Taskforce reports on the effect of reforms on TVET

A new report, Enhancing access, relevance, transition, equity and quality for effective curriculum reforms implementation, on the implementation of education reforms in Kenya recommends that universities rationalise all the programmes and courses they offer to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the admission of the first cohort of students who complete a competency-based school curriculum to enter higher education in 2029.

The report of the taskforce recommends the rationalisation to ensure a relatively seamless transition from basic education to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions and universities.

This is to ensure that universities meet the changing needs of school leavers.

Education reform in Kenya has included a competency-based curriculum, which was designed by a team based at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and was launched by the ministry of education in 2017.

In the old system, learners spent eight years in primary school, four years in secondary and another four years in college.

Under the new curriculum, learners will spend two years in pre-primary education, six in primary, three in junior secondary, three in senior secondary school and another three in university.

This curriculum is aligned with those of other countries in the East African Community and with international best practice.

Lecturers to be prepared

The report proposes that universities retool lecturers by providing pedagogical training responsive to the competency-based approach and that the Commission for University Education enforce rationalisation of lecturer recruitment to meet the changing educational needs in a cost-effective way.

The commission oversees the maintenance of standards by licensing and monitoring the performance of licensed institutions.

Additionally, the commission has to fast-track the development and review of university programmes, which should articulate better with the competency-based curriculum’s three pathways in secondary school.

The ministry of education should also expand infrastructure to enable universities to offer the courses aligned with these three secondary school pathways: arts and sports science; social sciences and science; technical engineering and mathematics.

According to the report, the commission also has to oversee the integration of a community service learning policy as a critical aspect of university programmes.

Changes in the TVET sector

While the adoption of the new curriculum in schools has also seen the sector for TVET adopt a competency-based education and training programme, the task force that compiled the curriculum reform report recommended that the ministry of education expand infrastructure to also support the effective delivery of the TVET competency-based programme.

Other recommendations include tasking the education ministry to drive reforms in the TVET sector.

The ministry should strengthen the capacity of the Kenya Technical Training College and technical universities should train instructors of TVET.

In addition, the Technical and Vocational Training Authority (TVETA) should establish a national framework for incubation centres in TVET institutions; and the ministry of education should fast-track the establishment and operationalisation of a TVET funding board.

In a further focus on TVET, the report recommended the setting up of framework to facilitate the sharing of infrastructure and human resources between the senior secondary schools and TVET institutions.

The ministry should also develop and implement a national programme for career guidance to enhance the transition of TVET graduates into the world of work.

In addition, the ministry has to adopt a differentiated unit cost funding model that allows for TVET programmes that require a higher unit cost of operation to be adequately funded.

The training of instructors has to be coordinated to ensure that they acquire relevant content and pedagogical skills and that the ministry, in collaboration with stakeholders, should conduct advocacy and publicity campaigns to change the perception of TVET among students and the public.

The report also recommends a tightening of the regulatory scope of the TVETA to include all training institutions offering diploma, certificate and artisan courses outside the ambit of the ministry of education.

The ministry, in collaboration with other government agencies, should also develop a policy framework for collaboration between TVET institutions and industry to enhance the quality and relevance of the curriculum.