Senior educationists from Kenya Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutes have bagged two global awards.
Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology (RVIST) was feted by the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP).
Mr Sammy Chemoiwo, the Principal at RVIST received a gold medal award under the leadership and inclusivity category at the awards ceremony held in Montreal, Canada.
His immediate predecessor Dr Daniel Mutai received a silver medal in the lifetime achievement category at the sixth edition of the WFCP.
RVIST got gold medal in the Sustainable Development Goals category followed by Zimbabwe’s Harare National Polytechnic and Australia’s Technical and Further Education institute which got silver and bronze awards respectively.
Nairobi Technical Training Institute bagged a bronze medal under Applied Research and Innovation Award while the Kenya School of TVET received a similar medal under Teacher Professional Development category.
Speaking to journalists after getting back into the country, Mr Chemoiwo attributed the recognition to the college’s efforts in imparting skills and knowledge to students on climate change mitigation, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.
“We have been focusing on 13 Sustainable Development Goals. We are running programs in and outside RVIST on clean environment, food nutrition and security, climate change and youth empowerment among others,” said Chemoiwo.
He explained that the college established over four decades ago was training students from marginalized communities to identify seeds and trees they can plant in their regions.
“We facilitate the students’ access to these seedlings which they take back to their homes. Our goal is that they actively contribute to transforming their own areas,” said Chemoiwo.
On sustainable energy, the college has partnered with Geothermal Development Company and Triple X among others to leverage on value addition from renewable energy.
“Our staff and students are working on innovations such as solar irrigation and other climate smart agricultural practices to aid in addressing effects of climate change,” he said.
Chemoiwo underscored the need for public and private institutions to partner with community based organizations towards stepping up efforts to address negative effects of climate change.
“As learning and research institutions, we have a duty to lead our communities and promote awareness on climate change mitigation strategies. Our world today is at great risk,” he said.
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On his part, Dr Mutai emphasized on the significance of TVET institutions to the current global job market saying that the recognition is on the positive impact they make.
“These awards tell the world that Kenya has great TVETs which are churning out the right human resources for the global trends in technological shift,” said Mutai.
He added that there was need for continued collaboration and competition among TVET institutes from across the world to foster creativity innovations especially among the youth.
“TVETs are today centers of excellence for what they are bringing to the world. They give our youth who are faced by the ever evolving challenges with an opportunity to use their talents for public good,” said Mutai.
Last year, Mutai received a bronze award from WFCP under the Leadership and Inclusivity category at a ceremony held in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain.
Mutai who served at four national polytechnics during his 34 years in the teaching profession, ten of them as a principal, has vowed to use this award to impact the society.