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Bid to give employers more say in revision of education syllabus

Graduands follow proceedings during the 34th graduation ceremony at Egerton University on June 17, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Graduands follow proceedings during the 34th graduation ceremony at Egerton University on June 17, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Industrialists and the German Government will partner with Kenya in creating an inclusive competency-based education and training curriculum for technical and vocational institutes.

Speaking after a one-day symposium in Nairobi, stakeholders said the programme would lay emphasis on industrial attachment, thereby enabling trainees to get first-hand job experience before formally entering the market.

The forum noted that industrial players will have a larger role in development of curriculum and standards through the Sector Skill Council.

The council looks at required skills in the job market and advises the technical and vocational institutions (TIVET) curriculum board to address them by coming up with new courses.

The German Embassy’s Green Economic Cycle initiative stresses on inclusion of environmental education in all courses, thereby inculcating a culture of efficient use of energy, light and water with keen attention to harvesting and recycling.

German Deputy Ambassador and Head of Economic Affairs Michael Derus said Kenya could promote innovation the way German’s dual vocational training system has done, where trainee graduates spent nearly half of their learning periods in industries.

“This is the best way to enable trainees to understand the workplace and be able to apply their new-found knowledge on a practical level. We are looking forward to sharing our experience and co-operating with our Kenyan partners,” he said.

The meeting brought together a delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Kenya, Kenya’s  Ministry of Education officials, Science and Technology experts, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), Kenya Association of Manufacturers, and Linking Industry With Academia.

The workshop on “Vocational Training in the Field of Green Economy” was told of the need to modernise the training curriculum to incorporate future technologies and sustainability.

CBET was identified as a major step to modernising the tertiary curriculum where emphasis is placed on a multi-sectoral approach.

German’s technical and vocational education training sustainability expert Barbara Hemkes supported the ongoing reforms, saying the industry must play a larger role in the training of skilled professionals. She added that trainees must appreciate the need to conserve the environment, benefit people and reduce unnecessary processes that make operations expensive.

“Sustainability should be seen as a cross-cutting element in TVET and should be applied in the curricula of all professions,” she said. Examples include sustainable building technologies, such as passive energy houses, as well as sustainable nutrition practices in system gastronomy.

Kenya is undertaking major reforms in technical and vocation training, with a view to generating specific skills to improve lives.

The move is also geared towards attracting brighter students to technical colleges, currently viewed as institutions for school dropouts.

On its part, Kepsa called for streamlining of operations within the skills development sphere, saying there were many centres issuing certificates for various skills, making it cumbersome for Kepsa members to add their input to training.

About 15 Kenyan ministries run independent training institutions. There is no overall oversight board to monitor standards and create a seamless advancement process for skills learnt from certificate, diploma to degree levels.

Kepsa’s Mutheu Kasanga called for creation of a single certification body, adding that many State agencies were issuing conflicting statements on certification.

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