By Dr. Kipkirui Langat
Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA is a public corporate agency established under the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Act No. 29 of 2013 to regulate and coordinate training in the country through the accreditation of institutions and programs and the registration and licensing of TVET trainers.
TVETA has developed TVET Management Information System (MIS) or service portal that has automated the accreditation of TVET institutions and programs and the licensing of trainers/assessors and verifiers.
Since it started providing services to the public in 2014, we have been rendering most of our services manually with limited automation.
For instance, previously those applying for consideration as TVET trainers used to download forms from the Authority’s website, print, fill, scan and then sent to an email provided in the forms. The TVETA staff would also download these applications, evaluate and send them to the TVETA Board for consideration. Feedback is then provided to all applicants via their emails. This was a tiresome and time-consuming exercise.
However, now with the development of the online portal for all services, we have successfully managed to make the application process seamless, faster and easier for our clients as we endeavor to meet the tight deadlines specified in the TVET Act, 2013 and complemented in our Service Charter.
In the first phase, the portal has automated the whole application and feedback process for the accreditation services. Those applying for registration and licensing of colleges will now apply through the portal and attach all the required documents. The applicant will receive the Board’s decision either approving or declining accreditation of college or program in their signed up account in the system. In between, the applicant will be given alerts and can track the status of the application.
In case the Board approves the registration and or licensing of the institution or program, a registration certificate and or license is automatically generated by the system. The applicant can then download and print. The same will also apply for individuals seeking licensing as either TVET trainers, verifiers and assessors.
The MIS has now made it possible for TVET institutions to henceforth start submitting their annual returns to the Authority online via their signed up accounts. This includes information about their student enrolments, staff, infrastructure, course uptake, dropout rate, and any other relevant information.
Equally, individuals seeking for “Letter of No Objection” for submission to the registrar of companies for purposes of registration of names of institutions, will now make an application online instead of coming to TVETA offices with hard copies. The Authority will approve or decline and send the letter to the applicant to download, print and take to the registrar of companies.
The system, therefore, has been created to improve efficiency by allowing the users and our staff to track the entire process of registration from the first to the last step. The portal guides the users during the entire application process and prompts them on all the requirements at each step. This includes the uploading of all the required documents and online options for the payment of service fees.
Once the process is completed and the application submitted, the system automatically gives an alert. It also gives notifications whenever an action has been taken by our staff or when certain requirements are needed to be fulfilled or met within specific timelines. This has made the application process very interactive and responsive to the needs of our clients.
It is important to point out that the system has also been developed to be compatible with mobile devices such that those applying for registration and licensing of colleges and programs, as well as trainers, can easily do so within the comfort of their mobile phones.
While an application for accreditation of training institutions, programs and trainers will now be done online, it is important to note that the MIS comes with the ability to produce custom reports based on the specified parameters. This would be reports on the number and gender of trainers per institution and county, the list of accredited institutions per category/type and per county and other system customized reports.
In the second phase of development, which is currently going on, the MIS will seek to introduce advanced features that will enable more intelligent processing of data to obtain information. The functionality revolves around building data models and the corresponding software that will make it possible to flag critical cases that require immediate intervention, help predict certain outcomes, help plan more accurately, among many other data-supported decisions.
The MIS will have a Service Desk that will allow our clients to seek any information about all the services we offer. The Desk incorporates a knowledge base that provides the most sought-after information and adapts to the ever-changing client requests. It will be integrated into our social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube to create seamless service delivery. It will also have a user-friendly platform for client feedback and complaints.
The system provides features for conducting tracer studies which will help determine the relevance of each training program and the delivery method(s). The tracer studies will go up to 18 months after the student graduates and will be done at a 6-month interval.
Even more fundamentally, the TVET MIS will have an interface through which other systems within the Ministry of Education and the rest of the government can be integrated to facilitate smooth knowledge and information sharing. Among the systems that the MIS will integrate to include; IPRS, Ecitizen, KUCCPS, HELB, NeMIS, Labour Market Information System, KNEC, CDACC, and KNQA sites.
The TVET MIS brings about the new age where everything is done by the touch of a button with limited interaction with paperwork. It will not only allow us to reach out to more clients and provide feedback within a shorter time, it will also immensely improve our efficiency in collecting factual and timely data on institutions, trainers and students. This will be useful for the efficient regulation of the sector.
Technology is out here to make our work easier and efficient and the TVET MIS does not fall short of expectations. However, any good thing is improved over time and depending on the lessons learned and changes in time, we will keep on improving the portal and even bring more, if not all our services, under one-stop-shop.
The writer is the Director General/CEO, TVET Authority