Gov’t certifying skills acquired through experiential learning

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Kenya is developing a Policy, complete with quality assurance and standards to inform the certification and qualifications of Kenyans who have attained skills through experiential learning.

The Principal Secretary (PS), State Department for Vocational and Technical Training, Dr. Margaret Mwakima, said the government through the Policy, will also certify those who will have attained skills passed through indigenous knowledge.

Speaking during the 3rd Graduation ceremony of Sigalagala National Polytechnic in Kakamega, Dr. Mwakima noted that the government has recognized a number of youths and members of the society with skills, acquired through non-formal education, who are stuck for lack of accreditation that will enable them seek opportunities in the country and beyond.

“We are already finalizing capacity building of the practitioners, after which we shall roll- out the program albeit on a pilot basis, to be able to give recognition to those amongst us who have acquired skills through the non-formal way,” she noted.

She said the move is part of the government’s efforts to change the narrative, where many people still perceive Technical Vocation and Education Training (TVET), as un-attractive and meant for learners who failed in the national exams to secure slots in Universities and Colleges.

“The Government is determined to change this narrative through TVET Branding, through making TVET a pathway for education and promoting lifelong learning, to enable the youth of this country realize their aspirations as far as their academic ladder is concerned,” she explained.

Adding: “It is the Ministry’s desire to have all our youths that are not in any other learning institutions to join TVET for a course because what we believe in TVET is ‘come get a skill and leave no one behind.”

The PS noted that skills in the technical subsector will help in the realization of the Kenya Vision 2030, Sustainable Development Goals, the ‘Big 4’ Agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063.

“You can realize the impact that TVET is going to have in providing skills for the Kenyan labor market and beyond,” she pointed out.

As a result of this, the government has increased the establishment of more TVET centers from 55,000 centers in 2013 to the current 238, 000 institutions offering courses in the entire country.

To support skills training further, the government has developed centers of excellence in various TVET centers to develop skills in particular areas.

So far, the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic has been developed as a centre of excellence in Seafarers and blue economy, the Meru National Polytechnic developed as a centre of excellence in Building technology and Kisumu National Polytechnic has been developed as a centre of excellence in textile technology.

Other institutions developed are the Thika Technical Training Institute for Auto body building and mechanical centre of excellence, the Kiambu institute of Science and Technology and the Nairobi Technical Training Institute.

“We are committed to coming up with more of our TVET institutions becoming centres of excellence, where we can invest in them,” she noted.

She also said that the State Department for Vocational and Technical Training, is finalizing the TVET Blueprint, TVET Financing Policy in addition to the recent launch of TVET Advocacy and Communication Strategy.

On the Finance Policy, PS Mwakima noted that Sigalagala National Polytechnic was already implementing it and will give hope to other institutions.

The PS said the government has committed enough resources for infrastructure development, equipping institutions and capacity building of trainers to improve access, relevance, quality and equity of the TVET Programs.

“The Government has so far invested Sh20 billion on infrastructure development in TVETs since 2013 in recognition that technical skills and innovations are critical to the future of Kenya,” she pointed out.

In addition to infrastructure development, the PS noted that the State Department recruited more than 3,000 trainers through the Public Service Commission (PSC), to support the roll-out of Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) Curriculum and established new Technical Vocational Centres (TVCs), at a cost of Sh2billion.

“The Public Service Commission has also approved the recruitment of 3,000 trainers,” she added.

The PS urged the more than 3,575 graduates from the Sigalagala National Polytechnic to continue upgrading and acquiring more skills up to the higher levels of PhD to inform policy and strategy

She said TVET is an alternative pathway to education created and made possible through the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA).

By Moses Wekesa

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