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TVETs crucial to the realisation of Uhuru’s signature projects

By Zack Kìnùthia | September 5th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

The strength of a country’s economy is determined by two factors; the skills of her workforce as well as the productivity that comes out of it. The larger the number of skilled people in a country the more the production. Therefore, skilling is a vital tool that contributes to the rapid production of goods and services that are a springboard to prosperity.

One of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s agenda and vision is to ensure every Kenyan, whether learned, semi-learned or not learned, is empowered and capacitated to be productive.

For a long time the development of a nation has been pegged on the amount of natural resources available within its landmass. However, converting these resources to usefulness requires skilling and innovation. Thus, to achieve this, it is imperative that governments create an enabling environment by, among other things, putting in place elaborate infrastructures that favour productivity.

The understanding that sustainable economic growth and general development depends on productivity explains why in the last six years, President Kenyatta’s government has continued to invest heavily in revamping our country’s infrastructures, including the education.

As a way of overhauling the education sector, the Government is implementing policies aimed at transforming learning from the ‘theory laden’ to practical based, in a move meant to equip learners with skill-sets that foster production.

For this reason, the government has since 2013 continued to devote immense investments into scientific research, skilling of the workforce as well as prioritising teaching of mathematics, science and technology in our schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities.

In addition, the Government is implementing the competency-based curriculum (CBC) in basic education, which not only gives children latitude to focus on their areas of interest, for example arts or sports, but also develops in them specific competencies necessary for production.

Besides, there is a ground breaking Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) that is envisioned to address the job-skill gap and marshall skilled workforce in order to increase productivity in the country.

Likewise there is a special government training programme that administers short-term courses designed to equip a learner with specific skills that allow income generation even as they pursue higher accreditation to PhD.

There is no doubt TVET education is integral to the realisation of Vision 2030 and its derivative economic blueprint, the Big Four agenda. It is for this reason that the Government not only continues to implement a subsidised mandatory basic education policy but is also extends it to TVET and university education.

Through TVET institutions, the Government is aggressively implementing a special technical training policy that targets to equip at least five million willing Kenyans with select hands-on skills such as mechanic, electrical engineering, welding, masonry, carpentry, tailoring, hospitality, entertainment and beauticians courses by 2022.

The graduates of TVET are the skilled workforce that President Kenyatta is banking on to realise the Big Four agenda projects, which he wants to achieve as part of his legacy.

The seriousness accorded to the TVET sector is demonstrated by the government’s commitment to put up a technical training institute (TTI) in each constituency. So far the president has facilitated the construction of 187 TTIs, and his administration is racing towards hitting the target of 290 TTIs.

To supplement TTIs, the Government has additionally constructed more than 1,100 vocational training centres (VTCs) in all the 47 counties.

The TTIs and VTCs are not only supposed to be institutions for learning but also centres of innovation and creativity. This explains why every village across the country can now become an economic hub or a source of a product exportable to other villages, counties and even across Africa.

With people at the village furnished with relevant skills, productivity in agriculture, manufacturing, textile and entrepreneurship promises to go up.

TVET institutions can for example be transformed into mini-processing factories for commodities such as milk, cotton, tea, meat, sunflower, wheat as well as fruits.

If the vision of transforming TTIs and VTCs into small factories of commodities and economic opportunity zones is realised then there is no doubt that President Kenyatta’s signature projects under the Big Four agenda would be achieved much earlier.

- The writer is Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Education  


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