Lack of Interest: Over Half a Million Students Yet to Apply for TVET Placement

Concerns have been raised over the low application rate for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in Kenya. The Education Cabinet Secretary, Ezekiel Machogu, disclosed that out of the 703,121 students who scored below a C+ in the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams and are eligible for placement in TVET institutions, only 145,060 students have applied for placement. This represents a mere 21% of the total eligible candidates.

Machogu addressed the National Assembly Education Committee on Thursday, shedding light on the issue and acknowledging that funding challenges have been undermining the tertiary education sector.

The government’s effort to boost TVET enrollment saw the introduction of a capitation grant in the Financial Year 2018-19, with an annual tuition fee set at Sh56,420. However, despite the increase in the number of trainees enrolled in TVET institutions, the budgetary allocation has remained fixed at Sh5.2 billion annually.

In the last Financial Year 2022-23, there was a capitation deficit of Sh4.64 billion. As a result, the capitation grant per student was reduced from Sh30,000 to as low as Sh13,000 per year. Similarly, the average loan per trainee also experienced a decline, dropping from Sh40,000 to Sh35,000 per annum.

The new funding model aims to provide varying levels of support to different categories of trainees. The government projects that under this model, 42,144 TVET trainees will be fully funded, relieving their families of any financial burden. Applicants classified as vulnerable will receive 80% of the government scholarship and a 20% loan of the program cost, with no contribution required from their households. Meanwhile, extremely needy students will receive a 70% scholarship and a 30% loan, while those categorized as needy will receive a 50% scholarship and a 30% loan, with their households contributing 20% of the program cost. Lastly, the less needy will receive a 32% scholarship and a 48% loan, with their households contributing 20%.

Machogu emphasized that the government has allocated Sh5.2 billion to support the education of 345,802 continuing trainees in TVET institutions. However, each trainee will receive a capitation grant of Sh15,038, which is below the agreed amount of Sh30,000. The Ministry has recommended additional funding of Sh3.4 billion to increase the grant to Sh25,000 per trainee.

The low application rate for TVET institutions highlights the need for concerted efforts to promote technical and vocational education as a viable and essential pathway for students. Government support and increased funding are crucial to ensuring that students can access quality TVET education without financial barriers.

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