Despite the government’s push to have hundreds of thousands of students join vocational training centres, most of the institutions are in poor state, a study has revealed.
Among the gaps identified in the institutions are poor infrastructure and lack of modern training equipment.
“Most of the institutions use outdated technologies or no equipment at all for practical training. The esteem of students was a problem and this led to high dropout rates,” reads a report by Zizi Afrique Foundation’s Ujana 360 project.
The government plans to have 1,540 vocational training centres across the country by 2022.
The report also indicates that the institutions face challenges in delivering quality training due to disparities in trainees’ entry levels.
The centres admit Class Eight leavers as well as Form Four leavers.
“The language of instruction was an issue as many school dropouts could not comfortably communicate in English, while those who had completed secondary school preferred English,” adds the report.
The report indicates that vocational training centres have the capacity to absorb many youths.
However, the VTCs also face challenges. Due to their devolved functions, they are poorly funded and have poorly-motivated instructors.
Data from last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) shows 343,897 candidates scored grade D and below which means they cannot apply for professional courses. They can neither be employed as police officers since the entry grade to the service is D+.
The study was conducted in 30 vocational training centres (VTCs) across the country, covering 12 of Kenya’s 47 counties.
The study used a simple tool to understand aspects of enrolments, the training areas offered, the curricula implemented and other issues salient to the understanding of TVET in Kenya.
The study also interviewed 12 key actors and thought leaders in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), among them the Principal Secretary in charge of TVET in the Ministry of Education, the Director General of the TVET Authority, the CEO of the TVET Curriculum Development, Assessment and Certification Council, the Director of Vocational Training, five Directors of Training at the county level and three leaders from civil society.
Dr John Mugo, the team leader of Ujana360, a programme of ZiziAfrique which works with TVET institutions in the country, said the government needs to equip those facilities to ensure learners get quality education.
Dr Mugo added that there is need to change the attitude of school leavers towards TVET. This, he said, would ensure the country gets skilled labourers.
“Only 15 per cent of candidates who sit for national examinations that make it to universities. That means that the remaining 85 have to join TVET institutions, hence the need to invest more in TVET institutions,” said Dr Mugo.
He observed that there is need to end competition between the national and county governments in the management of TVETs.
He says there is need to address overlaps in mandates by government agencies especially when it comes to examining the students at the end of their training.
“We have Kenya National Examination council in the Ministry of Education, National Industrial Training Authority in the Ministry of Labour and City and Guild, all scrambling to examine students, this creates confusion,” Dr Mugo observed.