Government seeks to set up factories in TVET institutions

PS, State Department for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Dr Esther Thaara Muoria. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The government through the Ministry of Education has announced plans to establish factories in TVET institutions to leverage raw materials available in some institutions.

The move is expected to bolster the actualization of competence-based education which the country is still implementing.

The ministry said it is keen to form formidable partnerships to explore numerous opportunities for businesses as the growth of the TVET sector unfolds.

"The government is exploring the possibility of establishing factories in some of the colleges. In our view, this is a model that can be run profitably in the colleges and also provide industrial opportunities for both training and business," said Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu in a statement read on his behalf by Principal Secretary, State Department for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Dr Esther Thaara Muoria.

The plan was unveiled when the ministry outlined areas for partnership opportunities during a conference organized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce for Eastern Africa, which sought to showcase German companies and opportunities for partnerships with Kenya.

While explaining the long-term plans by the government, the Cabinet secretary said: "The plan is to achieve total industrial linkage where a symbiotic relationship between the industry and TVET institutions shall thrive; largely with the institutions providing solutions to industrial problems, leading in industrial research and innovations; all this in collaboration with the industry."

The ministry will also seek to achieve total ICT integration in TVET learning, achieve total integration of special needs in education and training in TVET, and support the TVET sector to attain world-class status, so that it can be in a position to provide "TVET Tourism" by attracting trainees from across the world and also grow into a benchmarking destination.

The government fronted partnerships in the provision of accommodation as a key opportunity. According to the ministry, efforts by the government to foster TVET education access across the country have borne fruits over the last 10 years, creating demand for accommodation facilities in rural areas.

"Some of these colleges are located in regions that are classified as marginalized and have not been able to attract enrollment as required. One of the reasons for this is the lack of accommodation facilities. This is an area for potential partnership, through an appropriate framework, such as Public Private Partnerships that leverage on the availability of land and student population in the institutions," said Mr Machogu.

TVET infrastructural development was also described as a major opportunity given the age of some institutions. This is in addition to the installation of modern-day equipment.

Other areas floated as partnership opportunities include the development of incubation and innovation centers, foreign direct investment for the establishment of new TVET institutions, and digitization.

The conference further highlighted opportunities presented by the adoption of the dual vocation training system. The system advocates practical on-the-job training, with 70 per cent practical training and 30 per cent theoretical training.

Dr Muoria said collaboration with the industry will align labour market and training needs.

She encouraged the German delegation to invest in the available business opportunities aligned with the dual training model that has seen huge success in "bridging the gap between academia and industry" in German.