Kirinyaga County Government has modernized youth polytechnics in readiness for massive enrollment expected as demand for vocational training in the County increases.
The modernization exercise includes construction of new classrooms and dormitories, refurbishment of existing structures, installation of modern furniture and equipment as well as purchase of adequate training and learning materials for polytechnics. Capacity building for trainers is also part of the process.
“As polytechnics open for a new term and year, the County aims to capture many students who sat for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams last year as well as those who could have earlier dropped out of formal schooling and wish to acquire technical skills,” said Kirinyaga Governor, Ann Waiguru
Speaking in her office in Kutus on Monday, Waiguru said that her government has in the past two years carried out massive infrastructural development in polytechnics across the County to enhance the quality of education offered there.
She said that the County Government has built and equipped 13 new classrooms in various polytechnics and constructed dormitories in Nyangati, Kibingoti, Mutitu and Mucii- Wa-Urata Polytechnics.
“Results by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) for last year’s KCSE exams indicate that 65 percent of candidates scored a mean grade of D+ (Plus) and below,” she said
She said even though their grades may lock them out of courses offered at the institutions of higher learning, such students have an opportunity to pursue courses of their choice in technical and vocational training institutions.
Kirinyaga County has 15 youth polytechnics with a current enrollment of 1,311 students out of whom 840 are male and 471 are female. The enrollment has steadily risen from 1,000 students in 2,017 in the current registration.
The Kaitheri Youth Polytechnic in Kerugoya Town has the highest enrollment with 360 trainees.
The Governor said that her government is committed to offering sustained quality and inclusive training that will produce appropriate skilled artisans and craftsmen and encouraged parents and guardians to enroll their children in the polytechnics.
Waiguru said polytechnics impart marketable skills and technical know-how that will enable graduates to fit into contemporary labor markets, especially in the informal sector and also prepare them for self-employment.
Some of the courses offered in the various polytechnics include motor vehicle mechanics, electrical installation, masonry, garment making, hairdressing and beauty, carpentry and joinery, metal work and fabrication. Computers and ICT short courses are also offered at the polytechnics.
Graduates of youth polytechnics can be employed in the hospitality sector, the fast growing hair and beauty industry, furniture making industry, construction industry, clothes and textile industry as well as interior designing industry among others.
To join the polytechnics for National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) qualifications you need not have done any national exam but for one to enroll for Artisan KNEC qualifications one must be a holder of at least KCPE certificate.
Most of those enrolled are form for leavers though others who dropped out of school at primary or secondary level are also enrolled.
Waiguru said every student who enrolls in the vocational institutions receives Sh.15, 000 grant per year from the National Government while the County Government also assists needy students with bursaries.
By Irungu Mwangi