Vocational education at the crossroads: inculcating skills competencies into trainees

Vocational education at the crossroads: inculcating skills competencies into trainees

Author: 
Dr. Ibuathu Charles Njati
Abstract: 

There has been heighted demand for relevant skills training and information on how labour markets operate, especially in the context of addressing unemployment challenges in Africa, and Kenya in particular. This has faced various policy implementation difficulties at the local level by governments. The study addressed the expected outcomes which were to: determine the planning strategies employed during training in vocational skills, training requirements for competency based skills acquisition among trainees at vocational training centres and assess ways trainees are exposed to new scientific and technological skills during workplace attachment. The review of literature showed that education reforms can be effective if countries have capacities to make them operational, with trained staff, effective organizational processes, functioning institutions and the existence of tools and resources to plan, implement and manage effective and custom-made education policies and plans. The improvement of existing vocational skills training in the context of sustainable development goal 4;To Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all is the way to go. The study adopted descriptive study design. 6 Vocational training centres in Meru and Embu Counties with 90 second years drawn from trades of carpentry, masonry and tailoring using random stratified sampling technique were picked. The 18 instructors instructing these trades, 12 members of board of management and local vocational education officers purposively participated in the study. Questionnaires, interview schedules and document analysis were used to collect data. Data analysis was done using percentages, ANOVA and descriptions. This formed the basis of, discussions and recommendations. The findings showed that 70% of the instructors interviewed said institutions were struggling to implement their strategic plans due to financial constraints. Majority of trainees rated the strategic plans feasibility above 50%. Availability of improved and modern training materials (78%) is a fundamental requirement during rollout of training in a trade. 70 % of instructors and 73% of masonry trainees were aware about concept of competency based skills training. Based on ANOVA computations at p=0.000<0.05about the mean rating of each of the three sub‐groups (x=2.07 for lecturers, x =2.02 for students, and x=1.93 for workplace supervisors) regarding the statement 50% weighting of students’ reports is appropriate’ was below the theoretical mean indicating disagreement on the part of respondents. Respondents perceived as inappropriate the 50% weighting of the workplace experiences reports submitted by trainee. The means of the three groups were slightly above the theoretical mean (x=2.5) about the statement ‘assessment of trainees by instructors during workplace attachment is not necessary’. Thus, all the three categories of respondents rejected the statement. The study concluded that vocational training centres were struggling to implement their strategic plans mostly due to financial constraints. The study recommends that the governments of third world countries should enforce competency based training among vocational training centres as matter of good training policy.

Paper No: 
1886