There is increased appreciation worldwide of the importance of skills, knowledge and innovation as drivers of social and economic development. Kenya, which aspires to become a middle income economy by the year 2030 will only realize an innovative economy through technological innovation. Policy makers should view education and training as a lifelong endeavor for the recipients to remain relevant and competitive in the labour market locally and globally. Increasingly, many jobs require specific technical knowledge. Labour market demands and demands of constantly evolving skills for specific occupations, require that trainers combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills that relevantly match the needs and demands of the job market.
As from the early 1980s, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Kenya received major attention from the government as a means to addressing the unemployment challenge through skills training. The government established Youth Polytechnics with the objective of imparting skills on Primary School leavers for wage and self-employment. The 8-4-4 educational reform initiated in 1984, emphasized Vocational Curriculum aimed at making learners self-reliant upon completing school. Skills acquired through TVET prepare students for a variety of positions in the industry and the informal sectors. Skilled youths are better placed and are able to advance to better-paid work, including entrepreneurial opportunities. Such training should be market driven and address current requirements of the workplace.
Kenya’s development blue print, the Vision 2030, identifies science, technology and innovation as key drivers to achieving the desired goal of a middle income status by the year 2030. The Vision, recognizes the need for relevant skills hence it places special demands on TVET as the engine that the economy must rely upon to generate adequate levels of the middle level manpower needed to drive the economy towards realization of the Vision goal. The Technical and Vocational Education and Training ACT of 2013, provides for among other things the establishment of a TVET system; governance and management of institutions offering technical and vocational education and training; coordinated assessment, examination and certification; institution of mechanisms for promoting access and equity in training; and assurance of standards, quality and relevance.