Technical colleges to commence online learning

Monday, August 17th, 2020 00:00 |
The CAS and CAPYEI executive director Ndung’u Kahihu. Photo/PD/COURTESY

In an effort to ensure continuity in teaching and learning, the government has launched alternative teaching platforms for TVET institutions after they were closed in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The Ministry of Education has now moved to provide an online platform for 147 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, now that face-to-face sessions are expected to resume next year.

 The platform seeks to facilitate continued learning for students, who have now been at home for five months owing to the significant rise in daily infections of the coronavirus disease.

Education Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Zack Kinuthia has said learners in Vocational Training Centers (VTCs) and TVET institutions can now resume their studies after the ministry in partnership with CAP Youth Empowerment Institute (CAPYEI) and the MasterCard Foundation launched an online content delivery platform known as Learning Management System.

“This application is timely as it solves predicaments that were facing learners in VTCs and TVET institutions, whose studies had been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Kinuthia during the launch  of the platform at Othaya VTC in Nyeri county.

Open, Distance and e-Learning 

Unlike primary, secondary and universities, which have alternative online learning, TVET institutions do not have any.

The adoption of online learning as a method of teaching has been slow, especially amongst the TVET institutions largely due to lack of an established legal framework and standards to guide a proper roll-out.

However, that was addressed in April this year after the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVETA) developed the standards that set the requirements and guidelines for the implementation of Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL).

These standards, which were developed through consultations with stakeholders and Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), was necessitated by the need for establishing requirements governing the quality of training services in the TVET Sector. 

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha recently indicated that 70 per cent of universities have adopted virtual learning and challenged other institutions to adopt the same in order to ensure that learners don’t lose out as they prepare to reopen next year. 

Kinuthia noted that the TVET platform, which  is the first of its kind, will ensure that learners don’t miss out.

“This online application is quite significant since it will enable our young people to continue acquiring employability skills even at these challenging times,” explained Kinuthia.

The platform, he explained, is an interactive programme that is both web and mobile based with online and offline functionalities.

It allows for offline usage, where  students can save content and interactions while on the Internet and use it later when not connected to the internet, with users also being able to submit their content for uploading to the servers.

Inspired by prevailing situation

It is a flexible and scalable multi-college system that will allow different vocational training centres to access digitised curriculum content, deliver training, assess track and grade trainees beside management of educational content among other complementary features.

CAPYEI executive director Ndung’u Kahihu said the move to invent the platform was prompted by the prevailing situation, even as he described it as a delivery response programme to facilitate virtual learning in selected 147 TVET institutions and VTCs across the country.

“Since 2014, CAPYEI has, in partnership with VTCs and Tvet institutions jointly empowered the youth with skills geared towards solving unemployment in the country,” Ndung’u said.

The MasterCard Foundation representative, Jedidah Kandagor said they are also working with the Ministry and CAPYEI to empower five million Kenyans with skill development in a bid to create opportunities to them particularly during the Covid-19 season.

“The foundation stepped up to support to countries and partners through the Covid-19 recovery and resilience programme under which the programme of learning management system falls,” said Kandagor.

Kinuthia warned that the government will stop funding institutions equipping learners with theory training alone, saying in the current regime, training should involve more practical skills.

More on Education