai said Virtual graduation and lectures should now be embraced as the new normal, stating that institutions of higher learning will need to adapt, innovate and proceed with life differently.

“It is not easy to project when the country will be restored to normalcy following the outbreak and spread of Covid – 19. As for now a traditional way of doing things has changed however this does not mean that normal operations at learning institutions should be stalled,” he noted.

  

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