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TVETs set to receive internet connectivity

State Department for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in partnership with Google and the ICT Ministry is set to provide last mile internet connectivity to technical institutions in the country at a cost of Sh 1 billion.

Speaking during the closure of a three-day Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) Council meeting in Naivasha,  State Department for Vocational and Technical Training Principal Secretary Dr Margaret  Mwakima, said the Department has already mapped out TVET institutions that are set to benefit from the project, that would facilitate smooth learning process.

Dr Mwakima said the adoption of internet learning across the institutions, had been hastened, after Covid-19 pandemic disrupted in-person learning process.

The PS noted that some of the TVETs institutions were able to embrace Open, Distance and E-learning (ODEL), with Eldoret National Polytechnic leading, in providing the learning model to 41 other learning institutions in the country.

The PS added that with improved internet infrastructure in the technical institutions, the trainees will be exposed to cutting-edge technical technology used in other countries and which they will employ locally.

She also lauded trainees from different TVET institutions, who took advantage of the challenges brought forward by Covid-19 pandemic, to be innovative and provide solutions to emerging gaps in the various fields.

Consequently, the PS noted that the government in collaboration with the World Bank, has also mapped out national polytechnics that will be transformed into centers of excellence.

She singled out Kisumu National Polytechnic, that will be a centre of excellence in textile technology, Meru National Polytechnic to major in Mechatronics engineering, while The Kenya Coast National Polytechnic will train on matters blue economy and seafarers.

In order to make TVET education more accessible and achieve equity, the PS said the government is committed towards establishing at least one TVET institution in each Constituency, as well as increasing the number of national polytechnics, from the current 12 to 47 to cover each county.

The PS said the government  is committed to improving the infrastructural facilities in TVETS Institutions, noting that the number of institutions have increased from 50,000 to the current 238,000 spread across the country and have been equipped with State-of-the-Art training equipment.

Dr Mwakima added that as a result of the increased number of learning institutions, overall enrollment have greatly increased to 600,000 students, down from a paltry 60,000 in 2013.

She said the increase has been achieved through the government support, where every eligible trainee in TVET institutions is eligible for up to Sh. 30,000 per year, adding that the students can also access extra support through the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).

Dr Mwakima, said the State Department, is strategising on how to engage the graduate trainees, to provide a smooth transition into gainful ventures, by having start-ups that will generate more job opportunities for the youths.

By Erastus Gichohi and Calvin Osiemo 

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