COUNCIL REFORMS TECHNICAL INSTITUTES TO CLOSE SKILLS GAP
The CDACC is taking measures to improve quality and relevance of training programmes in TVET institutions
Kenya’s economic growth is partly hindered by a shortage of adequately skilled workforce. This has prompted the government to shift focus to Technical, Vocational Education and Training to build a competent and sustainable human resources capital.
The government has started reforming the TVET sector to close the gaping skills gap. It is developing the human resource bank required to drive economic growth through a Competency-Based Education Training approach.
The TVET reforms started with the establishment of a Curriculum Development, Assessment and Certification Council in 2014. It started operations in January this year with the aim of improving quality and relevance of training programmes in TVET institutions.
Lack of standard curriculum and assessment bodies, which has led to institutions issuing internal certificate without quality of training, has been identified as the major problem in the TVET sector.
CDACC has taken over assessment and certification roles previously undertaken by the Kenya National Examination Council and institutions’ examination boards.
The council has also been tasked with curricula development and regulatory roles to foster competency and competency-based education and training approaches.
The regulatory agency has been mandated with working with stakeholders across ministries and departments offering training and to regulate training that fall below degree level.
The CDACC was formed to craft measures for competency assessment in TVET training sector and offer flexible pathways for TVET graduates.
CDACC takes over examinations roles previously undertaken by the Kenya National Examination Council and the institutions’ examination boards. For the very first time, it will develop a common curriculum for TVET centres.
Through the council, the state is developing a syllabus that outlines competency-based TVET programmes that address the needs of the industry.
CDACC is tasked with designing and developing curricula for the training institutions’ examination, assessment and competence certification.
The council CEO Lawrence Guantana M’uitonga said TVETs will offer education that equips learners with required skills, as opposed to academic qualifications devoid of competency.
M’uitonga said the TVET training will be demand-driven and the graduates can proceed to universities for degrees. PRIORITY ON COMEPETENCE The CEO said Kenya’s education system is pegged on a certification system. It relies on completion of courses and passing examinations rather than demonstration of competency achieved during training. He said certification in TVETs will be based on demonstration of competence.
“Previously, one was given a certificate after passing exams rather than demonstrating their competencies,” M’uitonga said. He said the council will be testing candidates on right knowledge, skills and attitude.
The CDACC is working with expert workers selected by the Sector Skills Advisory Committee and accredited curriculum developers.
The SSAC has done an occupational analysis to identify duties, tasks, tools, equipment, materials and supplies needed to carry out an occupational analysis that will guide curriculum development. The team is also preparing a training-needs assessment.
M’uitonga said willingness of the industry to participate in competen- cy-based curriculum development will help the government bridge the skills gap.
The industry will be involved in external assessment and verification. The assessment tools will be validated by the SSAC.
“Programmes are not time-bound. If you are able to demonstrate skills, knowledge and attitude required for a given competency. If you are able to demonstrate skills, knowledge and attitude required for given competency, you are assessed and certified,” M’uitonga said.
“It is industry-led training. The tools of assessment will be validated by the industry which will be involved in external assessment and verification of the students.”
M’uitonga oil and gas exploration has brought a demand for new competencies in the region, and the CDACC has developed three training programmes for the Kenya Pipeline Corporation. It has also developed a curriculum for training of private security guards.
BUILDING MORE TVETS Uneven distribution of the TVETs around the country has also been identified as a major challenge. The government has built about 70 TVET institutions and 87 more are under construction to meet the increased demand for mid-level manpower training programmes.
Elevation of TVET institutions to university colleges, and eventually fully fledged universities had been cited as a major cause of the problem. TVET Authority senior assistant director Fredrick Mujumba said 18 of the colleges had been converted to universities.
But he said the government is building another 130 technical training institutions. Building and equipping about 70 of them has been concluded and they are expected to admit in January.
The rest are expected to receive the training equipment including modern plant machines by March next year to admit students in July. China is providing training equipment to the TVETs institutions.
Training opportunities in the public TVETs have increased by 40,963 due to increase in the number of institutions but many students despise them.
Mujumba said there are 11 national polytechnics with a 28,001 student capacity. They include Kabete, Kisumu, Eldoret, Meru, Nyeri, Kitale, Kisii national polytechnics.
Others are North Eastern Province Technical Training Institute in Garissa, which was upgraded to a national polytechnic in February; Kenya Coast, Kenya Technical Teachers College and Sigalagala National polytechnics.
The government’s ultimate goal is to establish one national polytechnic in each of the 47 counties, a Technical College in every constituency and a Vocational Training Centre in every ward.
Currently, technical colleges have a student capacity of 36,499, while
‘TVETS WILL EQUIP LEARNERS WITH REQUIRED SKILLS. THE TRAINING WILL BE DEMANDDRIVEN AND THE GRADUATES CAN PROCEED TO UNIVERSITIES FOR DEGREES.’