By Kipkirui Langat
As the application process by students for placement by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Services (KUCCPS) to different universities and TVET colleges comes to a close this week on Wednesday, I once again take this opportunity to appeal to students who sat for the 2022 KCSE exam, to apply for placement to those TVET institutions duly licensed by TVET Authority (TVETA).
As the regulator of the TVET sector in Kenya, one of our mandates is to accredit TVET institutions and license programmes that comply with our set standards so as to ensure students are getting quality training leading to recognised qualifications.
TVETA is working closely with KUCCPS to ensure that all the students who are legible to access TVET training opportunities are able to choose programmes where they meet requirements so that they can be placed accordingly. This is in line with the government policy of 100% transition in all learning levels so that no one is left behind no matter their social standing in society.
We are also partnering with KUCCPS to ensure that the students are placed in programmes and institutions that we have duly accredited according to the TVET Act 2013. We have also ensured that the institutions where the students are admitted have accredited trainers and that the admissions to courses are within the compliance standards allowed by TVETA.
Progressively, and in line with the government TVET agenda, there has been a rapid increase in the number of TVET institutions across the country. TVETA has so far accredited and registered over 2,300 public and private TVET institutions. These include the over 40 TVET institutions in line ministries and nearly 1000 Vocational Training Centres under County governments.
According to the placement framework, students with grades C+ and above qualify to pursue degree courses while those with C and C-, qualify to pursue a diploma as D+ and D qualify for certificates. While those with grades D- and E qualify for artisan and other pre-vocational courses.
However, as seen in past placements, more and more students with university qualifications are increasingly applying to pursue diploma courses in various TVET institutions to pursue courses leading to careers of their choice. We expect the numbers to be on the rise this year because of the reforms the government has undertaken in the TVET sector that has made TVET more attractive to many students not only in terms of the relevant programmes but also clear articulation pathways.
During this ongoing placement, there are 189 public TVET institutions under the Ministry of Education and 27 institutions in line ministries in the KUCCPS portal where students can choose to apply to pursue the listed courses. Furthermore, there are also 7 University TVET Schools where students can also choose to apply for TVET programmes. It is also important to note that the current capacity of about 600,000 in TVET institutions is still inadequate as we have close to 4 million youths between the age of 18 – 24 years who have not enrolled anywhere in formal training.
According to the KCSE results of 2022, only 173,345 candidates scored the minimum university entry qualification of grade C+ and above out of the 881,416 candidates who sat the exam. Thus, all the remaining candidates are legible to join TVET institutions, Teacher Training Colleges, and other tertiary learning institutions to pursue various courses on offer.
As a regulator, I want to assure students, parents and guardians that registered TVET institutions, both public and private across the country have the necessary infrastructure and human resources to absorb all of them.
In the recent past, the government has carried out an enormous infrastructural overhaul and expansion of facilities in all the public TVET institutions. At the same time, the government has equipped most of the institutions with state-of-the-art equipment to complement the new Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET), which is steadily being rolled out in most of our institutions.
The most important thing that parents and their children need to know is that the government has made TVET programmes very attractive and the market is driven by working with the industry players and development partners to come up with a blueprint that addresses market needs. The government is rolling out CBET which is a structured training system that allows individuals to acquire skills and knowledge in order to perform work activities to specified standards in addition to producing an internationally competitive workforce and promoting a culture of entrepreneurship, incubations and innovations.
It is also a flexible system which will enable all to access training without barriers as it is envisaged to benefit among others the out-of-school youth, the unemployed population, those currently educated and trained who need to update their competencies, individuals from the formal and informal sector, those with little or no education, individuals who are made redundant so that they can learn new competences and those who have retired but who would like to develop new skills and competences.
The Kenya National Qualification Framework has provided a coherent framework for qualification from basic education up to the doctorate degree level. The framework links together all qualifications in a highly visible, quality-assured national system of educational recognition, which promotes lifelong learning and a seamless and diverse education and training system.
The structure, which also recognizes prior learning, has now made it possible for one to qualify for university education through the TVET pathway without necessarily attaining the minimum university entry grade of C+. The framework allows for an interface with basic education and provides a progression for technical and vocational education qualified personnel to proceed to higher education
My call to students and parents is to take this available opportunity and enlist in any course of interest in our TVET institutions and start their journey to practical and rewarding careers and limitless academic opportunities.
The author is the Director General/ CEO, TVETA