Principals of technical training institutions have been promoted as the government embarks on a strategy to make middle-level education attractive.
It emerged that staffing and remuneration in these institutions is prioritised in broader plan to ensure they offer quality education.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said the government will form an agency to address arising matters.
Machogu was speaking at the Kenya School of TVET, Gigiri, where he also said the country has a shortage of 3,000 tutors in training institutions.
The meeting brought together principals from national polytechnics, institutes of technology, technical training institutes and technical and vocational colleges, senior technical staff and heads of departments.
During the meeting, Machogu announced that some 3,269 principals in technical training institution have been promoted to the next Job groups.
Out of this, 12 have been promoted to Chief Principals job Group S, 317 to Senior Principals in Job Group R and 1, 373 promoted to become principals in Group P. Another 1,027 principals have been upgraded to Job Group N, 231 moving from Job Group K to L as senior principals in vocation training colleges while 309 will serve as assistant principals in Job Group K. This was to solve the challenge that the institutions had raised saying majority of the colleges run without deputy principals, dean of studies.
Machogu said the government will imrpve the tutors’ terms of service as the economy improves.
‘’This is not the end of it. The president is committed to seeing that you have a better environment to deliver your services. We will have more time with you than before to ensure you are comfortable,’’ Machogu said.
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He said the government is in the process of employing 1,300 more tutors to mitigate the shortage.
‘‘We have a shortage of tutors and out of the 3,000 needed, the government in consultation with the PSC, will recruit 1,300 tutors,’’ he said.
Machogu also observed that the government will establish a data bank which will be used during recruitment and replacement of tutors who exit service due to retirement or natural attrition.
Machogu said that in the 2021 KCSE results, more than 3,000 learners who qualified to join universities opted to take courses at technical college.
The CS observed that the number of students seeking courses in technical colleges is rising hence the need to expand facilities. ‘‘The education of mind and skills is gaining momentum in many countries and we have to follow suit,’’ Machogu said.
The heads urged the government to prioritise capitation to the institutions to ensure operations are not grounded.
It also emerged that the current Sh12,000 per student per annum is not sufficient to keep learners in colleges. Principals want it raised to Sh30,000 per year. Machogu said the government is aware of the challenge institutions of higher learning face on capitation.
However, Machogu said Sh312 million will be provided to constituencies in order to put up technical institutions as part of the government big plan to have TVETs in every constituency.
‘‘The constituency must demonstrate to us that they are ready to host institutions by providing a piece of land and start up fund of Sh10 million from the CDF kitty,’’ Machogu said.
Machogu also advises institutions to embrace innovations saying they have equipment and machines which should be tailor-made.
The CS reiterated that the national Treasury is consulting with China to equip more institutions.
He, however, challenged the heads to be innovative and utilize available resources to upgrade their institutions rather than depend on government.
‘‘The utilisation level of existing equipment is only at 10 per cent leaving 90 per cent idle. We will only provide more facility after proving you are worthy to use them. You have to be creative to access more equipment,’’ he said.
He said some institutions have machines which they don’t use. ‘‘We have the ability and knowledge to save on costs of importing from other countries. You should start offering courses similar to those which are offered at the universities to compete with them,’’ Machogu said.
The tutors called for the establishment of an agency that will play a central role in the management of the institutions saying the transfer of TVET from TSC to the Public Service Commission has brought disquiet amongst them.
The heads are appealing to the government to appoint a governing council to oversee operations in the middle level colleges, saying it’s taking too long in making decisions under the current setup.
Machogu urged the technical colleges to develop courses that will make their learners compete globally. He noted this will enable our learners to be absorbed in local and international industries. ‘‘More than 3,000 last year KCSE cohort who qualified for university opted to take courses at TVET. We need to allow our learners to acquire the necessary competency that will enable them to be marketable internationally,” he said.