Technical and Vocational Education Training is viewed as a tool for productivity enhancement and poverty reduction in Kenya; an important factor in the country’s economic development. TVETs equip students with practical skills and knowledge that will help them be a productive workforce.
For beginners, TVET is education and training which provides knowledge and skills for employment. It uses formal, non-formal and informal learning. TVET is recognized to be a crucial vehicle for social equity, inclusion and sustainable development.
In Kenya, the government has developed a TVET legal framework that recognizes TVET as a powerful catalyst to address youth unemployment in the country.
However, there has been a mentality that TVETs are a one-stop center for academic failures since most of the students who do not get direct admissions to universities opt for TVETs as the last resort.
The youth demographic thinks that going to TVET leads to blue-collar jobs as compared to joining universities which lead to white-collar jobs. Truth is, both university and TVET students have equal prospects of success.
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Since 2016, the number of students joining universities has been slashed a great deal compared to previous years after the Education Ministry’s crackdown on exam irregularities. The ministry has managed to streamline the examination process through strict administration and management of KCSE examination.
This has left a large population of secondary school leavers who still qualify for tertiary and technical training. Since then, TVETs have been gaining traction among the youth but still, not enough has been done to sensitize the youths that TVETs are viable options.
Over time, the government has been canalizing TVETs with funds to enable them develop and provide quality sustainable education. Even HELB loans are being provided to TVET students.
In fact, SMEs are partnering with these institutions and providing facilities for training. Last year, the government supplied over 134 TVET institutions with state-of-the-art training facilities worth sh. 160 billion.
It is time to change the norm that technical institutions are for those who fail their exams and embrace it as a bridge to their future careers. TVET’s are not a one-stop center for academic failures.
There is an urgent need to demystify this myth that TVET is for the failures and for those who didn’t qualify for admission to varsities. It’s time to embrace the role of tertiary and technical training in national development.
The youth must adopt technical training to realize the Big Four agenda. The public’s misconceived mindset towards the program should be cleared off.
Contributor: Babu Eliazar