Poor attitude by Kenyans towards Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is among issues set to dominate discussions during a three-day conference in Nairobi from Thursday on tertiary education.
The conference that has attracted education experts, private sector and top government officials, will be seeking to persuade Kenyans to move away from idea that TVET education is less prestigious and of lower value, than university qualifications.
The event is dubbed “Hands on the Future National TVET Conference and Kenya Skills Show 2017”.
According to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Kenyans especially the youths, ought to change their mindset.
“TVET ought to be a destination of choice for those who wish to acquire the skills required to move this country to the next level of economic development. As a matter of fact, evidence suggests that TVET education is as of equal value and in some cases even more valuable than a traditional university degree,” said Dr Matiang’i.
According to the government, TVET system has a significant role to play to facilitate effective implementation of numerous planned projects, within key development sectors of manufacturing, infrastructure, science, technology and innovation as highlighted in the Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint.
To achieve a “globally competitive quality education, training and research for sustainable development” within the TVET system, Kenya Vision 2030 places great emphasis on the link between education, training and the labour market, the need to create entrepreneurial skills and competencies and strong public and private partnerships.
The first conference was held in 2014 through the initiative of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Kenya (AHK), together with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and LIWA (Linking Industry with Academia).
To effectively address the defined challenges as well as the systematic inclusion of the private sector in the TVET system and to strive towards transformation, it was proposed to establish a platform.
The PWG, created in 2014, incorporates the Kenyan government, private sector, academia and development partners and was mandated to oversee the efforts of Kenya’s vocational training transformation.
The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) is envisaged to ensure harmonisation and coordination of programmes, by standardising the quality and relevance of training in TVET institutions.
A recently released study by the World Bank indicates that “countries that have successfully transitioned from low to middle-income status, and in turn from middle to high-income status, have appropriately balanced academic and professional qualifications”.
The study further indicates that middle-income countries in East Asia that have become industrial giants such as China, Malaysia and Korea had over 50 per cent of their tertiary students enrolled in TVET programmes vis a vis in universities.
“The government is committed in revitalising the TVET sector through strategic policy reforms,” added Dr Matiang’i.