Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) in Bondo sub county in Siaya is set to be the first chartered university in Kenya to start teaching artisan courses.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Steven Angong’ said that since the foundation of the University, they have been having a dream of establishing a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) department within the University.
Angon’ said this decision was reached as a result of the institution wanting to give chances to the students who may be interested in getting trained to acquire artisan skills.
He said that this step will also assist in reducing unemployment rate within the county since there are limited white-color jobs. “The goal of the education is to positively change the society economically, TVET is the only option to make this happen,” said Angong’.
He noted that Kenya has a limited number of people who have artisan skills while the demand grows each day hence there’s a need for the government to increase TVET institutions.
The don noted that due to the limited number of skilled artisans in Siaya, they saw it necessary to boost their number in order to create employment for the youth, adding that the County now has no reason to import artisan services from other counties.
He reminded people to change their mentality of seeing TVET students as academic failures and even gave an example of one of their students who invented a means of harnessing electricity from human waste.
So far, JOOUST is offering training for plumbers, masons, carpenters, constructors and electricians.
Kenya Water Institute and Kenya Power Lighting Company are some of the founders of TVET learning since 1970. They have benefitted from the government program of certifying their TVET trainees in the program dubbed ‘recognition of prior learning’.
“This country has introduced a policy on prior learning where people gain experience after seeing what their fellow members are doing and it has ordered TVET institutions to track people in the jua kali sector who did not attend TVET institution but have these skills to be certified,” said Angong’.
“The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) has placed over 300 TVET learners in this institution who are undergoing training and private sponsored students are also accommodated in the university,” he said.
TVET Director in JOOUST, Erick Okute said that they have 26 programmes and they are requesting the TVET authority to raise it 30. So far, they have a capacity for 26 programs.
He added that although the students are undertaking artisan courses, they have a sense of belonging to a university.
“We know that the future is even brighter due to the kind of support being displayed by the government,” said Okute.
Okute asked the government to capacitate TVET learners and also consider them for funds from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to help in payment of school fees.
He however noted that despite lack of school fees, the number of people showing up for the courses is increasing per year in the institution.
The university has seen students moving from Bachelor’s degree to diploma arguing that
the diploma is more skill based and marketable and not theoretical as the degree.
Maurice Nyandawa from the Engineering Department has encouraged female students to enroll for TVET courses and not to leave the opportunity to the males only.
“Some of the secondary school students have also been paying a visit to the university and this has helped to create awareness among the students who may have been interested to learn artisan courses but were ignorant of their existence,” Nyadawa said.
By Mourice Onyango and Calvin Otieno