Tvet-Sector 2019-04-08T10:04:30+00:00

Skills Development in the TVET Sector in Kenya

  • Introduction

Healthy socio-economic growth and development of societies and communities depends, to a great extent, upon the quality and effectiveness of their human resources development (HRD) systems. In the recent past, there has been a shift to acknowledge the importance of such systems and their linkages with employment and labor market needs. The challenges of creating new jobs and higher living standards can only be addressed through an education system that can produce the right skills in a context of globalization, and increasingly complex markets. Trade expansion, industrialization, and the employment market are becoming very demanding. The question for many in Africa has been, is our education system producing the right workers to serve in this changing environment? That there has been an increasing trend of unemployed people among the educated indicate an increasing mismatch between education and jobs mainly occasioned by country’s education and training system.

For example, in Kenya TVET remains fragmented and delivered by different providers at various qualification levels. The fragmentation has arisen from the un-coordinated actions of multiple government and non-government actors. Governmental TVET institutions under the education ministry have been concentrating on producing middle level technical workers. Meanwhile, in non-formal TVET programs, NGOs, and private institutions offer employment-oriented TVET programs to various target groups, including school leavers, people in employment, school drop outs and marginalized groups in the labor market. But unlike formal TVET, these programs are not yet systematically delivered. Informal on-the-job training is widespread, but due to the absence of a systematic assessment and certification system there are currently no mechanisms to recognize informal occupational learning. Traditional apprenticeships in the small and micro enterprise sector constitute another presumably important, yet entirely un-researched, training environment. As a result of these challenges, the Kenya government embarked on TVET reforms a decade ago.

TVET reforms in Kenya reflects an important paradigm shift of recent years and place quality and relevance as its priority. The reforms focus on integrating global best practices to link to the TVET system outputs with labor sector requirements. TVET must respond to the competence, motivated and adaptable workforce capable of driving economic growth and development. The reforms have been majorly focusing on institutions, HRD, and improvement of the quality of teaching and training through infrastructural development and provision of equipment. Kenya hopes to achieve a TVET system which is relevant and flexible, effective, efficient, accessible, sustainable, and which fulfills its general obligations in an integrated training and working environment. TVET reforms aim to provide the Kenyan labor force with market-oriented training, a structural ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and market needs, high quality in teaching through comprehensive and continuous teacher training and system. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 and Vision 2030 acknowledges the need to reform education and training through sessional paper no. 14 of 2012.  There is need for better integration between the basic, TVET and University sectors of our training. The TVET subsector focuses on providing skills that meet the workplace as well as self-employment guaranteeing human and economic development and therefore its outcomes must be human resources fit for the job market.

TVET Sector Reforms

Over the last 10 years, the government has enacted the TVET act of 2013 through which it created several institutions. These include the TVET Authority which accredits and carries out quality assurance for TVET training and educational institutions, the TVET CDACC which develops curricular and carries out assessment and examinations for the sector; and the TVET funding to support resource mobilization and management for the sector. In 2014, the Government enacted the Kenya National Qualifications framework act, which established the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA). The work of the KNQA cuts across the basic, TVET and university to bring better coordination and harmony between the various levels of the education system. In recognition of the important role that the sector is playing is supplying manpower to the nation, the Government is now building and equipping at least one TVET institution is each of the 290 constituencies in the country. TVET students are also now supported through government funding (ksh 30,000 per student per year) and have access to higher education loans (upto ksh 40,000 per student per year). Fees for all TVET students has also be standardized at ksh 56,000 per year. The Government has also started implementing competence-based Education and training (CBET) for the sector; and re-branding is on-going.

Sector Skills Councils and Occupational Standards

Quality and relevant skills development all over the world has been achieved through the involvement of the industry and in most cases coordinated by chambers of commerce and industry. Most of the chambers in many countries draw membership from the corporate sector, both private and public, including SMEs. Chambers in many ways have supported skills development through engaging different players which include academia and industrialists as seen in many countries like Germany, Singapore, India, South Korea among other countries. Industry supports skills development through the development of occupational standards (OS) which inform training standards to guide curriculum development, delivery, assessment and certification. Kenya does not have a structured industry that supports skills development. A few attempts that have been made on an adhoc basis but whose success is yet to be felt include efforts by organizations like LIWA, KAM, HFCK among others. A more comprehensive attempt is currently being considered through PWG Permanent working groups), however, this is yet to yield satisfactory results.

For Kenya to develop and implement a comprehensive and sustainable skills development system, it is proposed that the training sector be established as the basis of determining which skills to be developed. The sector will also be the source of occupation standards through their respective Sector Skills Advisory Committees (SSAC) can operate. This system needs to bring on all the players, with the KNQA developing a national policy on development of a sustainable skills development system; and development of occupational standards with various sectors; while TVETA needs to develop training standards to ensure that training matches expectations of industry. Actual training will take place in technical and vocational training institutions with TVETA providing quality assurance. National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA), Association of Professional Societies in East Africa (APSEA) and Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) should form the core of the team that should be involved in coordination of this exercise and ensure that the roles and responsibilities of each player are well spelt out. The following training sectors currently exist and need to be coordinated by sector skills councils;

Training Sector Sector regulator/Association/Players
1 Auto and Auto Components Kenya Association of Manufacturers
2 Food processing Kenya Association of Manufacturers
3 Textile and clothing Kenya Association of Manufacturers
4 Telecommunication Communication Authority of Kenya
5 IT and ITE ICT Authority
6 Electronic and IT Hardware Kenya Association of Manufacturers
7 Furniture and Furnishing Kenya Association of Manufacturers
8 Beauty and Wellness Kenya Private Sector Alliance
9 Gems & Jewelry Kenya Chamber of Mines
10 Media and Entertainment Media Council of Kenya
11 Leather and Leather Goods Kenya Leather Authority
12 Tourism, Hospitality and Travel Tourism Regulatory Authority
13 Building, construction and Real estate National Construction Authority
14 Energy and Extractive Sector Energy Regulatory Authority
15 Water, Environment and Natural Resources National Environment Management Authority & Water Resource Management Authority
16 Health care The proposed Health Authority
17 Pharma and Life Sciences Kenya association of manufacturers and the proposed Health Authority
18 Agriculture Agriculture and Food Authority and Biosafety Authority
19 Transport and Logistics Kenya Civil Aviation Authority

National Transport and Safety Authority

Kenya Maritime Authority

Kenya Railways

Kenya Roads Board

20 Rescue Services and Disaster management Disaster Management Coordination Unit
21 Business, Financial services and insurance (BFSI) Capital Market Authority

Insurance Regulatory Authority

Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority

Kenya Power

Kenya Revenue Authority

22 Retail and Wholesale Services Kenya Private Sector Alliance
23 Education/Skill development for teachers/Trainers Teacher’s Service Commission

TVET Authority,

Commission for University Education

24 Security Private Security Regulatory Authority

Kenya Defense Force

National Police Service

25 Domestic workers National Employment Authority