Ekerubo Gietai Technical Training Institute (TTI) will soon be upgraded to a national polytechnic, according to President William Ruto’s directive to have a national polytechnic in every county.
About 200 new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions have been constructed nationwide, with many complete and with students.
The government intends to establish a TVET in each constituency and one national polytechnic in each county.
This will make it easier for the youths to access the institutions easily.
TVET Director Joyce Mwale represented the Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu during the institution’s graduation on April 6, 2023.
In his speech, the CS noted the responsibility to train a skillful, competent, and innovative workforce that matches the current industry requirements.
He said the country depends on skillful staffing to propel the nation towards achieving both medium and long-term national development agenda as envisaged in the sustainable development goals, Kenya Vision 2030 and the Kenya Kwanza government agenda.
Aligning to Vision 2030
The CS asked the management and staff of Ekerubo Gietai TTI to develop and offer programs around the theme of Vision 2030 in support of the government’s development agenda.
“Today, as we release this lot to the competitive world of innovation, I urge the staff and management of this institution to consider offering programs that will see the country realize its Vision 2030 program aimed at ending unemployment in the country,” the CS’s speech read.
The agenda aims at accelerating economic growth, focusing on agriculture and food security, micro, small and medium-term enterprises, affordable housing, healthcare, digital super highway, and creative economy.
The first graduation ceremony awarded five hundred thirty craftsmen and technicians certificates and diplomas.
“The craftsmen and technicians who have graduated today will no doubt play their role to bring the realization of Vision 2030 nearer,” added the CS.
The school recently received 100 virtual desktops from the Ministry of Education to establish the Konza digital skill laboratory under the Jitume project.
According to CS Machogu, this is one of the government’s interventions intended to create digital jobs and mitigate the problem of youth unemployment in the country.
He urged the youth already enrolled in the TTI and those yet to, to enroll for the Jitume program, which he noted is being offered for free, and take advantage of the many attractive online opportunities.
The projects are being implemented to promote youth employment and vocational education in Kenya.
The TTI has already partnered with over 10 industries in the tea sector in Nyamira, Kisii, Kericho, and Bomet counties and successfully implemented the projects.
This partnership enables the trainees to spend about 50% of their time in the industry, and by the time they finish their training, they are highly competent and ready for the job market.
Expanding and upgrading TVETs
Machogu also noted that the government is expanding training opportunities in TVETs to absorb the ever-increasing numbers of youths leaving the school system each year.
“Last year alone, over 800,000 students sat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations and less than a third of these will be absorbed by the public and private universities system. There’s a need to expand the TVETs as a big number will find their way there,” added Machogu.
However, the CS noted that there had been challenges to the TVETs, among them access, equity, relevance, and efficiency, which the government has addressed over the years.
He said the government is determined and has made giant strides in addressing the concerns.
Machogu assured that he would give the necessary support to ensure that Ekerubo Gietai TTI grows to national status, a thing which he noted will bring a significant change in the county.
“I wish to affirm that the Ministry of Education will offer the necessary support to ensure that the president’s directive is implemented.
Once the school acquires national status, it will bring about economic growth to our county and the surrounding communities,” he said.
Equipping Gietai TTI
The institution recently received training equipment for building and civil engineering, including land survey, narrowing the technology gap between the training ground and workplace.
The CS asked the management to utilize the equipment to generate income for the institute by establishing profitable income-generating activities.
The government is also constructing a modern library that will equip the learners with theory skills once complete.
The project is stalled, but CS Machogu assured that it would be complete once funds are availed in the next national budget allocation.
In March, Education CS Machogu was at the institution to launch assorted equipment for various courses, where he pledged to ensure that it is upgraded to a national institute.
Impact of TVETs
Tom Olango, Regional TVET Director, Ministry of Education, noted the significant role TVETs play in the growth of economies.
Mulati urged parents to bring their children to TTIs to train on various skills for self-employed and even be job creators for others.
“Once you pass through our TVETs and work very well, you are able to empower yourself and empower others and even the community at large. By that, our economy would have grown,” said Olango.
Marketing the institution
Mulati asked the institution to do enough marketing so that more youths join the school and gain life-changing skills and also keep them away from bad company and influence.
“This is the only way to go and I encourage this institution to do thorough marketing to ensure that more youths flock to this place to utilize the efforts put here by the government and also gain skills that will turn around their lives and help grow the economy of our country,” added Olango.
The institution’s Principal, Geffrey Andama, noted the efforts being made by the government to ensure that the best is offered to the learners.
He says despite the challenges, the institution was slowly growing, an effort he noted made it be recognized to be upgraded to a national polytechnic.
“This is a historic moment for our school to hold a first graduation, eight years since its establishment. We have had challenges, but we have all grown together this far. We thank God and our graduands for enduring this far,” said the principal.
When school started, the enrolment of the students was very low, which the principal noted has steadily risen to above 2,000 despite many challenges and unfavorable conditions.
He, however, exuded confidence that, with time, the institution could attract more learners.
“Once the challenges we are currently facing are solved, I am very sure we will experience a growing population in the school, with learners from all parts of the country enrolling for various courses,” said the principal.
Ongoing road repairs
The road connecting to the school has been challenging for the years the institution has operated.
It is impassable during the heavy rainy season and hinders the students, staff, and visitors from accessing the school.
He, however, explained that he has had meetings with the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) officials and the local political leadership.
He remains optimistic that the issue will be resolved soonest to open up the school for easy accessibility to the outside world.
The institution is currently accessed through the Tombe junction off Ekerenyo-Ikonge Road. He noted the road has since been opened up and hopes that once the heavy rains subside, it will be murrammed.
“I have spoken to the KeRRA, our area MP Joash Nyamoko and Nyamira governor, Amos Nyaribo, about the road connecting to the school from Tombe junction. We have agreed that it will be done soonest.
Once the rains subside, the problem can be solved. The MP has also assured me that the road will be tarmacked as plans are underway to promote the institute to a national status,” said Mr. Andama.
In 2022, the school partnered with Germany, and they started to offer Mechanical Plant Technology courses through the Germany International Corporation in partnership with the government of Kenya.
The first lot is currently in year two.
The unique course targets exposing the learners to the industry through practice more than the theory part of it.
The learners go through theory for a term and are sent to the industry for the next term.
This is done interchangeably until they complete their course. They will be industry-ready by the time they finish, and the training goes in line with the training mode used in Germany.
Courses offered in the school include plumbing, building and civil engineering, fashion and design, beauty therapy, computer studies and informatics, business studies, entrepreneurship, and mechanical engineering, among others.
Call for admission
Andama has called on parents to bring their children to the institution to acquire technical skills, which he noted are better paying than white-collar jobs.
He also noted that the government caters for part of the student fees through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Services (KUCCPS) and the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), urging learners not to fear enrolling in the school.
Also, the principal said the institution has laid modes of payment for school fees and never sends away students.
KUCCPS remits around KSh7,000 per learner every quarter, whereas the HELB funds each eligible student up to KSh40,000 annually.
The school charges a total of KSh56,000 per year.
“We don’t send students away for fees, and that should not be a hindrance. Acquiring technical skills is now paying better than the white-collar job market, which is flooded.
I urge our parents to bring their children to this school, and they won’t be the same when they complete their respective courses,” said the principal.
Ekerubo Gietai TTI has a teaching staff of 65 and a non-teaching staff of 28.
Currently, the institution’s population stands at 2,100 students currently. Intakes to various courses being offered are open across the year.
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Recently, the area MP, Joash Nyamoko, bought the school a bus that will go a long way in helping pick students living far from the institution to the school for lessons.