Ministry of Education partnered with Equity Group Foundation ” Wings to Fly Programme” for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
Investing in vocational training of youth key to national progress
The Ministry of Education partnered with Equity Group Foundation last week to launch the Wings to Fly Programme for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) placement.
We did this because we recognise the role of TVET in achieving our national development goals.
Without heavily investing in TVET, Kenya will not attain the grand development goals that it has set itself in policy documents such as Vision 2030.
This is because most of the flagship projects under the pillars of the vision require more human resource with adequate skills and competencies than we currently have.
The Northern Corridor Integrated Project, the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) project, the standard gauge railway, the airport and highways expansion projects, and the geothermal and wind energy projects, which are at different levels of development, will all require a large number of skilled workers.
Starting all these infrastructural initiatives without providing for how they shall be manned and maintained is a recipe for white elephants, whose presence will not have any positive impact on Kenyans.
Hence, the government has, through my ministry, rolled out urgent intervention to ensure that we train and produce skilled and competent Kenyans in large numbers to meet the labour demands of the infrastructural developments that are currently growing.
Indeed, a World Bank supported study shows that East Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Malaysia all achieved their industrialisation because they invested heavily in vocational training, attaining a 50 per cent enrolment compared to other disciplines.
Kenya can achieve the same levels of development as these countries have if we draw significant lessons about how they moved. So far, we have begun.
We have 60 new technical and vocational colleges constructed since the Jubilee government came to power only four years ago, while 70 more are at different levels of completion.
It is noteworthy that of the 60 colleges that are compete, 10 have smart classes and all are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment while offering internationally competitive qualifications.
The government is committed to constructing more TVET colleges until there is one in every constituency, as spelt out in the Jubilee manifesto.
What is left now is to broaden the uptake of such TVET courses among youth.
This entails three key steps. First, we need to reorient our national outlook to TVET and appreciate its value without undue prejudice against it.
As I said during the official launch of the TVET Wings to Fly programme, “A key challenge that we must move away from is the idea that TVET education is less prestigious, and of lower value than university qualifications.
“This notion is wrong and there is a need for change of mindset among all Kenyans and especially youth.
“The TVET ought to be a destination of choice for those who wish to acquire the skills required to move the country to the next level of economic development.
“As a matter of fact, evidence suggests that TVET education is of equal value and in some cases even more valuable than a traditional university degree.”
Only after we embrace the idea that not all of our youth should end up at the university will we appreciate the diverse opportunities that TVET offers in terms of employability.
Second, we need to establish synergy between universities and TVET institutions to ensure that the latter can always attract trained, qualified and experienced tutors.
This is needed to change the negative attitude towards TVET opportunities.
The synergy should also help to scrap duplication of courses taught at the various levels, and among the many TVET institutions.
Third, we need more public-private partnership initiatives, to increase funding opportunities for students who may be willing to study but are unable to pay for TVET.
More of these initiatives will also increase the profile of TVET, raise greater awareness of their presence and their courses, and help to negate the impact of the dominant perceptions of TVET as only suitable to youth who neither qualified for direct university entry nor can afford self-sponsored programmes.
Dr Matiang’i is the Education Cabinet Secretary
Source; Daily Nation