Deputy President William Ruto has said investment in technical education remains key to successful implementation of the Big Four agenda – manufacturing, housing, healthcare and food security.
Mr Ruto said the Government is now focusing more on technical and vocational education, saying the move was aimed at helping students utilize their God given talents for the development of the country.
Speaking during the launch of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) curriculum at the Kenya Technical Trainers College, Gigiri, Nairobi, Mr Ruto said TVET had in the past been negatively profiled; yet the country’s development relies heavily on the sector.
“The implementation of the Big Four agenda projects will heavily rely from institution that produce TVET students,” said Mr Ruto.
“It is time we identify gifts of our children and give them an opportunity to exploit their talents in their field,” added Mr Ruto.
Mr Ruto said there was no need to invest in an education system that condemned students to failure.
“Our investment in technical education is deliberate. We can’t continue to support education that condemns most of our children to failure,” said Mr Ruto.
He said countries such as Korea, Germany and Australia have achieved their development goals after they invested heavily in technical education.
“But for the first time in the history of this country, we have 90,000 students enrolling in TVET compared to 60,000 students joining universities this year. This means Kenyans are now appreciating importance of technical education,” said Mr Ruto.
He said 80 percent of jobs in the country are in the informal sector, thus the need for students to have requisite skills, competencies and knowledge who were able to work in the industry.
The Deputy President said the Government has reduced fees to attract more students into the sector.
Mr Ruto said the reduction of fees by TVET institutions has led to a clear increase of students applying for courses in vocational training.
“In the recent past, fees for students joining technical education were even more than of those joining universities. But now parents can send their children to technical colleges without necessarily paying fees as Government has catered for them through bursaries and loans,” said Mr Ruto.
TVET Principal Secretary Kevit Desai said the Government has done everything possible to make the sector attractive to Kenyans.
He urged private sector and social sectors to work with TVET to meet innovation and competencies needs of the country.
“We must work together in addressing challenges facing the sector so as to make the sector attractive for Kenyans. We must have a new paradigm shift for this sector,” said Mr Desai.
TVET CEO Laurence Guantai said the country should move away from education that ensures that students only passed in national examination to one that gives students the opportunity to utilize their talents to meet the country’s development needs.
“There is no need for passing of examination. Our focus as a country should be on demonstration of competencies if we are to achieve our development needs,” said Mr Guantai.