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TVET tutors ordered back to class to acquire new skills in line with emerging trends in the industry

EDUCATION
By Augustine Oduor | April 26th 2021

TVET PS Margaret Mwakima told the Senate Education Committee that the full rollout of CBET is at the centre of ongoing reforms in the Kenyan TVET sector. [File, Standard]

All tutors working in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges will have to be retrained so that they can effectively teach their students. 

This re-skilling is part of fresh reforms sweeping across the technical institutions. The reforms also entail fresh training and internship programmes lined up to enhance quality education in the institutions.

It has also emerged that some trainers in middle-level colleges are not well-grounded in their areas of expertise with glaring gaps in industry linkages, and this affects imparting of skills to students.

Details reveal that some tutors trained in universities that did not have the equipment presently in the Technical Training Institutions (TTIs), hence need to re-skill them.

The skills gap was identified when most TTIs acquired new equipment that were not being utilised by the trainers. 

Further, these discrepancies were noted during the transition to Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) that revealed most of the tutors were not well-prepared to adapt to the new realities.

CBET is a mode of training that places emphasis on the acquisition of competence.

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TVET PS Margaret Mwakima told the Senate Education Committee that the full rollout of CBET is at the centre of ongoing reforms in the Kenyan TVET sector.

She, however, said the implementation and uptake of CBET programmes have been hindered by the low capacity of trainers and the slow development of specific standards.

“The curricula have been approved for building the capacity of trainers to effectively train the CBET programmes and this is expected to catalyze uptake of the programmes,” said Mwakima.

She told MPs that there is a need for increased funding to build the capacity of staff, recruit more staff and develop the required standards.

Education experts cite poor industry linkages, weak internship programmes for the tutors and inadequate facilities in some of the training institutions.

As part of the sector reforms, the government is now rolling out professional refresher training programmes for all college trainers to improve their mastery.

Tom Mulati, director TVET at the State Department of Vocational and Technical Training said the Kenya Technical Trainers College (KTTC) has been directed to conduct refresher training for the tutors.

This is the institution mandated to train tutors for all technical training institutions.

“We shall have pre-service training, in-service training and also continuing professional development which shall be done every so often to keep up with industry changes,” said Mulati.

He said tutors will be required to undertake the continuing professional development every two years to match the technological changes and adopt to the reforms in the industry.

“Further, we shall have internships for the trainers where they will be required to work in the industry for about two to three months before they return to teach students with updated knowledge of their specific areas,” said Mulati.

The frequency of internships has not yet been decided as ways for linkages to industry are worked out.

Overall, the refresher trainings are aimed at re-skilling the trainers under the new CBET curriculum as a pathway of preparing trainees in TVET institutions for the labour market and to also expand their entrepreneurial space.

KTTC will majorly focus on building the capacities of TVET tutors and non-teaching staff in the institutions.

Aspects to be covered will also include human resource, financial management and governance.

There will also be short courses for National Polytechnics Council members and Boards of Management for TVET institutions.

Edwin Tarno, the principal of KTTC said the institution has put in place necessary measures to roll out the massive capacity building programme that will target all TVET trainers across the country.

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At the same time, TVET Authority (TVETA), which is the industry regulator, said the government’s priority and focus is to create a workforce that meets industry requirements and youth entrepreneurs who shall contribute to the economy and create more jobs.

“We realised that some students who go for internships come back more knowledgeable than the tutors hence need to re-skill the trainers,” said Kipkirui Langat, TVET Authority Director-General.

He said technological advancements have also made it necessary to retool the trainers and to equip them for the effective delivery of quality education.

Langat said the trainers must be exposed to and trained to utilise emerging technologies, industry trends in the classroom through systematic and continuing professional development.

“Trainers need to adopt personalised teaching strategies and inclusive programmes that respond to unique trainee needs, including those with disabilities, and a variety of employment tracks, including the option of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Langat.

Part of the reforms includes re-skilling of some of the trainers who joined the sector some recently.

The first group of tutors to undergo training started classes on February 4 at the KTTC.

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