Each of us needs to contribute what we can to ensure that Kenya can adequately train human capital that further contributes to the country’s economic, political, and social development.”- EPRA Director General David Kiptoo Bargoria
By Andanje Wakhungu
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (EPRA) has donated digital literacy devices worth Ksh.3 Million to St Teresa Isanjiro polytechnic in Malava Sub County. As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandate to contribute to sustainable development by supporting educational causes, the regulator Director General David Kiptoo Bargoria said EPRA was out to assist vocational colleges through such donations as they were the consumers of the blue-collar jobs.
“We are here today to donate 50 computers to this county polytechnic as we know they are hands on in training students who end up being employed by us and this gesture is just part of what we do in CSR besides environmental rehabilitation among others” He said technical and vocational training was key in the country’s economic growth and the donation was part of its initiative to digitize the students as the world was becoming a global village where everything was computerized.
The organization hailed the county government for its mandate in setting up county polytechnics in each Ward to enable students who do not make it to universities to undertake technical courses in the institutions ‘The authority is happy to donate these gadgets to enhance training and learning at St. Teresa’s Malava vocational training centre and today’s event is important because it contributes to the objective of promoting access to quality and equitable education through our Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres.
Each of us needs to contribute what we can to ensure that Kenya can adequately train human capital that further contributes to the country’s economic, political, and social development.” As we all know, he continued, technical and vocational education and training have been in demand in today’s society due to its technical and hands-on nature that has become the backbone of many of our families and country at large. The demand for these blue-collar jobs is high even as the job market shifts in favour of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and Mathematics) calls for increased investment in young people to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to keep up with the ever-evolving technology within the globe.
The Director General said by supporting technical skills training, they were also equipping the youths with practical and necessary skills that will not only enable them to secure employment but also help them to be self-employed. This is a sustainable way of empowering them to contribute positively to the economy and society. “The initiative also perfectly contributes to the development of a digitally skilled workforce, which is one of the five pillars of the 2019 digital economy blueprint.
Indeed the 2020 National TVET standards report developed by the technical and vocational education and training authority (TVETA) revealed that resource constraints are among the challenges facing the TVET ecosystem in the country and by donating these computers to this institution, we are offering our support by availing ICT equipment needed to support students enrolled in computer repair and maintenance courses or their equivalent.”
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) alongside other stakeholders flag electronic waste, commonly referred to as e-waste, as one of the fastest-growing waste components globally, in the region and Kenya. The Authority reports that an estimated 51,000 tons of e-waste are generated in the country annually. This points to a big problem that needs multi-stakeholder action before it grows further. On our end, we are giving these tools a new lease on life and contributing to preserving our environment.
He concluded by thanking the management of the institution for partnering with them on this initiative and for their efforts to equip young people with the appropriate skills needed to grow the digital economy. On his part, the St. Teresa’s Malava vocational training centre Principal Boniface Mukabwa confirmed that they had emerged as the winner out of seven proposed TVET institutions that applied for the equipment donation and lauded the authority for honouring its proposal.
“We are delighted to receive these machines and we will put them to good use by offering training, repairs and maintenance courses as part of preparing our students for the hands-on job market outside.
The principal appreciated the organization’s efforts to ensure that the institution benefits from this initiative as it meets several technical qualifications including demonstrating a resource gap for ICT equipment and being inclusive in their enrollment and operations. “I am happy to say that this institution met the evaluation criteria that saw EPRA fulfil their pledges.”
Mukabwa further called on other willing stakeholders to partner with vocational training institutions to provide resources which result in improved delivery of the training curriculum. The Kakamega county executive committee member (CECM) Godfrey Owour said the regulator donating the ICT equipment not only supports the training of the youth but also helps to reduce electronic waste and promotes responsible environmental practices. Owour pointed out that the county was committed to ensuring that vocational training was available to all the youths and will be given property for employment once they complete their training.
He called on more youngsters to embrace blue-collar jobs as they had a ready job market compared to the white-collar jobs that were already overcrowded. The county is embracing this kind of technical skills and we are ready to accommodate those who complete their courses as their skills and manpower is needed at the county level, let us have more plumbers’ masons, carpenters mechanics, welders and other hands-on trainee to fill the busting job market from the county to the national level and even beyond, ad that is why we are sponsoring students to undertake these courses”.