Development of a countries economy greatly depends on human resource that is well equipped with the appropriate skills and training that can manage and steer growth of industries. Technical Vocational Education has over the years been identified as efficient training strategy that can empower societies with the right skills thus enabling growth of informal and formal industries especially in developing countries. However in Kenya, the type of technical/vocational education offered before independence created a negative attitude where few students opt for technical/vocational education. This crippled creativity, innovation and acquisition of entrepreneurial skills, which is vital to the development of technologies that would lead to rural industrialization. Youth polytechnics have been identified as major centers for youth development and training, yet receive very low enrollment. Conversely there is a large number of idle and untrained youth in rural areas.
Kenya’s national goal is to attain rapid and sustained economic growth and development in all the Counties in the country. This is well stated in the key policy documents such as: the Economic Recovery Strategy for Employment and Wealth Creation 2003-2008, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the Medium Term Plan II 2013-2017, Millennium Sustainable Goals and The Kenya vision 2030.
The 2010 constitution devolved the early childhood and vocational training. This is a sector of education that has been overlooked by many stakeholders. There is poor perception by the community and it’s viewed only students who have failed academically are destined for vocational training.
The county ministry of Education vision is to be globally competitive in education, training, research and innovation for sustainable development This exhibition is an ideal platform for Policy makers, Specialists in Vocational and Technical Education, as well as Industrial Planners to chart new frontiers for this sector of education, and take on new opportunities and challenges to stay ahead in the competitive global arena. This will in turn reduce the overall poverty level in the county that stands at 51.3 percent.
To be Globally Competitive in Education, Training, Research and Innovation for sustainable development
To Provide, Promote, Coordinate Quality Lifelong Education, Training and integration of Science and Technology and Innovation for Social Economic Development.
- Strategic Objectives
The Strategic objectives for the Ministry are:-
- To promote access, equity, quality and relevant training
- To equip, refurbish and upgrade infrastructure in County Polytechnics.
- To strengthen strategic partnership and linkages in promotion of education in the county.
- To develop and implement subsidized tuition program in County Polytechnics.
- To develop proper management systems and procedures to be applied in managing education, Ministry funds, records and other resources.
This Sector covers:
– Early Childhood Development & Education (ECDE)
-County Polytechnics, Youth Training and education Support Programmes.
There exist opportunities for development and investment in:
-Colleges and Universities
-ICT Centers across the County
-Youth and County Polytechnics and Vocational training centers.
County government allocates Sh 400 million for county youth polytechnics education.
Kakamega county government has set aside more than Sh 400 million to education department to boost county polytechnics.
This follows the poor state and lack of instructors in majority of the 45 county polytechnics which offer education to youths especially those who are unable to proceed with their secondary or tertiary education in universities or colleges.
A quick survey of the institutions by The Standard revealed that most of the polytechnics are ill equipped with lack of adequate facilities, under staffing and financial constraints.
Malaha Youth Polytechnic in Mumias East constituency offers; carpentry, building technology, tailoring, ICT, automotive engineering, welding and metal processing technology but when one visits their practical workshop finds no facilities for learners.
“We have few facilities for practical and we are forced to combine first and second years in one lesson for them to learn during a practical lesson” said Kizito Wawire the automotive engineering instructor at the institution.
He uses one of the oldest car that has been dismantled into different parts as one way of teaching learners in the field of automotive engineering.
The institution’s Principal Jacqueline Ochiemo says the institution faces various challenges in terms of infrastructure, inadequate facilities and payment of teachers despite serving more than 170 students.
“The institution has seven teachers, three are on contract, three employed by Board of Management (BOM) and one government employed teacher. There is lack of enough instructors in each department and the county and national government should intervene to employ more,” Ochiemo said.
Jackson Wawire a first year welding engineering at the institution says that despite lack of enough facilities and staff he together with nine other learners in his class have acquired skills that can help them be self-reliant in life.
“We do not have enough facilities especially machines for practical but we have acquired enough skills that we will put into use once we complete our studies” said Jackson.
The situation is worse at Bunyala Youth Polytechnic located in Navakholo constituency and Murhanda County Polytechnic in Shinyalu as the institutions lack enough infrastructure, instructors and depend on the community to be sustained.
Harrison Ongado the manager of Bunyala Polytechnic confirms that they lack resources to expand the institution.
“We have lacked resources and finances to purchase equipment for practical, we lack skilled manpower and space for our 38 admitted learners” said Ongado.