COUN­CIL RE­FORMS TECH­NI­CAL IN­STI­TUTES TO CLOSE SKILLS GAP

The CDACC is tak­ing mea­sures to im­prove qual­ity and rel­e­vance of train­ing pro­grammes in TVET in­sti­tu­tions

The Star (Kenya) - - Big Read - BY JOSEPH NDUNDA @MuthuiN­dunda

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.

CUR­RIC­ULA CHANGES

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.’

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