In March this year, Safaricom Foundation launched Waithaka Vocational Training Centre at the cost of over Ksh.33 Million. The center is meant to act as the model center for more to come as the Foundation set aside Ksh130 Million to put almost 1000 young people through TVETs. The main focus is on plumbing, welding, Food and Beverage and Electrical Engineering.
This was in partnership with Zizi Afrique Foundation and other TVET institutions and the aim is to replicate the centers in 11 other institutions from Nairobi, Marsabit, West Pokot, Mandera, Kwale, Narok, Kirinyaga, Kitui, Kisumu and Vihiga.
Then COVID-19 and the attendant school closures and partial lockdowns came about and disrupted a number of things. But not all is lost as classes are now moving online for the foreseeable future. As at today, 300 students who have been shortlisted for Safaricom Foundation’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme will begin online classes on 22nd June. This is still in partnership with Zizi Afrique Foundation and TookKit iSkills, a social enterprise organization that will roll out the program.
With online learning comes the need for devices and towards this, over 70 students who do not have access to smartphones will receive free devices courtesy of Safaricom Foundation to enable them access eLearning materials as they await re-opening of learning institutions. This way, vulnerable youth across the country will be given opportunities to continue training in employable areas and give them a better chance at employability.
It is a good thing that TVET is making a strong comeback because as a country we have had a very unfortunate history of labeling the people who fall out at earlier stages of education. So much so that if a student makes it to class 8 and is unable to go to high school, this student is immediately branded a failure. Its almost like they get a sticker on their face.
And yet an analysis by Higher Education Loans Board shows that employability is at 96 % for people with Technical and Vocational Education and Training compared to 40 percent among those with a university degree.