"Haiya! You mean you joined the Polytechnique, they
would ask sarcastically".
This is the world I grew in, where youth who opted, for many
reasons, to join the Polytechnique would face. Nature was not on their side.
They were labeled together with their parents as failures and people with poor
academic capabilities who will never make it in life.
perception has always been a big challenge affecting the now rebranded TVET
sector. It has prevented many young people from developing a positive interest
in joining TVET and getting a job in the same sector. But this narrative has
changed, or it is changing if the numbers that the Education CS George Magoha
gave us is something to go by. TVET is now one of the most lucrative education
curricula for one to go through.
This, of course, has been due to the many interventions that
the government has put in place from re-branding to funding. It has now gained
popularity, and it is viewed as a tool for productivity enhancement and poverty
reduction in Kenya.
In particular, TVET is listed as the main enabler of the
president's Kenyatta big four Agenda: Food security, affordable housing,
universal healthcare, and manufacturing. In that regard, the government of
Kenya has invested heavily in the TVET sector and has already put in place
measures to address issues of access, equity, transition rates, relevance,
quality, and efficiency in the management of the TVET sector.
However, there is so much to be done to continually address
the problems of perception and attitude that are still embedded in Kenyans'
DNA. The government can just play a certain role, but what about us. What
should we do?
The youth as the catalyst
Kenya is a very youthful country with a median age of 19 years,
and so their perception and participation in all facets of the economy are
quite essential. Such a young population provides the country with an
opportunity for social change.
Initiatives such as organizing grassroots groups, carrying
out awareness campaigns, mobilizations, etc. have always yielded positive
outcomes as far as bringing change is concerned. This is what the TVET sector
needs, and it needs the people who will benefit the most, its youth.
The youth must stop taking a back seat and be at the
forefront in promoting TVET as a key ingredient for economic transformation and
Are the youth ready to be the catalyst? Only time will