By Collins Mmbulika and Joshua Cheloti
Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and Uasing Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, have asked Kenyans to embrace technical and vocational training.
The two spoke separately, recently, and their viewpoints appeared somewhat diffrent.
Dr Matiang’i told education stakeholders in Vihiga County the government was not encouraging learners below 18 to join TVETs.
Dr Matiang’i noted that more than 800 students who sat for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) last year have already joined TVETs instead of proceeding to secondary schools.
“As a government, we don’t support the efforts that lure children into joining TVETs because it is going to violate the 100% transition and by extension the labor policies,” he said.
The CS said that basic education ends at Form Four level to give the learners time to mature in the mind, socially and physically.
“By the time these 800 children of 12 or 13 years old will be finishing their TVET courses they will be about 14 years or so and this will violate the law if we have people under 18 working,” Dr Matiang’i said.
“Any children who have completed their KCPE should go and sit in secondary schools.”
He said his docket was working closely with other units and that they will still press on and emphasize on the same until they achieve their targets.
“I call upon the chiefs, assistant chiefs, ward administrators and county government officers to support us in this initiative,” he appealed.
But in Uasin Gishu, Governor Jackson Mandago rooted for a revision of requirements to join TVET institutions
Mandago said the revised requirements should be in line with the Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) being rolled out by the
Ministry of Education, which focuses more on one’s ability and not grades.
Speaking at Kuinet Catholic Church in Soy Constituency during the roll-out of a public sensitization program for youths to join TVETs,
the county boss said setting a minimum grade for one to join TVET institution was locking out many youths.
“All the regulatory bodies that handle TVET-oriented training must now begin also revising their requirements,” Mandago said.
“If as a nation we’re moving to CBET where we are saying you don’t have to go to school to acquired skills but we can assess you based on your competency and certify that you can do the
job, then we must revise the requirement for entry or create an opportunity where if I want to be a nurse and I did not meet that C- thing, even if I’m a class eight dropout, give me a route I’m going to pursue until I become a nurse,” he added.
According to Mandago, the National Qualification Authority should take up the matter and make sure there are favorable conditions to
increase access to TVETs across the country.
He noted that a majority of students in 2019 scored below C+ in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination, a minimum requirement for one to join university.
In the 2019, 125,746 out of 699,745 candidates who sat for the KCSE exams scored C+ and above.
The Governor also challenged the Ministry of Finance to consider funding regulatory bodies which he said have been imposing extra charges on TVET institutions, leading to a rise in the cost of education.
“For an institution to teach a course like Laboratory Technology, they must pay a certain fee to the Kenya Medical Laboratory Board, same to institutions offering pharmacy. This ends up being put on students’ school fees,” he said.
As a way of ensuring more students join TVETs, the governor whose administration has been sponsoring 600 students annually to study in
various technical courses at Rift Valley Technical Training Institute (RVTTI) for the past three years further asked the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) to consider allowing TVET institutions to admit the students directly instead of a requirement that they must first apply online before being selected.
The governor said not all students have access to internet connections, and a requirement for them to apply online on the KUCCPS for them to join a TVET institution was cumbersome especially to those in rural areas without access to reliable internet.