Inaccessibility due to poor road network, lack of hostels and delays in the disbursement of capitation are some of the challenges facing tertiary institutions.
Tertiary education experts say acute shortage of trainers could also affect the rollout of labour-market responsive training next year.
“One of the major challenges we are facing is the shortage of trainers,” said Vocational and Technical Training Principal Secretary Dr Kevit Desai during the third International Research Conference, organised by the Kenya Association of Technical Training Institutions (KATTI) in Mombasa.
Desai said the government had placed the institutions under a new tighter regulatory regime to boost the quality of learning and increase access to post-school education.
He called on the TVET institutes to diversify their source of funding in order to help them finance their key projects.
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The government has said it will give tax rebates to companies that take interns in a bid to drive up linkages between technical institutions and the private sector. Desai said currently there are 209 TVET centres and the government targets to build 290 centres in each constituency.
Since 2013, the government has been running a series of TVET reforms to drive up the growth of TVET institutions and achieve enrollment target of 3.1 million over the next five years.
According to the Technical, Vocational Education Director Dr Meshack Opwora, over 200,000 trainees are expected to join TVET institutions in January next year.
The government’s emphasis on TVET is aimed to develop relevant skills required to power its Agenda 4 and development plans.
The principals and tertiary training experts said skills impacted at the TVET institutions should be those required in the job market to accelerate economic growth.
“Programmes designed to specifically suit the industry would end the retraining of staff by the companies,” said Maren Omondi of Shamberere Technical Training Institute, Kakamega.
She said past researches have shown that there is a “very low correlation between the current TVET courses and the industry needs”.
“The industry represents business and employment systems and jobs profiles are continuously changing and their influences need to be always felt when skills have to be updated,” Omondi said.
Principals called for talks between the industries and TVET institutions before the rollout of the competency-based training so that the institutions can understand the demands of the job market.
Mutua Nduku, the Principal of Machakos Technical Institute for the Blind, said high enrollment was also due to sustained campaign against stigma attached to the institutions.
She said in the past, Kenyans had not clearly understood the role of TVETs and held that such institutions were for failures.
“We are even witnessing an increase in the number of grownups enrolling,” said Nduku, adding that most of the institutions were now fully equipped and ready for the rollout of competency-based training.
Desai said tertiary institutions enrolment numbers are currently at 65 per cent.
He said a series of reforms have been instituted to drive the growth of TVET institutions to hit an enrolment target of 3.1 million over the next five years.
Last week, the government disbursed Sh2.6 billion to TVET institutions to finance the training.
Under this arrangement, the National Treasury provides a capitation of Sh30,000 per trainee per annum, while the Higher Education Loans Board will supplement training costs to a maximum of Sh40, 000 per trainee
In the 2018/19 budget, TVET was allocated Sh16 billion, accounting for three per cent of the total budget for the Education Ministry.