Access to Tvet institutions, jobs a bane for many youth

Monday, December 2nd, 2019 00:00 |
Then Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i flags off a container of machine spare parts for export to China at Kabete Technical Training Institute, Nairobi, in 2016. The parts were fabricated by students at the college. Photo/PD/CLEMENT KAMAU

Despite fast expansion of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) institutions, thousands of desperate youth cannot access information about training opportunities in colleges.

Many others cannot access jobs, the most disadvantaged being females, those from poor families and others whose parents are less educated, a study released last week has revealed.

The report says also suffering are youth who do not belong to any community social groups and youth living in arid areas or in the western region.

 “These are also the youth with the lowest levels of competencies,” says the study dubbed Whole Youth Development in Kenya. It is a synthesis of evidence from three recent studies on local youth capabilities. 

State funding 

Since 2013, the State has instituted reforms to drive up the growth of Tvet institutions and achieve an enrolment target of 3.1 million over the next five years.

In the 2018/19 budget, Tvet was allocated Sh16 billion, about three per cent of the total Education Ministry budget. 

Apart from State funding, growing support from development partners, county governments and CDF (constituency development funds) has boosted construction and employment of tutors in the institutions, as well as supply of equipment worth billions of shillings. 

However, according to the research released by Zizi Afrique, Youth Not in Employment, Education and Training (Neet) in Kenya,  much of the information on opportunities may not be reaching the youth who need it most. 

And while half of the youth have no knowledge about the Tvet institution next to them, two thirds receive information through word of mouth. 

Yet, 58 per cent of youth see vocational training as the most useful in finding a job and only 15 per cent see university training as most useful in finding employment.

The study recommends that in making Tvets accessible, there is need to make equity and inclusion key considerations.

“Soft skills such as intra-personal, decision making, respect, trust and entrepreneurship need to be included as part of the curriculum,” says Mudit Sharma, a researcher with Dalberg Design.

The flat-rate capitation, fees subsidies and Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) loans are inadequate in reaching poor youth. “There is need to supplement these with targeted scholarships and other pro-poor strategies,” says Sharma. 

The study recommends that Tvet institutions create links and nurture relationships with employers. Each institution should  have an office that handles job and internship linkages and placements, rather than leaving this to chance. 


Interestingly, Vocational Training Centres (VTCs or village polytechnics) are enrolling larger populations of females, youth from poorer households and youth who have children. Around 40 per cent of the students enrolled in VTCs have primary education or less and nearly 13 per cent are already parents. 

Yet, the studies have shown that VTCs have much lower quality of training – no facilities, equipment, and few qualified trainers.

“There is need to review the funding to VTCs, especially examining the issues linked to adequacy and efficiency of grants recently released to county governments,” says the study.

However, the State is in the process of improving the curriculum with the development of Competence Based Education Training (CBET) framework aimed at improving the content of courses offered.

The first study, conducted by Dalberg Design is dubbed Youth Not in Employment, Education or Training; Enablers and Barriers towards Achieving Career and Life goals, focused on youth (15-25 years).  

The second survey of employers and employees in the formal and informal sectors to determine entry-level skills among youth (18-30) in employment, had earlier been released by Aga Khan University. 

The  third study, conducted by the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC),  focused on Tvet institutions. 

“Rapid changes and the incessant technological disruptions require a working force able to adapt and learn rapidly,” says Dr Moses Ngware, a researcher at APHRC.

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