OPINION: What the gov’t must do to make TVET attractive to the youth
By Linda Otieno
The government has made efforts to face-lift the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector in the country.
However, more efforts should be addressed to focus on ways of ensuring TVET gets attractive to the youth.
The most affected are the vocational training centers which continue to suffer due to poor funding yet they provide critical courses that are required for the development of this country.
Little career guidance has been done to students joining the institution with some courses attracting no student year in year out.
For instance a study conducted by ZiziAfrique Foundation’s Ujana 360 project, revealed that there are courses reserved for female and male students.
Courses such as building technology, metal processing and carpentry despite being offered in most of the vocational training centers only attracted male students while on the other hand female students are only keen to study courses such fashion design, and hairdressing.
There is need to sensitize the youth that they can study any course irrespective of the gender.
The society’s obsession with white-collar j should also be addressed so that Kenyans do not continue to perceive vocational training certificates as of little worth.
The government also need to move in and address the issue of unavailability of modern infrastructure that ought to facilitate quality learning.
The Ujana360 project indicate that most vocational training centers(VTCs) have outdated equipment’s while others have no equipment at all for practical learning.
The VTCs in marginalized counties are the most affected since they don’t get support from leaders and low appreciation from the youth and parents as well.
It also indicates that parents and youth shy away from these institutions due to fear that there is no quality learning in those instititions.
In order to address skills gaps, the government should move in and provide modern equipment for each courses offered in TVET sector as a way of attracting most students.
There is also need to motivate students to join the institutions.
Students should be guided to take up courses that will equip them with the right skills and land them jobs that will earn them decent income.
The government should put more emphasis on social media platforms and give reports of same on the benefit of the youth joining TVET institutions.
The government should provide equipment to the institutions, carry out public sensitization and create job market to the graduates from the technical institutions.
Recently Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha expressed his frustration that he could not find a plumber to undertake repairs that he needed in his residence in Yala town in Siaya County.
Prof Magoha said he had to travel several kilometers to Kisumu town to get a plumber, and attributed the absence of plumbers in Yala town to an inappropriate education system that favours acquisition of degree and to the low esteem in which plumbers are held by the population.
One major challenge to addressing the skills gap is the lack of quality vocational training. The skills needed in energy and mining sectors in Kenya are usually acquired through informal technical and vocational education and training institutions.
Prof Magoha is not alone, various companies among them Kenya Pipeline Corporation in the past have expressed concerns over lack of skilled welders who can work on a live oil pipeline.
Linda Otieno is an Administrative Consultant at ZiziAfrique Foundation.
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