- The launch of the CBS gives impetus to the institution to continue offering top-notch courses.
- The institution has adequate and modern facilities for the task ahead.
- Specific skills needed in the job market will be trained to the learners.
The Nyeri National Polytechnic was accredited as a Qualification Awarding Institution (QAI) as they launched the Competency-Based Skilling (CBS) Program after developing a new curriculum for high-quality and inclusive learning. The QAI Certification was awarded to the institution by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA).
The structure of the CBS curriculum launch was to bring on board the industry and other trades to the polytechnic by opening collaborations, linkages for dual learning, and industrial attachment to the students.
The institution’s Chief Principal, Mr. David Mwangi, in his speech during the launch on May 12, 2023, termed the launch as a significant milestone, having developed 19 curricula in Phase One and 72 in Phase Two.
“I am glad that Nyeri National Polytechnic has been able to develop these skills, and more importantly, the 32 of the ones in Phase Two, which focus on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL),” Mwangi stated.
Mandated by the law
An act of parliament—Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act (2013)—provides for the management and governance of such institutions to provide for coordinated assessment, examination, and certification to promote access and equity in training.
Nyeri National Polytechnic prides itself as the third institution countrywide to get accreditation in the government’s plan to ensure inclusivity and equality in education.
Its curriculum development journey started in August 2022, and by October of the same year, 19 curricula were finalized.
The second phase began in January this year.
The development process was quality-assured, and qualifications were registered by the KNQA.
“Issuing of this certificate means that Nyeri National Polytechnic has developed a battery of qualification skill sets that they will train and offer certificates.
Other institutions can therefore train the qualifications that this polytechnic has developed, but when they graduate, they will get a Certificate in honor of Nyeri National Polytechnic,” Esther Muoria, the Principal Secretary, State Department for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), noted.
Ms. Muoria stated that they were aiming at awarding 6 TVET institutions, including the Eldoret and Sigalagala National Polytechnics, by June this year.
Meru National Polytechnic and Kenya Coast National Polytechnic have preceded Nyeri National Polytechnic in the Quality and Accreditation Institute (QAI) accreditation.
Nyeri National Polytechnic preparedness
The institution prides itself on having modern and adequate facilities that will help to easily facilitate the CBS training.
In addition, the Chief Principal explained that more developments and training sessions have been put in place to ensure ease in the program’s rollout.
Mr. Mwangi explained that the trainers in the newly-developed courses have undergone immense training to ensure they offer the best to the trainees.
“TVET trainers from 24 institutions have been attending sensitization sessions organized by the institution for the last three days, and now I am certain they know what CBS is, and they will train the learners accordingly,” he noted.
Further, he explained that they have partnered with different bodies to embrace digitization in CBS, which will make the rollout process seamless by investing in an online student portal and a digital app.
He confirmed his collaboration with ABNO Softwares International, a Nairobi-based software development company that helped in creating a new portal for processing CBS assessments based on its structure.
Additionally, Mr. Mwangi noted that the institution had developed an industry liaison portal, which will come in handy to manage the industry liaison practices.
“We want to have the trainers, trainees and the industry coming on board in the implementation process. With the industry liaison portal, we will not need to go for industrial attachment assessment, it will be self-assessing to see whether the facility is good or otherwise for that particular course,” he expounded.
The portal also allows industry players to interact competently by posting what is available in their organizations and the number of interns they need and advertising for job opportunities.
While offering reference to the success of the new curriculum, the principal recognized the presence of representatives from the Cosmetology Level 6 course, which lacks certification in the country.
However, as a result of a new curriculum, 40 students were awaiting certification from the institution.
Anthony Kimeu, an electrical technician trainee at Level 6 and a second-year student at the school, also confirmed the success of the CBS training.
“I am proud to be among the pioneers of the CBS January 2023 group. The CBS training has been very engaging and a hands-on course, which is practical-oriented for self-employment.
I am assured we, as the trainees, will transit effortlessly into the industry,” said Kimeu.
He further commended the management for providing adequate equipment and machines for smooth learning and performing practical tasks.
Collaboration is key
To create linkages, the curricula brought together different stakeholders and county government officials to guarantee its success.
“Industry experts know why students are not fitting well in the industry. The students are supposed to learn what is demanded by different industries,” the principal explained the reason for collaboration, noting that the occupational standards were a great handbook in developing the curriculum.
He appreciated the presence of industries, including the Saccos, which would liaise with the Microfinance curriculum, The Jua Kali Association, and tea factories, among others, that would work together to instill great skill sets in the trainees.
His plan upon rollout was to send the students for practical learning fortnightly into the industries and complement the hard skills acquired with theory learning.
Nyeri National Polytechnic also received great support from the county government.
On his part, the Nyeri Constituency Member of Parliament, Maina Mathenge, termed the event as momentous and a game-changer seeing the polytechnic was the biggest learning institution in his constituency.
“This occasion is important because it opens a door for those with technical skills but no certification.
This means out of the five vocational training centers in Nyeri, students pursuing training in polytechnics can undergo training in their institution, sit an exam that is set, moderated, and marked in Nyeri Polytechnic.
If they pass, they get the certificate,” said Mathenge in a statement addressing the press.
The MP noted that the government has continually supported the institution by funding its students through bursaries, with the latest KSh1.8M endowment fund benefiting 485 students from the school.
Also, 30 chief principals from technical and vocational centers across the country attended the launch to rubberstamp their support and acceptance of the Nyeri National Polytechnic CBS program.
The PS State Department of TVETs explained that to solve the challenge of unemployment in the country, institutions need to give learners something they can actually do in the market.
Ms. Muoria said that the department is working collaboratively with other departments, such as the State Department of Labor and the State Department for Diaspora Affairs, to ensure the students directly connect to job opportunities after graduation.
“The President has urged us to work together to beat the problem of unemployment. I will go ahead and have a Memorandum of Understanding with The Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK) who are present today so that together we can be able to put the necessary landscape in place for these young people,” said the PS.
Additionally, she urged the principals present to ensure they are ready so that when opportunities come knocking for their trainees, they can easily grab them.
“The current government administration is creating opportunities in outside countries through diplomacy. Therefore, I am instructing principals of technical institutions to have a German language trainer so that they can be ready,” Ms. Muoria stated.
Recrafting of the curriculum, as stated, will also increase chances in the industry through dual training with different partner institutions globally, meaning students will be awarded dual certificates.
The chair, Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) CPA Rosemary Njogu, appreciated the relevance of the new curriculum stating that it would go a long way in supporting the bottom-up economic transformation agenda.
“The Vision 2030 emphasizes the relationship between education and training and the labor market for a knowledgeable, relevant and well-equipped workforce. As a country, we must match the skills with the job market,” she said, also noting that without proper technical skills, a country cannot develop.
She further encouraged young people who do not qualify for diplomas in colleges to train through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), be assessed and get a certificate.
“Once you have the RPL certificate, you can be registered in the Kenya National Qualifications Framework that puts you on Level 2 (O-Level) or 3 (A-Level), at level 3 you can be able to acquire more skills in higher levels up to Level 7, which is a university master’s degree,” advised the KNQA chair.
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The chair promised that KNQA will continue to work together with stakeholders to ensure the agenda of TVET remains robust to spur the economy of Kenya through the production of skilled youth.