Third Eye

TVETs strive to close job gaps with record intake

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 10:41 | By

Stakeholders in the education sector are upbeat about the increasing number of student enrolling for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in colleges.

 They attribute this increase to the government’s heavy investments in technical institutions, which are playing a big role in bridging the skills gap in the market. 

“The rebranding of TVETs since 2013 has seen a tremendous increase in enrolments as students, together with their parents, seek alternatives,” says Kenya Coast National Polytechnic  principal Ann Mbogo . 

She says the institution targets to enroll over 4,000 new students, the highest ever seen, seeking technical courses at the coast college by September this year.

“The ones we have now are the walk-in students, and we are accommodating them, but the next intake in September, there will be over 4,000 new enrolments, this is an indication that many youth are seeing the need to join technical colleges, “said Mbogo.

She said the market absorption rate for TVET learners is an indication that the labour market requirements are pegged on having practical skills. Students seeking to study plumbing, electrical engineering, masonry and mechanical engineering have flooded these institutions in search for skills.

Mbogo says the shift of many students to technical courses has been attributed to job market opportunities. She said the institution has continued to experience an influx of youth joining them seeking to take up technical courses in line with the job market.

Job market opportunities

At the National Training Industrial Authority (NITA) Mombasa,the institution  will  absorb over 2,000 students who failed to get university qualification grades in KCSE .

NITA centre’s Manager Mary Wamoko said the institution has enough admission slots to enroll students, including those who scored Grade E in the 2021 KCSE national exams.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of exam supervision at the NITA Mombasa centre, Wamoko said a  paradigm shift in the mind set of the youth towards TVETs is becoming more and more apparent. “Those that have finished Standard Eight and Form Four should feel welcomed, the institution has a lot of slots for them, because all the courses trained here produce professional and skilled labourers who can work anywhere in this country,” said Wamoko.

In the 2021 KCSE,18,000  more candidates scored a mean grade of E compared with the previous year. A total of 46,151 candidates scored a mean grade of E, the lowest grade possible. Of these, 26,578 were males and 19,573 females. 

This means that a huge chunk of the Form Four leavers will end up in technical colleges.

“NITA has a special place in the education of our youth, because we focus on competency based training, learning and assessment is key in ensuring that the graduates we churn out have attained over 60 per cent pass, so its competitive,” she added.

The move comes at a time when the demand for expertise in refrigeration, electrical, plumping, masonry, among other technical jobs is so high that the country cannot provide the required supply. “We employ 25 trainers per trade and this helps the teacher student ratio to ensure quality education. When we open we expect to admit more than 2,000 in every NITA institution countrywide,” she added.

The official says the major challenge has been sourcing industrial attachment slots as many firms have been adamant in accommodating some of the NITA students in their establishments. She is now calling for an intervention from private firms.

Moderate growth

The two technical head’s sentiments that there is an increase in TVETs admissions have been backed by a mid term evaluation report carried out in TVET colleges across the East African Community (EAC) member states supported by the World Bank under its East African Skills for Transformation Project (EASTRIP).

The report indicates the numbers rose from 6,971 students at baseline to 30,776 students at midterm.

The report  was undertaken to review the project performance at 16 Regional Flagship TVET Institutes (RFTIs), said a press statement released at the Inter University Council of East Africa.

The latest positive revelation comes against the background of a sustained campaign by stakeholders in the EAC for member states to seize TIVET as a strategy so as to spur full realisation of the fruits of the sector.

Speaking during the East African Community (EAC)-African Union (AU) Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Dialogue Forum, representatives from all the partners States also placed on the EAC Secretariat to facilitate the establishment of a regional body to coordinate TVET in the EAC.

The Director General of TVET Authority (TVETA), the host regulator Dr Kipkirui Langat observed that the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) treaty calls for the removal of obstacles to the free movement of persons, the right of establishment, and the right of residence.

He said TVET sub-sector in Kenya has experienced moderate growth over the last 40 years, the sub-sector is yet to produce adequate and skilled middle level human resource required to meet the demands for national development. “The ratio of engineers, technologists, technicians and artisans required for Vision 2030 should be at 1:3:12:60. At the moment we have an estimated gap of about 30,000 engineers/technologists, 90,000 technicians and 400,000 artisans,“ he said.

EASTRIP is a five-year project funded by the World Bank and Ethiopia,  Kenya and  Tanzania to increase access and improve quality of TVET programmes offered by the selected Regional Flagship TVET Institutes and to support regional integration.

The project seeks to increase enrolment of female students in technology and engineering fields, which has been low.

TVET Director, in the Ministry of Education in Kenya, Tom Mulati,  said that the development of harmonised regional TVET Qualifications Framework and Occupational Standards was an area that the Ministry was keen on to promote quality skills development  and employment. “Harmonised qualifications Framework is the direction that the world is taking. As a region, we cannot afford to be left out,” said Mulati.

The EASTRIP Project supports 16 technical and vocational institutes from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to become regional flagship institutes in key growth sectors of the economy.

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