Buoyed up by its sterling performance and growing stature in the field of university education and Research, Kisii University, a premier institution of higher learning in the Nyanza Region of Kenya, has again scored a major first after opening another page in the coveted field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
This comes immediately after the Ministry of Education’s recent registration of Kisii University TVET Institute (KUTI), a public TVET College to be domiciled within the University’s Main Campus in Kisii town.
According to the Kisii University Vice-Chancellor Prof. John Akama, the institution went through a thorough and rigorous process before being considered for registration and accreditation by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) to host a TVET Centre within the University.
“It is a great milestone and achievement for our University to be given a green light to host a TVET Centre, following approval from TVETA, which certified our institution as one of the most qualified for registration by the Ministry of Education to offer TVET courses within our University,” discloses Prof Akama.
The VC clarified that it was not a walk in the park for the University to get the coveted TVET Registration Certificate.
It was out of resilience and commitment to walk through a two-year journey to convince the officials from both TVETA and the Ministry of Education who visited the University to assess all the set-out Quality Assurance and Standards requirements for registration and accreditation of TVET centres and institutions in the country.
Prof Akama reveals that immediately after Registration and Accreditation, the University Management swiftly moved in and appointed a TVET Deputy Director and Board to run the Kisii University TVET Institute.
He says the institute will be hosted within the University’s ultra-modern ICT Complex, adding that alongside the ICT infrastructure, there is state-of-the-art equipment that will aid the newly-established institute to offer all approved and accredited TVET courses including, but not limited to, Diploma in Electrical Engineering, Laboratory Technology, and Diploma in Clinical Medicine, among others.
On staffing, Prof Akama confirms that all those to teach various courses in the institute have already been accredited by the TVETA as part of the efforts to assure learners of competence-based professional training. The University administration has committed to the hiring of highly qualified TVET trainers.
Allaying fears that the establishment of a TVET Institute within the University will cannibalize the courses offered within the institution and government-sponsored technical institutions around the University, Prof. Akama said the intention of the University management is not to kill or sabotage any existing technical institution.
It is purely out of increasing demand for technical skills training and expertise in the fast-changing world labour market that calls for increased technical training from various tertiary institutions, including universities.
“I wish to put the record straight that Kisii University’s quest for the establishment of a TVET Institute within its ranks does not in any way target to sabotage or create unfavourable competition against nearby technical training institutions. Ours is based on the long-term aspiration and vision to train technically skilled labourforce for the increasing world labour market demands,” clarifies Prof. Akama.
The administrator says that in European countries, middle-level colleges are linked to universities, with middle-level college trainees emphasizing operational and practical skills before moving to universities to specialize in management skills as a backup for sustainable career development.
“It is important for policy-makers in the country to re-think the conversation around having a symbiotic linkage between our TVET Institutions and universities to ensure the middle-level technical institutions offer both operational and practical skills to the trainees before they transit to universities to back up their practical skills with management skills as part of the efforts of career progression and sustainability in the fast-changing world job market,” advises Akama.
Kisii University TVET Institute Director Dr. Tom Mboya says the purpose of the Institute is to prepare young people for the highly demanding job and self-employment opportunities presented by the technical skills labor market.
“At the Kisii University TVET Institute, we highly support the continuous professional development of various categories of people. The rapid technological changes demand that workers continuously update their knowledge and skills,” observes Mboya.
The Don argues that, unlike in the past when a job could be held for life, it is a common practice now for someone to change vocations several times, a reason why Kisii University TVET Institute has swiftly moved in to tap on that opportunity through the provision of broad-based technical knowledge and transversal skills on which different occupations can be based on.
“In contrast with the industrial paradigm of yonder, today’s global economy lays the onus on the worker to continually re-invent himself or herself. In the past, workers were assured of a job for life, with full-time employment, clear occupational roles and well-established career paths, but that is longer the case,” states Dr. Mboya.
Dr. Mboya says the knowledge-dependent global economy is currently characterized by rapid changes in technology and related work modes, a development that often finds many workers out of work.
That has prompted Kisii TVET Institute to ensure such workers are re-skilled to enable them to find and get back to work as they continue pursuing the career paths that they are passionate about.
“The geographical location of Kisii University TVET Institute in a rural-urban setting enables students to reside closer home and thus reduce cost, whereas the private hostels provide affordable accommodation for the students,” observes Dr. Mboya.