Machakos County Commissioner, John Ondengo has called on all education stakeholders to sensitize the residents on the benefits of joining Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions (TVETs).
Speaking during a County Development Implementation Coordination Committee held at his boardroom, Ondego noted that the uptake of the colleges is still low owing to general stereotyping of the institutions.
He noted that there is misinformation and apathy among the publics on joining such institutions given that most students and parents think that they are meant only for failures and school dropouts
“TVETs play a very crucial role in a country’s industrialization and are meant for middle cadre students, particularly those who have scored mean of Grade C and below, and not necessarily for failures,” said Ondego.
“Departmental heads ought to ensure that the uptake of TVET colleges is high, given that the industrial pillar is anchored on Vision 2030 and is among the President’s ‘Big Four Agendas,” he added.
The CC lauded the Machakos Technical School for the Blind, located in the heart of Machakos town for its good work in equipping its students with the hands-on skills experience they needed, particularly in shoe making.
Mr Ondego, however, noted that some of the challenges facing the institutions comprise stalled projects, particularly uncompleted blocks, where he urged the public works to kick-start the completion of all the stalled projects.
He, therefore, called on all the TVET heads to be accountable and see to it that all the government projects being undertaken in the institutions are completed within the stipulated time and that there is value for the money invested.
The CC further assured continued support of the institutions by ensuring that there is a secure learning environment.
On his part, Machakos Assistant Director of Education, Mr Simon Mutemi, said that the Ministry of Education is committed to supporting TVETS in a concerted effort to ensure that they fully realize their mandate.
He urged TVET heads to fully utilize the ministry’s digital program which is available in most schools and is accessible to most students to ensure that the students are well informed and sensitized on vocational colleges so that they can make the right career choices.
He further urged them to liaise with high school principals to ensure that students are well educated on the requirements for qualifying for various TVET courses and any other relevant information like college fees and the study durations for each course.
Machakos County has three operational technical colleges, which are operated by the National Government namely the Machakos Technical Institute of the Blind, Katine Technical Training Institute and the Masinga Technical Training College.
The National Government is also in the process of developing two more institutions, which will be located in Machakos town and Yatta Sub-counties.
Vocational Training centers (or youth Polytechnics) are owned by the county governments and offer mainly artisan and craft certificate courses.
Among the 33 vocational training centres in Machakos County, comprise the Athi river Vocational Training Center, Ekalakala Vocational Training Center, Katangi Vocational Centres among others centers located within its 9 sub counties
Last month, Principal Secretary Ministry of Education, Margaret Mwakima while visiting Machakos Institute for the blind noted that over 600,000 students who attained grades of C and below for KCSE, will be joining the TVETs across the country.
She said that they are reforming TVET and are ready to enroll and admit all those who have grade C and below to various colleges.
Dr. Mwakima said they are appraising the kind of facilities, equipment and programs that are provided for the special needs children and how it will help in developing their skills to contribute in the social economic development in the country.
She noted that the Ministry understands the kind of challenges and issues the institutions are having, to provide competent training to give trainers to be able to contribute to the industrialization and manufacturing sector and GDP growth in the country.
Earlier in June, Dr. Mwakima spoke in Eldoret at a Research Conference where she said that technical colleges have recorded a 400 per cent increase in enrollment since 2013 due to increased government support and expansion of facilities in all the institutions in the country.
The PS added that financing through HELB and Sh30,000 allocated by the government to support each student, has contributed to rising enrollment while development partners have also played a role in equipping technical colleges to enhance training capacity.
Since it came into being in 2013 through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority Act, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) has approved 278 courses that are competency-based.
Among the courses being offered in the country’s TVETs include Certificate in Disaster Management, Certificate in Social Work, Certificate in Community Development, Diploma in Computer Engineering, Certificate in Computer Engineering, Certificate in Food Preparation and Culinary Arts and Diploma in Human Resource Management among others.
The main aim of TVETs is to deliver a competitive workforce meant to be relevant in the Kenyan market. There are about 153 approved TVET centers in the country.
By Rachael Kilonzo