Parents Challenged To Champion TVET Courses As Nakuru Sets To Equip TVETS With Modern Facilities.
The Nakuru County Government is negotiating a collaboration with several private companies to provide students in Youth Polytechnics and Technical Vocational Education Training Institutes (TVETs) with hands-on experience in an industry setting during their studies.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui stated that the venture aims to bridge the skills gap among TVET graduates by requiring students to spend at least 50% of their training time working with relevant industries.
“We are exploring a model where students are subjected to combination of theory and practical training, in a real-life work environment through an interchange of training at a TVET institute and in a company,” he stated.
He announced that his administration had allocated Sh164 million for youth empowerment initiatives such as upgrading facilities at the County’s Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) in order to meet required standards and attract more youth enrolment.
“Our goal is to have more young people enroll in various courses not offered professionally at the University level. Strengthening the collaborative linkages between the county government and the private sector is one of the most effective ways of driving the TVET agenda as students can be exposed to the real world of industry and business,” stated Kinyanjui.
He made the remarks during a ceremony for over 200 youths who had undergone an alternative rite of passage at Mugumo Village in Molo Sub County, during a speech delivered on his behalf by Director in charge of political affairs Ms Beatrice Nyawira.
Kinyanjui stated that since the nineteenth century, close links between enterprises and training centers have been at the heart of the Western World’s economic success.
“I believe that building up such a TVET ecosystem in Kenya can provide concrete job opportunities for young Kenyans as well,” he observed.
There are 24 youth polytechnics spread across the county’s 11 subcounties. The county has two accredited public TVET institutions, the Dairy Training Institute in Naivasha and the Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology in Njoro, as well as 18 accredited private TVET institutions, according to the Technical Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA).
The private sector, according to the Governor, accounts for more than 70% of formal employment, but in some cases, they are unable to find candidates due to a mismatch between the courses offered in TVET institutions.
According to Kinyanjui, the private sector can collaborate with tertiary institutions to develop specialized short-term practical courses, such as entrepreneurship, to help graduates improve their business skills.
The Governor added, “My administration is keen to forge partnerships with the private sector in areas of research with emphasis on the changing market environment and consumer trends. This will build a valuable knowledge base that the private sector and the county government can leverage to improve technical training and solve real economic problems.”
He noted that the National Government had begun to implement the Competence-Based Education and Training (CBET) policy framework aimed at delivering industry responsive skills by rolling out new technical and vocational courses.
The governor emphasized the importance of an effective Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) system in achieving the Big Four Government agenda and Vision 2030.
“CBET concept entails the involvement of industry in all aspects of training. This will include development of occupational standards, training programmes, facilitation of training as well as assessment. We are keen on entrenching CBET in our systems,” said Kinyanjui
In her remarks, Nyawira stated that the global labor market was shifting from theoretical expertise to practical skills, and that a growing number of Kenyans with good academic credentials were unemployed due to a mismatch of skills and career options.
She stated that the country is experiencing a growing shortage of technicians and artisans, and that in order to achieve the Kenya Vision 2030, the country requires 90,000 technicians and over 400,000 artisans to fill the current void.
“We boast of having an educated youth, whose glossy academic qualifications are a mismatch with practical industry needs. Our educational institutions are churning out more quantity surveyors, engineers and architects against a backdrop of growing worrisome shortage of vocational skills and competencies such as plumbing, electrical installation, welding, brick laying, painting, carpentry, tailoring among others. If we go on like this, we will start bringing in expatriate artisans and craftsmen,” Nyawira added.
She expressed optimism, however, that the situation was steadily improving as the national government’s initiative to invest in new equipment, modern technologies, infrastructure, and qualified training staff was paying off as student enrolment in TVETS increased.
Enrollment in national polytechnics, public technical and vocational colleges increased by 4.8 percent to 451,205 in 2020, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), indicating that the government’s efforts to increase enrolment in the institutions are bearing fruit. In 2020, the number of TVET institutions increased by 7.5 percent to 2,301.
Nyawira challenged parents to champion (TVET) courses to help their children acquire relevant skills for local and international labor markets, adding that technical training is critical to the country’s economic growth.
She suggested that parents should now pay more attention to courses offered by vocational training centers, arguing that technical and vocational training holds the key to addressing economic challenges such as unemployment.
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“The strength and future of a country’s economy depends on two major factors, skills of its manpower and production which comes from it. This can only be achieved through TVET, as it is the masterpiece to alleviate poverty and usher in growth,” she said.
Nyawira criticized the move to convert technical institutes and polytechnics into constituent university colleges or full-fledged universities, claiming that it undermined technological development.