‘Unschooled’ Jua Kali hands to be certified by the State

Chief Administrative Secretary for Education Zacharia Kinuthia.
The government will certify Jua-Kali artisans who did not undergo formal education, a State official has disclosed.

Speaking in Kisumu yesterday, Chief Administrative Secretary for Education Zacharia Kinuthia said already, the government has developed an assessment programme to harmonise the grading system.

The programme dubbed Recognition of Prior learning (RPL) has been developed with the assistance of Kenya National Qualification Authority.

Mr Kinuthia said the State was keenly moving away from “too much theory-oriented curriculum to practical skills.’’

‘’For decades, there has been an obsession with degrees yet some of the critical sectors that help run the economy have been overlooked,’’ said Kinuthia.

Kinuthia said the State was keen on implementing Technical and Vocational Training Institutions (Tvets), which will be key in unlocking youth potential.

He observed that every day, many Kenyans wake up at dawn to toil in such trades as  mechanics, carpentry and welding. 

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He said these are the blue collar jobs that are driving the economy.

‘’We have already come up with a manual for grading Juakali artisans. We will also set up assessment centres across the 47 counties in the country,’’ Kinuthia revealed.

The assessment centres will help to identify the level of skills acquired by artisans who have been verified by the Tvet department.

‘’It is after the assessment that we will award them with various certificates,’’ said Kinuthia.

The CAS was confident that in the next 10 to 20 years, the narrative of joblessness will be over.

‘’No one should think that the government will forget about him if he fails to proceed beyond class eight or Form Four. Everyone will be engaged constructively,’’ said Kinuthia.

He said everyone has potential if supported in the right manner.

He cautioned against deriding Kenyans who did not go through formal education, saying they too have talents that they can offer society.

He asserted that that was the reason the government is keen to certify Jua kali artisans.

Export labour

The CAS stressed Kenya is keen to export surplus labour and rely less on imported Chinese products that can be manufactured locally.

 “The Chinese government has made innovation a top priority in its economic plans, through a number of high-profile initiatives, such as ‘Made in China 2025’. This is what we should endeavour to do,” Kinuthia said.

Outgoing Tvet Principal Secretary Kevit Desai said Progressive economies are focusing on producing local goods.

‘’Today, countries are producing their own goods for domestic consumption,’’ Dr Desai said

He added that Kenya and Ghana had embarked on an aggressive policy of promoting the consumption of locally produced goods. 

Kenya has been on the forefront promoting “Brand Kenya” products.

“Buying local products supports job creation especially for women and youth who are involved in the production process.

Desai said the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives has developed a policy that will promote local industry through procurement of locally-made products.

This is meant to fend-off pressure on the Kenyan currency and the trade imbalance caused by the increase in demand for imports – some of which can be produced locally.

Supporting SMEs

“Buying local products means that Kenyans are supporting local businesses to grow especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which accounts for 45 per cent of our GDP and employ up to 80 per cent of the work force,” he said

“By looking for markets abroad, it is SMEs which more often than not, suffer from persistent influx of imports,” he added.

Desai disclosed the State has increased the allocation meant to fund local enterprises from Sh2.5 billion to Sh5.2 billion, and set a side Sh4 billion for loans to be disbursed to Tvet trainees through the Higher Education Loans Board.

“Our ultimate goal is to equip all Tvet institutions both new and existing ones with modern state equipment to ensure relevant and quality training,’’ said Desai.

According to recent estimates by the World Bank, more than 10 million young Africans, often poorly skilled, leave the school system every year in search of jobs.

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Jua-Kali artisansZacharia KinuthiaRecognition of Prior learning