The government has opened negotiations with New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU) Commission to establish a blue economy center of excellence at Kisumu National Polytechnic.
State Department for Vocational Technical Training (VTT) Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Margaret Mwakima said the negotiations which are at an advanced stage will see the polytechnic establish a state of the art center to offer skills and training in maritime and blue economy.
The development anchored on the national government’s policy statement on blue economy which envisions heightened integrative regional and international trade through proper utilization of water bodies will bridge the skills’ gap in the sector and at the same time create job opportunities for graduates.
This comes at a time when the government has invested heavily in the revival of Kisumu Port and the shipyard to reopen maritime trade in Lake Victoria.
“We want to see how best we can develop skills to be used around Lake Victoria to ensure that our youths are engaged and contribute meaningfully to the economic development of the country,” she said.
Among the skills to be developed, she said, include boats and ship building, repair and maintenance of vessels, aquaculture and fish farming.
Speaking in Kisumu on Thursday during the opening of Technical Vocational Training and Education Authority (TVETA) Western Regional offices, Dr. Mwakima said the center will boost the capacity of the polytechnic to offer world class training in marine and blue economy.
The government, she added, has invested heavily in upgrading and installing state of the art equipment at TVET institutions across the country to enable them play a critical role in developing skills necessary to drive the economy.
Implementation of Competency Based Education and Training (CBET), she said, has strained resources at the institutions adding that the government was doing everything possible to address staffing needs to ensure that the quality and standards of training is maintained.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has given the ministry a greenlight to recruit 3, 000 trainers who shall be distributed across the country to bridge the gaps, she disclosed.
Whereas the sector has grown tremendously, the PS decried the mushrooming of unregistered TVET institutions and called on TVETA to crack the whip so that the quality of training is not watered down.
She asked proprietors of unregistered TVET institutions to make use of the regional offices opened by TVETA to get registered.
“It is not the intention of the government to close down these institutions but we want them to know that they have to comply with the regulations in order to continue operating,” she said.
“As TVETA operationalizes this regional office we look forward to greater complements between the two levels of government. I am sure the county governments will be happy to receive independent quality assurance reports from this office and make interventions for continual improvement,” she added.
By Chris Mahandara and Bernice Amuge