The Chief Officer of Education for Trans Nzoia County, Jane Wachwenge, has commended Governor George Natembeya’s administration for its efforts in improving the county’s vocational education sector.
This comes after the TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) Board ranked the county as the best in terms of vocational education quality. According to the Board, all centres in the county meet the minimum standards, are well-managed, and are equipped with physical facilities and training materials.
To further enhance the quality of education and students’ transition rate to the job market, the county has plans to hire 100 more instructors. During the TVET Board’s visit to the Education offices and Anderson Vocational Training Centre, Mrs Wachwenge highlighted that the hiring of more tutors will address staffing deficits in various centres.
The TVET Board Chair, Prof. Florence Indede, emphasized the importance of pursuing passions with dedication, discipline, and passion to achieve goals. She challenged the instructors and administrators to align the curriculum with new knowledge and innovation in vocational training programmes to remain dynamic and relevant in the face of a changing job market.
The Board Chair also acknowledged the importance of students as key stakeholders in vocational training centres and urged them to be good ambassadors of the centres and advocate for the importance of acquiring technical skills. Prof. Indede applauded the partners who have invested in vocational training institutions, including Mt Elgon Orchard Trust, and called on locals to make good use of these facilities.
In addition, the Board Chair acknowledged the commitment of both the national and county governments in supporting technical training institutions, including vocational training centres. She encouraged management to use available resources prudently, thanking Governor Natembeya for investing more in technical training and reminding staff to use resources effectively, including tools and equipment.
Anderson Vocational Training Centre was commended as a model vocational training centre in the county, and the Board intends to connect with other similar institutions to foster exchange programmes.
Speaking during the event, Dr Paul Wanyeki, who is in charge of programmes evaluation and trainee support, called on the department to put more effort into career guidance for students.
Wanyeki advised that instructors who have been trained in offering guidance services should be utilized to help students pursue careers that suit their interests and background, while also taking into account the economic activity in the area.
He also stressed the importance of guidance and counseling services for both students and staff, as mental health issues are becoming a challenge.
Meanwhile, Thimonty Nyongesa, the National Polytechnic Board Chairman, emphasized the need for the regulators of education to ensure that vocational training centres meet required standards.
Nyongesa said that the TVET board starts with accreditation, followed by follow-up visits to ensure that registered institutions comply with the necessary standards.
The board also ensures that the trainers teaching at the centres are qualified, and that students are learning the right skills. Additionally, Nyongesa stressed the importance of ensuring that institutions have the necessary facilities before admitting students, as per the TVET Act of 2013.
Mr. Munyeki, another member of the TVET board, challenged vocational training centres to put more effort into innovation. According to an audit, this is an area where the county’s score was not very good. Munyeki suggested that Trans Nzoia, being an agricultural area, should be able to produce agricultural products that align with the courses offered in the centres.
He also noted that the county has a strong garments-making department, and recommended that the institutions produce uniforms for primary and secondary schools in the area, which would generate revenue for the vocational centres.
The Trans Nzoia County Director of Vocational Training, Eliud Lusweti, took the occasion to call on both the county and national governments to increase capitation and Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loans to vocational training centres, as is done for technical training and national polytechnics.
He noted that lack of funding is a major challenge facing vocational centres and is derailing the development of the institutions.
Lusweti also called for the government to ensure that vocational centres have enough instructors, teaching materials, and equipment to support the training of students.
The meeting was attended by other TVET board members, including Joseph Engineer Sanga Burua, Chair of the Technical Committee TVET Authority, Dr. Davidson Mwaithaka, and Phoebe Makanaga, in charge of TVET in the North Region.