Vocational institutions to start offering more practical exams
The government is seeking to change the assessment model for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions.
TVET Principal Secretary Esther Muoria says the sub-sector is a powerhouse for economic, industrial and technological advancement, where learners acquire skills, knowledge and attitude needed in the world of work and necessary for employment in one’s chosen career path.
She said envisaged TVET institutions and industry linkage will enhance learning outcome and practical skills acquisition among trainees for national development.
Already, she said, the sub-sector is holding conversations with critical players as Kenya Association of Technical Training Institutions (KATTI) to deliberate on the assessment questions for TVETs.
Students have over the years been examined by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC).
“I have had serious conversation with KATTI and all I have told them is that we are going to have to skill our youth, not just give them education anymore that we are trusting KNEC to assess, no… we love KNEC, but we need to have serious assessment blocs for our trainees to ensure they are exiting as skilled people and I am urging the industry to support us,” Dr Muoria said.
Similarly, she says the government is working to ensure national polytechnics become qualification-awarding institutions.
This will enhance the TVET space in the sense that the government will be admitting, training, assessing, qualifying and certifying trainees on the same level.
The national polytechnic, she explains, will become the centres, which will know who should be assessed to be trained for which industry.
She said the government is also tasking national polytechnics from all regions to be able to speak to the industry and discuss with them which areas of training can leveraged on.
That way, the PS explains, national polytechnics will have trainees in their areas taken through what has already been discussed with industry and subsequently ensure the examiners are more practical.
“Having national polytechnics as qualification awarding institutions will ensure that we are assessing our trainees as they should be assessed practically, not theoretically as we have been doing before to a large extent,” Muoria stated.
The PS made the remarks as she insisted that the Government will enhance funding of the TVET institutions, because it is of pragmatic interest it takes care of this area as much as possible.
“The Government is doing everything possible to ensure that as much as it is practically possible, TVETs are well funded. However, we are also encouraging our institutions to enhance their Appropriation in Aid (AinA) and to think ‘without the box’ on how they can upscale their income as institutions,” she said.
She said TVET institutions have the means and potential to independently make their own money if they put to good use the machinery and land they have since there are also very knowledgeable people in the institutions who can come up with ways for this venture.
“As much as we are hoping that the Government can give funds to enhance our institutions, we also want to encourage ourselves to do the best we can to be able to enhance our own AinA,” she said.
The PS said right now, students can access funding from Higher Education Loans Board and other areas of funding since the Government may not be able to fund everybody.
Muoria, however, says that they are encouraging trainees to as much as possible think ‘outside or without the box’ to be able to find funding to be able to go to school.
“We would want to fund as many trainees as we practically can, but it may not be possible to fund everyone, because it is also limited, so we encourage them to even speak with development partners and see to what extent they can come up with funding for themselves,” she offered.
“In fact, a time may come when we might even ask parents to suggest how they can help us take these students to school. We are not saying that all the students who go to TVETs are from poor families. We know some of them are even opting for TVET institutions and not to universities,” she adds.
At the same time, the PS has challenged TVET institutions to not only wait for Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) to admit students.
She urged TVET principals to establish a system where they can be admitting students as they wait for KUCCPS.
“In the universities, we have been having module II where they have been admitting their students then KUCCPS comes in to place students in August. We can adopt that kind of model where we can have students at different times who are going to fit in industry,” she explained.
This way, anytime the industry is ready to take in trainees, there will always be a team to deploy.
“We would want to move a step further as we wait for KUCCPS to admit, we are also encouraging students to apply and we can speak to the industry and place them,” Muoria said in conclusion.