In his Daily Nation column this week, former Teachers’ Service Commission Secretary Benjamin Sogomo picked out three individuals for praise. This was for their role in the elevation of technical training institutes (TTIs).
“It is difficult to identify and celebrate individual achievers running the system due to its bureaucratic nature, but easier to do so within the institutions. I will draw three examples of top achievers from the technical training institutes (TTIs),” Sogomo wrote.
He went on to name them as Dr Edwin Tarno, the principal of Rift Valley Technical Training Institute who, in his 10 years in charge, has overseen enrolment shoot up “by 583 per cent from 1,200 to 7,000 students and the pass rate 54 to 86 per cent.”
The second Mr Evans Bosire.
“When he was appointed the principal of Keroka TTI 13 years ago, Mr Bosire found only three students; the staff were more than students. This year, he has 3,400 students and the number of courses offered increased from one to 98,” Sogomo wrote.
CAUGHT MY EYE
The third was Mr Sammy Chemoiwa who in May 2018, “found 339 students and 27 staff at Bureti TTI; by March, he had 2,485 students (a 733 per cent rise) and 115 staff. He has linked up with DTC Netherlands in dairy technology.”
What caught my eye was Bosire’s accolades, especially how he has interwoven sports with education to produce all-rounded students and lift the institution’s profile.
“Mr Bosire accepted to head an institute of only three students and utilised sports as a magnet. It provided him a place to stand on. The rest is history,” Sogomo wrote.
The institute in question is located about two kilometres from Keroka town in Kisii County and has emerged to be a powerhouse in sports and academics nationally.
Started as a resource centre in 1991 by members of the local community, Keroka Technical Training Institute (KTTI), that occupies about seven acres, has shot to the global map for producing top sportsmen and women.
Some of the top athlete alumni are the former world and Olympic 10,000 metres silver medalist Paul Tanui, national 400m champion Mary Moraa and former national junior 200m champion Maureen Thomas.
The 5,000m East African School Games champion Dolphine Omare also joined the institution in 2018 after high school and later landed a scholarship to Japan.
The centre has also produced top football players who have featured for various clubs in the country, especially those in the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) top leagues, among them the Ambani brothers Fred and Ambani. Fred is an assistant coach at Kenya Premier League side, Wazito FC.
KTTI started rising both in sports and academics in 2006 following the arrival of Bosire as principal.
Because of his love for sports, Bosire, who is also the Athletics Kenya Public Relation Officer, started his teaching career at Sengera High School in Kisii County in 1991 where he was made the school’s head of sports.
In the same year, he guided teams from the school to claim various titles at the regional level, before he left a year later and joined Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology (RVIST) to teach electrical engineering.
“I played football in primary school but I never took it seriously since my father was strict in academics. However, I knew given an opportunity I could do very good in sports,” he told Nation Sport in an interview on Thursday
“Immediately I arrived at RVIST, I was made the head of the sports department and I was tasked to ensure the institution was represented during regional and national games,” he recalled.
Through engaging the institution’s administration and students on key issues in matters sports, the centre became a giant in various disciplines.
Asked the reason behind his success, he said: “I usually believe through God everything is possible.”
John Onsati, the Kenya National Examinations Council chairman, told Nation Sport that he joined RVIST and found sports was the main activity under the guidance of Bosire.
“I Joined RVIST in 1990s and found Bosire there, he was in charge of sports. It was the key activity since he was coordinating sports in an excellent manner.
ONLY ONE PROGRAMME
“The institution won various titles under his guidance and this is when I realized that he was a team leader,” he said.
“In 2004, I was asked to recommend somebody to head a centre in Kisii and I never had any hesitation in recommending him. I thank God the relevant authorities believed in me and considered him.”
In 2006, Bosire moved to KTTI but there was nothing to celebrate at his new centre which had only three students and 11 trainers.
“There was only one programme — secretarial studies — when I took over in the year 2016 with only three students,” Bosire recalls.
From a humble one block building, he has assisted the institution to make tremendous progress in its internal infrastructural development that has facilitated the rapid increase in student enrolment.
Student enrolment has increased from three in 2006 to over 3,400 in the current year.
The institute currently operates nine TVET (technical and Vocational Education and Training) based academic departments offering over 98 courses at diplomas, certificate and artisan levels.
“We still have the capacity to mentor other upcoming institutions when given a chance. I thank the government through the Ministry Education for the confidence they have always had in me” he said. KTTI has made tremendous achievements in co-curriculum activities at the local, regional and international levels.
In a cabinet inside the KTTI’s principal office are more than 50 shinning trophies that have been won by various teams.
In men’s football, the institute has been crowned champions three times at national level competitions and runner’s up on several occasions.
At the regional level, they have been champions since 2011.
Many of these football players have made football their career and are now playing for KPL teams among them Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards.
Among them is Isaac Kipyegon of AFC Leopards and Nicholas Kipkirui who features for Gor Mahia.
In athletics, the centre has retained athletics championships over several years in both men and women.
KTTI operates two satellite academies, Keberesi and Eluni, where young athletes are trained before they are offered scholarships at the centre.
Former senior assistant director for TVET, Zachary Ooko, hails the institutions’ outstanding performance.
“ONE OF THE BEST MENTORS"
“I have worked with Bosire for several years and as an officer in charge I can say that TVETs have really benefited from his input. He has given youth an opportunity to showcase their capability in sports” he said.
He singled out Bosire as “one of the best mentors” who have ensured development of upcoming institutions.
The football team’s technical director Fred Ambani told Nation Sport on Friday that the region is full of fresh talents who are tapped to the main team after high school.
“We started from scratch but we managed to reach regionals in 2011 before we claimed the national title the following year. We feed Zoo Kericho and Silibwet FC with young players in an exchange programme,” said the tactician.
His brother Boniface, who is a former student at the institution, has since called on the Ministry of Sports to consider giving Bosire a top post in the management of sports in the country.
“He should be given a chance to manage sports in this country having mentored and nurtured hundreds of athletes and footballers across the country,” he said.
More than 20 athletes from the centre are in Japan through the scholarship programme with some attached to various camps while others are in school.
Currently, the institution constitutes 20 athletes who are at home following the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a patron, Bosire also guided Silibwet FC to seal promotion to the FKF second tier in the just concluded season after playing division one matches for the last 12 straight years at their Bomet town base.
The club, which was formed in 1980’s, has been playing the lower tier matches in Zone ‘B’ since 2008 and attempts to seal promotion have since been fruitless.
In May, FKF President Nick Mwendwa announced that the football season had ended citing the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason.
At the time, Silibwet were at the helm of National Super League (NSL) table standings in division one Zone ‘B’ with 32 points after 15 matches, four points ahead of Soy United who were placed second with 28 points having played the same number of matches.
Silibwet is a community club which entirely depends on well-wishers for support, something that had made them register poor performance in previous campaigns.
The club has partnered with Keroka Technical Training Institute in an exchange programme where talented students are tapped and incorporated in the team.
“More than 75 percent of our players are students at KTTI but we have a few who play professional football,” said the club’s team manager, Eric Rono.
He cited lack of sponsorship as the main challenge affecting the team which had earlier this year progressed to round 16 of Betway cup after Vihiga United failed to show up at Gusii stadium.
Rono, who has been with the team since 1990, as a player, said the club will recruit experienced players before the start of next season and remained optimistic that they will compete well in the second tier.
However, KTTI lacks a standard playing ground for training and hosting major sports following lack of land for expansion according to Bosire.
“Most of our players train on the roadside since we don’t have a field for training. Let the County Government of Kisii install a tartan track at the Gusii Stadium so that local athletes can use the facility for training,” he added.
Separately, the centre is among the technical institutions that performs well during national exams having managed a mean score of 2.6 (very good) in the latest technical institutions evaluation.