At least 16 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia are meeting in Mombasa to discuss ongoing implementation of a Sh35 billion World Bank funded East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP).
The regional TVET Centers of Excellence including four from Tanzania, seven from Ethiopia and five from Kenya were selected to implement EASTRIP transport and infrastructure, power and energy, manufacturing and ICT related flagship projects.
Ministry of Education Director of Technical Education Tom Mulati said the middle level colleges from the three East Africa countries have converged to discuss core challenges facing the project among other Covid-19 issues.
“We are here to assess the challenges and see how we can move forward in the implementation of this noble project together with our partners from the World Bank,” said Mulati during a press briefing on the sideline of the four day conference at PrideInn Paradise Hotel Mombasa Hotel, Shanzu.
He said the EASTRIP project is geared towards equipping young people in the East African countries with technical and vocational training skills that would enable them freely move across the borders to secure employment.
“This project is targeting to improve skills development among the youth so that they can move from one country to the other for purposes of training and employment in the area of construction, transport, blue economy and textile. It is competency based education and training,” he added.
Among the TVET institution selected to implement the World Bank funded project in Kenya include Coast National Polytechnic selected to implemented marine related a flagship project.
The institution’s Chief Principal Anne Mbogo said plans were underway to establish a Sh900 million regional maritime Centre of Excellence in Kwale County.
She said her institution has been tasked to mentor the proposed Centre of Excellence that would offer blue economic related technical and vocation training courses to young people.
“The construction of the regional flagship project which will offer courses in the area of marine, transport and port logistics will be constructed in Waa in Kwale County. We are in the process of identifying a suitable contractor through the World Bank. We are also awarding tender for the procurement of training equipment,” she added.
She said Sh500 million have been earmarked for the construction of the Centre while another Sh400 million has been budgeted for the procurement of training equipment at the proposed regional maritime Center of Excellence that is targeted to train over 500 trainees on completion.
Other Kenya TVET institutes implementing the Sh6.8 billion World Bank funded East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP) include Meru National Polytechnic (building infrastructure project), Kenya Institute of Building and Highway Technology (Highway Infrastructure), Kengen Geothermal Institute (Geothermal project) and Kisumu National Polytechnic (Textile project).
Similar projects were also being implemented in Ethiopia and Tanzania where the World Bank has allocated Sh29 billion with an aim of increasing access and improving the quality of technical vocational education training programs among the youths in the three countries.
By the end of the six-year investment period, the 16 TVET institutes in the three countries are expected to double their capacity and collectively enroll 20,000 students on an annual basis in both long-term and short term training programs in the targeted disciplines.
The project is also expected to directly benefit close to 60,000 students with 30 percent of the enrollment being female students.
At least 310 staff will also benefit from industrial attachment programmes and 230 staff will benefit from foreign exchange programmes at the end of the project.
Employers in the targeted industries will also benefit from an expanded and more qualified pool of skilled labour.
The regional initiatives financed by the project, including an annual regional skills competition as well as incubation of a regional TVET council will help promote TVET in the region.
By Galgalo Bocha