By Dr. Kipkirui Langat

Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA), a state corporation established under the TVET Act, 2013 has been one of the twin-turbo engines that has driven the TVET reform agenda that has seen the sector grow in leaps and bounds in the last four years since the agency was established.

TVETA is charged with a broad mandate of coordinating and regulating training in the TVET sector through the licensing, registration and accreditation of programes, institutions and trainers. It is also placed with a huge responsibility of promoting access and relevance of training programs, determine the national technical and vocational training objectives, assure quality and relevance in programmes of training among others functions spelled out in the TVET Act, 2013.

Despite the enormous task, the Authority in the last four years has managed to cover vast ground to place the sector in a growth trajectory that can only get better.

One of the greatest strength that has allowed us achieve so much within a very short period is the creation of an enabling working environment with all the stakeholders in the sector, who includes the ministry of Education and other line ministries, sister government agencies like TVET Curriculum Development, Assessment and Certification Council (TVET CDACC), Kenya National Qualification Authority (KNQA); Commission for University Education (CUE), Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service (KUCCPS), Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), other State agencies, the private sector, development partners, and other stakeholders.

The acme of this working relationship with our stakeholders has led to the successful formulation of legal frameworks and various standards that have guided us in coordinating and regulating this key sector that holds the key to a better, promising and brighter Kenya.

At the topmost, is the development of the Kenya TVET Quality Assurance Framework (KEN TVET QAF), a document that outlines the role of TVET quality assurance at national and sub-national level. We have also developed the TVET Quality Management Assurance (QMA) Manual and TVET, which is intended to support and guide TVET providers and service providers on their quest to quality in technical and vocational education and training.

We have also developed the TVET Quality Assurance Training and Quality Audit Manual. This is a critical document that will help us in our quest to ensure that programmes and courses are complying with standards and are approved, before being mounted in credible TVET institutions. The manual will help quality assurance personnel and training institutions to understand the process and requirements for registration, accreditation and licensing or approval, thereby enabling them to properly plan before setting up a TVET institution or offering vocational training as an individual institution.

We are currently at the tail end of validating and reviewing with stakeholders a number of standards and guidelines that are aimed at guiding the sector and aligning it within the government’s strategic development trajectory. These includes the Competence Based Education, Training and Assessment (CBETA) Standards and guidelines, the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) Standards and guidelines, the TVET Trainer Qualification Framework (TQF) and the National Polytechnics Standards & Guidelines.

Others that will be validated by stakeholders in the next few days include the Trainers/ Assessors Training Standards, Programme Designers/ Developers Training Standards, Agricultural Crops Production Level III Training Standard, Masonry Level III Training Standard, the Mechatronics Servicing Level III Training Standard, the Community Health Level III Training Standard and the Entrepreneur Level IV Training Standards.

The development of these documents has enabled the Authority set in motion a successful framework for the licensing, registration and accreditation of programs, institutions and trainers. For instance, in the past three years we have managed to register and license over 1,500 training institutions together with many programmes that we have allowed them to offer after passing our strict compliance framework.

From the beginning of this year we have also started to register and license TVET trainers, assessors and verifiers who meet our Trainers Qualification Framework. The registration, licensing and accreditation of institutions, programs and trainers is a continuous and endless process that we have put in place to be seamless, especially now that the Authority has managed to employ staff in all the critical areas.

Our partnership with stakeholders has also led to the coming up with various programmes that are purposed to improve standards and also create public awareness and change the attitude of the people towards embracing TVET training because it is the next frontier for our economic take-off and wealth creation.

Historically, TVET training has been perceived as a sector for low academic achievers from poor backgrounds. But in the last few years TVETA has spearheaded a number of outreach campaigns and activities that have pushed back this wrong perception leading to increased enrolments in our training institutions. One of the successful campaigns where TVETA has played an important role was mobilization of stakeholders under the Permanent Working Group (PWG) on TVET to hold the annual Hands on the Future Kenya Skills Show.

The three-day extravaganza allows training institutions, TVET service providers and industry players showcase they innovations and skills in various sector to thousands of members of the public who attend the three-day event. This year’s event was held at KICC and surpassed our targets by attracting a record attendance of over 20,000 young Kenyans and parents who had keen interest to interact with best practices and innovations in the TVET Sector.

Such events have allowed students and their parents to see TVET from a different perspective that has led many to discard age-old perceptions into believing in the reformed sector.

We have achieved a lot and we are in the process of even accomplishing more since we have just started implementing our Strategic Plan 2018-2022. However, allow me to say that our optimism is derived from the massive support we are receiving from the government, which has placed TVET as an important cog in the country’s social and economic growth.

The writer is the Director Genera/CEO of TVET Authority