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Technical institutions move in revamping bears fruit

Shortage of adequately skilled workforce prompted the government to shift focus to TIVETs with the prime objective of building a competent and sustainable human resources capital

Education officials in Kisumu county have lauded transformation in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) institutions after realising that it has led to robust increase in student enrolments and enhanced quality of education.

Kisumu National Polytechnic Principal Joyce Nyanjom and her Tom Mboya Labour College counterpart Dr Nicholas Oundo said technical training institutions have been rehabilitated and can now produce middle level professionals who shape up the country’s economic growth.

As opposed to the past years when only a handful of students joined Tvet institutions, Nyanjom says the situation has changed drastically with increased admissions currently being recorded in several institutions across the country.

Nyanjom attributes the trend to the government’s key role in supporting such facilities through infrastructural development and introduction of new modern equipment to enable uptake of technical courses.

For instance, Kisumu Polytechnic has recorded increased student population over the past years, and  in the January intake, it admitted 4,500 new students.

The increase is partly attributed to the many students who sat last year’s KCPE and failed to score university entry grade of C+ and above, hence resorted to pursue courses at the technical higher learning institutions.

Education stakeholders, on the other hand, have done a lot of sensitisation to demystify  wrong perceptions about technical institutions.

According to Nyanjom, students who join technical institutions should not be viewed as ‘failures’ by the society because they still have the same opportunity to acquire professional skills just like their colleagues who made it to the university.

“The days when technical training colleges were regarded as places meant for academic dwarfs are long gone. These institutions have been rebranded and now produce more competent and qualified workforce,” said Nyanjom.

She urged parents whose children did not attain university cut-off points to embrace the institutions and let them pursue technical courses of choice.

However, Nyanjom points out that the technical institutions still face challenges such as inadequate funding, a situation which makes it difficult for them to support their operations effectively.

Oundo concurs saying the technical colleges have over the past become centres for producing professionals who end up transforming the country’s workforce.

Speaking to People Daily in his office, Oundo said such institutions were previously ignored, but today, they are regaining their glory and are now playing crucial role in offering professional skills relevant for the Kenyan job market. “Some of the students we train have become senior professionals in the society which is a confirmation that the technical institutions are pathways to career development,” he says.

He says admission for Tvet courses has risen due to increased opportunities in the job market for the trainees.

As a result, he suggests that employers should offer a fair share of job opportunities to Tvet graduates as they have the expertise to deliver just like their colleagues from the university.

Oundo says the increase in the number of Tvet institutions, now spread across the country, it has made easier access to technical courses.

He emphasised the need for parents to admit their children who fail to attain university grade to Tvet courses as this would open them doors to a bright future.

“Technical education bears the future of our young girls and boys who fail to score the university entry points,” he added.

Despite the good process, Oundo reiterates that the government still needed to put in more effort to further strengthen learning in the Tvet institutions. For example, he says the government should consider installing additional equipment to support uptake of courses in such institutions.

Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a rapid expansion plan for technical colleges.Some of the 70 new colleges that had been under construction have been completed. Once commissioned, will accommodate 100,000 more students. The government’s plan is to have at least 50,000 learners in TVET institutions in the next five years. This year alone, the government has allocated Sh500m towards tuition fees for students joining the technical colleges.

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