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KNEC boss Magoha calls for freeze on conversion of technical colleges into universities

By Dalton Nyabundi | Published Sat, March 3rd 2018 at 13:16, Updated March 3rd 2018 at 13:21 GMT +3
KNEC Chairman George Magoha speaking during eighth graduation of the Kisumu National Polytechnic on Friday.(Collins Oduor, Standard)

Profiled scholar and top educationist Prof George Magoha now wants the Government to freeze the conversion of technical colleges into universities as a measure of “generating skills necessary to support the economy.”

The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) Chairman warned that the continued conversion of technical and vocational training institutes into university colleges was robbing the country of a much needed manpower as the country gears towards Vision 2030.

The former University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor said the craze for degrees was driven by “commercial greed” and risked plunging the country into deeper unemployment crisis “because the economy requires technicians more than white collar professionals.”

“I have said before that it was wrong of the Government to allow the conversion of major technical institutions in the country into universities because it robbed us of technicians who play a pivotal role in the economy.

“It is absolute nonsense to think everybody should be a graduate and if we are not careful the craze for degrees is going to destroy this county. Some of those who clamour for the papers cannot even defend them in an interview,” he remarked.

Speaking during the eighth graduation of the Kisumu National Polytechnic, Prof Magoha said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order freezing the establishment of new universities should extend to their constituent colleges to give focus on strengthening existing institutions as well as providing more technical and vocational training.

Some technical colleges that have been turned into universities include the Kenya Polytechnic (now Technical University of Kenya) and Mombasa Polytechnic (now Technical University of Mombasa).

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Other institutions that have joined the league of conversion are Mosoriot Teachers College that will be a campus of Koitalel Samoei University College and the Kenya Science Teachers College, now a campus of University of Nairobi among others.

Magoha challenged the TVET institutions to instill in the learners multiple skills to improve their competence and employability.

“The essence of TVET training is to put theory into practice but we should see more of the application also emanating from the institutions. I am yet to see a group of students from a given field come together to ask for a loan to commercialize a venture. These people should also be trained to create employment,” he challenged.

The educationist poured scorn of the education system, saying results from the last national primary and secondary education exit examinations proved that the system was conveying people only trained to pass exams.

Director of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), Dr Meshack Opwora, said they were working on ensuring each of the 290 constituencies gets a technical college.

"We shall equip them with state of the art equipment to help in trainings, practical and production works," Dr Opwora said.

He also said the plans were afoot to ensure all unemployed youth are absorbed and trained so that they become productive.

"We have already advertised for this and the deadline for absorption is March 28. We want to equip them with necessary skills to be able to earn a living," he added.

During the graduation ceremony, 2,124 graduands were conferred with Diplomas and Certificates.

TUK Chief Principal, Joyce Nyanjom, said the 8th graduation ceremony had the highest number of graduands.

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