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Government boosts technical training education once again

Barry Silah @obel_barry

The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) is calling on the Kenyan youth to join the national polytechnics and other Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvets) institutions to acquire skills in demand in the labour market.

Kuccps Chief Executive Officer, Dr John Muraguri, says in the coming five years, the government will be focusing on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda, which are manufacturing for job creation, affordable housing, universal healthcare and agriculture for food security.

“Kenya aspires to be an industrialised country by the year 2030 as laid out in the Vision 2030. These national plans present a great opportunity for employment of our young people who have the required skills,” Dr Muraguri says.

Already, Kuucps has advertised intakes for September for the various national polytechnics, technical training institutes and vocational training institutes including fees breakdowns. With the radical implementation policies to make Tvets more vibrant and sellable, at least funding of Sh30 billion has been made available through the State Department of Vocational and Technical Training under the ministry of Education.

“The government has also introduced a fee subsidy programme for applicants that are qualified for diploma courses, craft certificate and artisan certificate courses,” Dr Muraguri said in a statement last week. The online application portal is open for those who have not yet been admitted to apply before August 15, 2018.

The minimum requirements are mean Grade of E and above for artisan certificate courses; mean grade D and above for craft certificate courses; and mean Grade of C – and above for diploma courses. Market demands now point to the Tvet-driven courses being viable, thus the government’s emphasis on this front.

The State and its partners are now concentrating on reducing the 40 per cent youth unemployment bracket through such initiatives that could spur the economy. There are also some proposed intervention measures, which include a proposal to grow enrolment levels from the current 182,980 to 3.2 million capacities in Tvet institutions.

A proposal to build the capacity of the entire Tvet governance systems as well as establishing an effective quality assurance system has also been floated and is under review.

The government is also motivated in establishing support linkages and sustainable partnerships with private sector to help in quality advancing with particular target on craftsmanship.

Some of the institutions created so far include Tvet Authority (Tveta) and Curriculum Development Assessment and Certification Council (CDACC), Kenya National Qualification Framework Authority and Tvet Fund.

Principal Secretary in the Tvet Department in the Education ministry, Aveet Desai said recently that there are plans to establish production units or learning factories in all Tvet institutions to ensure that all departments are used optimally in skills training and productivity especially in sectors around construction.

Establishing an incentive scheme targeting investors in Tvet to help stimulate local manufacturing and coordinate skills training are currently underway. State subsidy However the major factor which is bound to see numbers grow in the Tvets are the considerably reduced rates across the learning institutions.

A directive from the Ministry the Kuccps selection committee will see students charged not more than Sh56,420 annually, with government paying Sh30,000 of the amount per student directly to the respective colleges. The balance of Sh26,420 may be raised by applying for a loan from the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb).

A student must, however,apply for placement to a Tvet institution through Kuccps to benefit from the government fee subsidy. This bursary system is likely to drive renewed opportunities in Tvets as more students stand to benefit from timely intervention by the State.

The reforms proposed, however, face some challenges that experts warn could derail the mission by government. PS Desai, however, is optimistic. “Inadequate access and equity, low capacity for delivery, low quality and relevance of skills are issues that exist, but overall, there is confidence on our part that these can be addressed.

This project will yield positive results in the long term. Perhaps if we recognise prior learning for Tvets in the private sector to instil confidence, it would add value,” he said in a past function.

Kuccps is a semi-autonomous government agency mandated to coordinate the placement of government-sponsored students to universities and colleges.

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