Government’s plan to set 1,540 vocational training centres across the country by 2022 are facing challenges due to delayed disbursement of funds by the National Treasury.
Education Secretary Prof. George Magoha told Parliament that the Treasury is yet to release some Sh1 billion that his ministry requested for in January to construct 30 training hubs.
These delays and challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic could halt the project that seeks to enrol more youth to technical institutions boost their employability.
“We have a pending exchequer request at the National Treasury amounting to Sh1.023 billion since January 2020. Our concern is that if we do not receive the funds, the projects will stall because there is no allocation in the 2020/21 FY budget,” said Prof Magoha.
The state has been pushing to have thousands of students join the vocational training centres, which admit Class Eight and Form Four leavers but in order to supply the labour market with skilled laborers in an economy with job seekers eyeing white-collar jobs.
Increased enrollment has seen institutions grapple with financial constraints to accommodate the growing number of student population.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows that enrolment in technical vocational education and training institutions (TVETs) was at 430,598 by December 2019, which is a 19.7% increment from 359,852 in 2018.
The increment coincided with a fall in the number of students joining universities, which is expected to go down by 1.9% to 509,473 in 2019/20 from 519,462 in 2018/19.
The decline in number of students joining universities is partly attributed to the dwindling number of candidates joining the higher institutions through self-sponsorship.
The government maintains it on trac with its ambitious plan to build 1,540 vocational-training centres by 2022, but most of the current institutions are in a poor state and with obsolete training equipment.
Most of these institutions are also struggling to deliver quality training because of disparities in student’s entry levels.