The government has spent a whooping Sh 55.4 billion in equipping and revamping Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutes (TVET) across the country since taking power in 2013.
State Department for TVETs PS Dr. Margaret Mwakima, while highlighting the nine-year progress by the government in improving the higher education sector said that the government is still investing more resources in modernizing and expanding technical and vocational institutions throughout the country to ensure that the training offered by TVETs aligns with the demands of the job market.
Speaking at the Nyeri National Polytechnic during the third graduation ceremony Monday, the PS also said that TVETs have become critical in achieving rapid economic growth, social and technological improvements as the country strives to realize Vision 2030.
“The government has so far spent Sh 10.6 billion in increasing the number of TVET institutions from 52 in 2013 to 238 in 2022. About 192 of them are operational while 46 are nearing completion,” she said.
Dr. Mwakima noted that the enrolment of trainees in TVETs had shot up from 55,945 in 2013 to 249,316 in 2022 attributing the increase to the Sh 10.3 billion capitation to TVETs in the form of government grants and Sh 11.1 billion education loans from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to TVET trainees.
The PS also added that the Vocational Training Council receives a conditional grant of Sh 2 billion every financial year for their smooth operation.
“In order to meet the human resource needs that require greater technical skills that match the dynamic industry, the government is investing a lot in the TVETs, from issuing of government grants, supporting the trainees with HELB loans to cater for the training as well as equipping the institutions with state of the art equipment,” she said.
At the same time, the PS revealed plans by the government to address the current shortage of tutors by recruiting an additional 3,000 trainers in different institutions. She also said that her department was holding discussions with the Public Service Commission in a bid to push the retirement age of TVET tutors and principals to 65 years instead of 60 years of age as required by law.
“You may probably think that we will disadvantage the youths by increasing the retirement age, but when such a skill is acquired especially in this skill based field, it is made sharper with experience and time. It’s my hope that the Public Service Commission will support us in this since again we have not employed new staff for some time now,” said Dr. Mwakima.
The PS has also disclosed that discussions are ongoing at the Office of the Attorney General to elevate 9 TVET institutions to National Polytechnics. This she said will increase the number of National Polytechnics from the current 13 to 22 nationally.
The PS lauded the graduates urging them to seize every opportunity to offer the best services to mankind, in order to transform the livelihoods of the people.
“To the graduates, today marks an important milestone in the development of your career. You have been trained and equipped to go out and serve society. Your contribution in meeting the needs of the society will be determined by your ability to innovatively create solutions that lead to economic growth,” she stated.
On her part, the Nyeri National Polytechnic Chief Principal Anne Mwangi, attributed the tremendous growth in infrastructure and trainee population in the institution to the timely provision of government capitation and the elevation of the institution to a National Polytechnic status.
Mwangi also acknowledged the contribution of the positive perception by society towards TVETs saying that the institutions had witnessed increased enrollment of trainees who were now opting for technical courses and forfeiting admission in universities. The institution’s population currently stands at 7,345 trainees.
“We have witnessed tremendous growth in this institution, in terms of infrastructure and the number of trainees, thanks to the government that has been in full support of our operations. The society has also embraced the TVET courses which have greatly contributed to our growth in terms of trainee population,” Mwangi said.
She added: “To the graduates, I urge you to continue with your quest of knowledge and skills and discover your own unique way to contribute to this society.”
The Nyeri National Polytechnic held its third graduation on Monday after postponing it for two years due to the Covid-19 restrictions. A total of 2,853 graduands were conferred with higher diplomas, diplomas and certificates in different crafts and artisan courses.
By Kiama Wamutitu and Ann Ngure