Universities and colleges struggling financially due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have been advised to convert their institutions into Technical and Vocational Training Centres (Tvets).
Education Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Zack Kinuthia said running Tvets receive financial support from the government and running them is cheaper compared to colleges.
Speaking at Mount Kenya University in Thika during the installation of the institution’s second Vice chancellor (VC) Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi yesterday, Kinuthia said the country’s future depends on skilled labour, offered by Tvets and that it was advisable to invest more in that sector.
He said several colleges have collapsed during the coronavirus pandemic period and called on their proprietors to partner with universities that have strong financial base, to have their institutions converted into Tvets.
He at the same time asked universities to consider converting some of their campuses into Tvets to make their students employable.
“If you have campuses that you want to shut down, just open Tvets. They will help our youth get skills needed in the job market. They will improve the country’s innovativeness to come up with solutions to local challenges, ” he said.
The CAS also said the government plans to open Tvets in all the 290 constituencies to provide technical skills to the grassroots youth.
He said the level of skills mismatch in the country contributed heavily to the high unemployment rates, adding that they were not keen in sanctioning for the opening of new colleges and universities.
“Most of our universities and colleges produce unemployable graduates. That is why we are focusing more on Tvet education where graduates can work in the juakali sector or come up with innovations that can help address local challenges,” said Kinuthia.
MKU Founder and Board Chair Prof. Simon Gicharu said the institution, through its Equip Africa Institute, is providing technical and vocational training throughout the country.
The University has opened a number of Tvets in Kitale among other places contributing heavily in enabling students get the necessary skills required in the job market.
He said the institution will remain steadfast in providing relevant and marketable courses through linkages adding that the awards that it has received for their innovations and relevant academic programmes was a clear testimony.
Thika MP Patrick Wainaina who also attended the event welcomed the government support for Tvet education, saying it was key to producing skilled youth, able to take the country’s industrialization and housing agenda into the next level.
He however called on the government to protect these skills by fast-tracking the passage of the Safeguards Bill that prohibits importation of products that can be produced locally, into law.”
“Most Tvet skills absorbed in the Jua kali sector and if we continue importing products that are produced by this sector, we will make such skills irrelevant. We need to support Tvets by empowering the Jua kali sector,” said Wainaina.
Prof. Jaganyi who was a Deputy VC at South Africa’s Kwa Zulu-Natal University took over from Prof Stanley Waudo after a 13 years stint as the university’s VC.
by Muoki Charles