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Rise in TVET Course Enrollment as Students Shun University Programs

Rise in TVET Course Enrollment as Students Shun University Programs

Over the past few years, Vihiga County has seen a sharp increase in the number of students enrolled in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs.

According to educationists, more learners now prefer technical training over university courses.

A spot check by The Standard in several TVET institutions across Western Kenya reveals the desire of many students to acquire practical skills.

In just two years, the student body at Friends College Kaimosi has doubled, making it one of the TVET institutions.

According to the institution’s director, Michael Musuya, the college had 2,000 students in 2020, but that number has since increased to well over 5,000.

According to him, politicians and chiefs have offered assistance by encouraging high school leavers and other eligible candidates to pursue technical courses that are not only affordable but also more marketable than many managerial courses offered in universities.

On Wednesday, the college held its fourth commencement ceremony, during which 1,747 students received higher diplomas, diplomas, certificates, and craft and artisan qualifications.

Despite a huge wage bill resulting from tutors hired by the board, Friends College Kaimosi managed to accomplish this. In addition, the majority of learners have substantial fee balances.

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The college administration now requests that the government increase per-student funding and timely release of Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) funds to deserving learners.

“Many of our trainers have unsettled salaries which curtails the smooth running of activities of the institution, ” said Musuya who added their target was to increase enrollment to over 9,000 to attain the status of a national polytechnic.

Faith Anyoso, who graduated with a diploma in accountancy, stated during the commencement ceremony that she chose the TVET institution despite having the option to attend university.

Anyoso stated, “I have gained skills that can allow me to start up my own business and achieve a lot.”

The enrollment at Sabatia and Ebukanga technical and vocational institutions in Vihiga has also increased.

Sabatia has enrolled 3,100 learners this year, up from 1,870 in 2021, and Ebukanga has 2,010 trainees, up from 1,000 students two years ago.

The Vihiga county government capitation policy covers all students’ tuition costs.

The institutions receive a total of Sh15,000 per student annually, which has resulted in an increase in enrollment from 2,700 students in 2020 to 7,000 students in 2023 at all Vocational Training centers in Vihiga county.

The plan will be implemented in conjunction with county and national government agencies and will expand access to TVET training.

According to John Sunguti, director of TVET Vihiga County, the county has fifteen Vocational Training Centres in addition to four Technical Vocational Colleges (TVC) at the subcounty level.

Sunguti stated that they expect one more college to be established at the Luanda constituency, as they aim to meet the national requirement of having TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) institutions in each area.

In vocational training centers, the county has 193 instructors working.

Tom Mulati, the national director of TVET, stated that plans are in place to cluster TVET institutions so that there is a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in every ward, a National Polytechnic in every county, and a Technical Vocational College in every sub-county.

Mulati expressed during the graduation ceremony that it was their dream for each institute to be developed into a center of excellence in one or two trade areas, with a specific focus on the skills required in the regions where the institute is located.

Most TVET institutions have been supported with value-added equipment to integrate training with production, according to Ministry of Education reports.

Mulati acknowledged the difficulties faced by some institutions, but stated that the government had made significant strides in stabilizing the sector.

He added that discussions were ongoing on how the government could best assist in capitation and Helb disbursement.

He noted that in order to increase access for Kenyan youths, the government increased the number of TVET institutions from 52 in 2013 to 238 currently.

According to him, the majority of institutions are geared toward equipping graduates with skills that can lead to self-employment and meeting the challenges posed by rapid technological advancement, changes in education policy, and changes in the labor market.

Rise in TVET Course Enrollment as Students Shun University Programs

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