TVETs key to achieving Big Four agenda projects
The strength of a country’s economy is determined by two factors ––skills of her workforce and the productivity that comes out of it.
Therefore, skilling is a vital tool that contributes to the rapid production of goods and services that are a springboard to prosperity.
One of President Kenyatta’s agenda is to see every Kenyan empowered to be productive.
For a long time the development of a nation has been pegged on the amount of natural resources available within its landmass.
However, converting these resources to usefulness requires skills and innovation.
To achieve this, it is imperative that governments create an enabling environment by putting in place elaborate infrastructures that favours productivity.
The understanding that sustainable economic growth and general development depends on productivity explains why in the last six years, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government has continued to invest heavily in revamping the education sector.
As a way of overhauling the education sector, the government is implementing policies aimed at transforming learning from “theory” to practical-based, in order to equip learners with skill-sets that foster production.
For this reason, the government has since 2013 continued to devote immense investment into scientific research, skilling of the workforce as well as prioritising the teaching of mathematics, science and technology in our schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities.
In addition, the government is implementing the competence-based education in early and basic learning, which not only gives children latitude to focus on their area of interest, but also develop in them specific competencies necessary for production.
It is important to underscore that the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector is integral to the realisation of Vision 2030 and its derivative economic blueprint, the Big Four Agenda.
It is for this reason that the government not only continues to implement a subsidised mandatory basic education policy, but is also extending it to TVET and university education.
Through TVET institutions, the government is aggressively implementing a special technical training policy that targets to equip at least five million Kenyans with select hands-on skills such as mechanic, electrical engineering, welding, masonry, carpentry, tailoring, hospitality, entertainment and beauty courses by 2022.
The graduates of TVET are the skilled workforce that President Uhuru is banking to realise Big Four Agenda projects, which he wants to achieve as part of his legacy.
The seriousness accorded to the TVET sector is demonstrated by the government’s commitment to put up a Technical Training Institution (TTI) in each Constituency.
So far, President Kenyatta has facilitated the construction of 187 TTIs.
To supplement TTIs, the government has additionally constructed more than 1,100 Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) in all the 47 counties across the country.
TTIs and VTCs are not only supposed to be institutions for learning, but also centres of innovation and creativity.
TVET institutions can for example be transformed into mini-processing factories for commodities such as milk, cotton, tea, meat, sunflower, wheat as well as fruits.
That means that there is nothing that hinders every part of this country from achieving economic development.
It also means that through skilling, poverty and unemployment will be dealt a deathblow.
If the vision of transforming TTIs and VTCs into small factories of commodities and economic opportunity zones is realised then there is no doubt that President Kenyatta’s signature projects under Big Four Agenda would be achieved much earlier. — The writer is Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Education