It’s time society appreciated the role of Tvets in education

Mukurweini Technical Training Institute

Students at Mukurweini Technical Training Institute in Nyeri County attend a plumbing lesson on March 3, 2020. The government is betting on TVETs to bring down the high rate of unemployment among the youth in Kenya.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • According to the 2020 KCSE exam results, out of the 747,161 candidates who sat the tests, only 143,140 scored grades that could see them join university.
  • As of last year, there were 106 registered Tvet institutions, which admitted twice the number of students absorbed by universities in 2020/2021.

I was displeased the other day when my friend was forced by his parents to go back to high school because he failed to get a university grade. The course he was offered at a local technical training institute did not sound appealing to his folks.

His parents, like many Kenyans, hold this myth that technical and vocational education and training (Tvet) is for failures. 

According to the 2020 KCSE exam results, out of the 747,161 candidates who sat the tests, only 143,140 scored grades that could see them join university.

So, what is the fate the remaining majority? Do they opt to repeat like my friend? Do they end up crestfallen and in unskilled jobs? Or do they opt for the Tvets?

As of last year, there were 106 registered Tvet institutions, which admitted twice the number of students absorbed by universities in 2020/2021.

Surprisingly, more than 2,000 of those who sat 2019 KCSE chose to pursue courses in Tvets even after qualifying for university.

In my view, they made that pragmatic decision after researching and assessing things on the ground.

Technical knowledge

Even though a degree is a milestone and a lifelong achievement, it is hard to convince a student to pursue an expensive engineering course at the university yet our roads are being built by the Chinese.

It does not make sense to learn a lot of theories on plumbing for four years yet candidates who took the same course at Tvets are taking all the jobs in the villages and towns.

It is high time society embraced and appreciated Tvets as they are flexible in offering formal, informal, and non-formal education.

They do this in two main ways. One is providing broad-based technical knowledge and transversal skills on which different occupations are based.

The second is providing vocational training that enables one to continually reinvent themselves through skills learned.

Finland offers global excellence in this form of education and is ranked fifth most innovative economy, according to Bloomberg 2017 Innovative Index. Isn’t that the kind of innovation competiveness Kenya needs?

Thomas, 20, studies Journalism and Media. Are you aged 10-20 and would like to be Nation’s young reporter? Email your 400-600-word article to [email protected]

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