Technical colleges enrolment falls short of State target

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The government’s ambitious plan to place more than 500,000 students into technical institutions has suffered a blow after only 27,000 applied to join the institutions in the last four months.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the 27,000 students were recruited from April to August this year as she announced more incentives to attract students to the institutions.

In April, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) placed 28,866 students into TVET.

The emphasis on technical colleges is informed by a need to the feed the labour market with craftsmen and engineers to boost production of locally manufactured goods.

Yesterday, Ms Mohamed admitted that the number was low but expressed confidence that more students will join TVET institutions.

“It is agradual process and we hope more students will come on board,” said the Cabinet Secretary during a press conference at Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) headquarters in Nairobi on enhanced TVET funding for the financial year 2018/2019.

The revival of the technical colleges was a departure from the trend set by former President Mwai Kibaki of converting mid- tier colleges to universities—which has led to an increase in the number of graduates with liberal arts degrees in a job market that is already saturated.

“It’s gradual process and we hope more students will come on board,” she said.

KUCCPS Chief Executive officer John Muraguri speaking to Business Daily separately admitted that recruiting for TVET institutions is not an easy thing.

“We are now doing continuous recruitment and hope to have more students by September,” said Mr Muraguri. The government has established 203 TVET Institutions and will establish 15 more this financial year.

“It is expected that every Constituency will have an operational Technical and Vocational Centres in the next five years,” said Ms Mohamed.

The CS also announced that annual cost of training has been reduced from Sh92,000 to Sh56, 420 per annum. The government will provide capitation of Sh30,000 per trainee, per annum.

“TVET trainees can apply for loans up to a maximum of Sh 40,000 per annum to further supplement their cost of training. Sh26, 400 will paid directly to TVET institutions for tuition and Sh13, 600 for trainee stipend paid to the student’s individual bank accounts,” said Ms Mohamed.

She said Helb is currently funding students in 74 TVET institutions and is expected to progressively increase funding to TVET trainees in all the 203 TVET institutions across the country.

“This year 2018/19 government has resolved to enhance financing to over 150,000 TVET trainees at an estimated cost of Sh10.5billion,” said the CS.