, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – “People are opting to go to universities to do degrees in marketing, sales not because they are sure of getting jobs once they are through, but because it is the cool thing to do.”
Those were the words of Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke on Monday, as he urged more student enrolment in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVETS) institutions.
Mueke explained that most students opt to go to universities rather than training institutions and they fail to get white collar jobs yet there are many opportunities in the informal sector.
He added that the lack of skilled labour in the country is forcing the government to outsource labour which would otherwise be readily available as the courses are taught in training institutions.
“It is worrying that most of the technical institutions have been changed into universities which in turn creates a gap in the skills area which needs to be filled like real estate which are large consumers of skilled labour,” he said.
Mueke further revealed plans to revise the TVETS curriculum’s into a competent based one that addresses the demands in the job market. “Employers have raised concern over half-baked graduates who they have to train even after leaving the universities with so called full credentials.”
He added that some courses also need to be revised to meet the international standard allowing the students to efficiently work in any part of the world.
“Technical institutions in the developed countries are famed for producing their own skilled labour and this is the industry that drives their economies.”
“We recently opened Honda Assembly plant that creates employment opportunities for many youth that have been to technical institutions but our aim should now be to have plants where we manufacture and assemble our own products and export,” he explained.
Speaking at a workshop by the Housing Finance Foundation, he further noted that a partnership between the foundation and tertiary institutions will see youths receive loans to study in the TVETS and slowly pay back after their completion.
Housing Finance Foundation Executive Director Winnie Imanyara acknowledged, “there is an existing gap between the industries expectation and graduates’ technical level leading to difficulties for TVET graduates to find jobs.”
“With the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology we are spearheading a Vision 2030 flagship project that targets to facilitate skills development for one million artisans by 2016,” she added.
Imanyara noted that a major challenge facing the Government and the labour market is the absence of a skills inventory that would indicate the distribution of well trained Kenyans.
“We currently do not have a database, which is an indispensable tool for planning the country’s future training programmes,” she said.
The TVET Bill 2012 seeks to institute a mechanism for promoting access and equity in training to assure standards, quality and relevance.
It further seeks to shift TVET from time-bound, curriculum based training to flexible and competency based training.