Over 1,200 engineering technologists and technicians have been registered since the Kenya Engineering Technology Registration Board (KETRB) was formed. To make this process successful, the Board has called upon all engineering technologists, technicians and artisans to register with the organisation for licensing and recognition as professionals in the various categories they are qualified in.
“We are the only organisation mandated by the Government and the law to register and license engineering technologists and technicians. We have partnered with various TVET institutions offering engineering technology programmes courses to ensure that their students get registered,” explained Professor George Thumbi, the board's chairperson.
KETRB the acronym for the ‘Kenya Engineering Technology Registration Board’ is established under the Engineering Technology Act No 23 of 2016 Part II Section 3. The board’s core mandates are to set standards for engineering technologists and technicians, and, register and issue licenses to qualified persons as per the provision of the Act.
The Board is also mandated to verify that engineering technology professional services and works are undertaken by persons registered under the Act as well as ensure that standards and professional ethics for health and safety of the public are observed.
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For instance Professor Thumbi explains that Standardisation and Certification of Jua kali artisans will go a long way in professionalising the engineering and construction sector in the country.
“The quest to recognise and certify artisans, who have learned on the job within the Jua kali sector is a welcome move. This means we can be able to track down professional misconduct and quacks within the sector and weed them out, certified artisans will also be able to earn well from their jobs,” affirms Thumbi.
In seeking to clarify KETRB’s mandate and that of the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK), Thumbi says that “the mandate of each is different, just to clarify, an engineer should be the designer, while the technologist should be the implementer who interprets the engineer's designs. KETRB mandate is more on engineering technologists, technicians and artisans”
As Competence Based Education and Training (CBET) implementation across TVET institutions takes shape, Thumbi says there is need to ensure it is well supported with the necessary funding and other requirements.
“While CBET is the best thing for this sector, it’s very expensive, its implementation should be taken cautiously and experimentally before a full rollout is effected.”
KETRB has also partnered with like-minded organisations and those with parallel mandates including NITA, KATTI, TVETA, TVET CDACC, KNQA among others to ensure success for the country’s skill acquisition agenda and drive the big 4 agenda.
He says KETRB, in the execution of its mandate within welcomes new members to register with the body and help drive its agenda.
Over the years, the country has been faced with disasters involving collapsing of building, but this could be have been avoided if the right professionals were allowed to execute such jobs.
According to KETRB’s Board secretary Alice Mutai, “with the proper certification of all technologists and technicians registered and certified by the board, the country could easily rid itself of quacks who are sometimes hired in constructions sites to cut costs, and standardisation for payment through classifications of work demands and skill demands can be achieved,” Alice says.
However, the board is faced with biting challenges that are hindering the implementation of its mandate, chief among them enough funding.
“We are under government but we have not yet been able to get funds to run the affairs and mandates of the board. We are running by what the members contribute, this makes dispensing our mandates like taking disciplinary measures under the provisions of The Act, Issue licenses to qualified persons under the provisions of the Act, Enter and Inspect sites where Construction, Installation, Erection, Alteration, Renovation, Maintenance, Processing or Manufacturing works among others difficult,” Thumbi said.
Besides, the board is still making baby steps towards recognition among qualified members who have not yet registered.
“Kenya was left behind by other countries in subscribing to international technologists accords, The Washington accord is purely for the engineers, the Sydney is for technologists while the Dublin accord is for the technicians, as a consequence, some employees don’t differentiate the various cadres. By registering with KETRB, the roles are cut out per our licensing,” explains Alice.