The Star (Nairobi)

6 December 2012

Kenya: AFDB's Sh3.7 Billion for Education

THE African Development Bank has approved a Sh3.7 billion loan to the government for investment education targeting training institutions and development of skills.

The loan has been granted under the Support to the Enhancement of Quality and Relevance in Higher Education, Science and Technology Project. It is aimed at improving the country's competitiveness regionally and globally by helping the university system to build capacity to deliver quality and relevant education.

"The project will provide equipment for science and engineering workshops and laboratories, increase access to engineering and applied sciences programs in the country," AfDB said in an online press release.

Following the move an estimated 11,900 students, including women who will be enrolled in targeted faculties will benefit. Additionally 500 engineering and applied sciences staff at institutions will get training at the master's level and a further 200 at the doctorate level.

"The project is expected to trigger an influx of skilled engineers that will benefit Kenya and the sub-region since the country's growing economy is hampered by a large shortage of skilled workers such as engineers," the bank said.

According to bank 40 per cent of Kenya's working population is either unemployed or underemployed..

As part of its Human Capital Development Strategy, the AfDB is investing in education to raise competitiveness and skills, particularly among women in Africa. The continent's rapidly growing workforce is predicted to match or even surpass those of China and India by 2050.

Under the same strategy to boost human capital the bank has supported skills development for HIV/AIDS guidance and counseling to hundreds of teachers in Kenya, enabling them take charge of their fight against the disease.

"Children affected by the disease shy away from schools due to social stigmas and lack of funds, while the country is losing an estimated 1.7 per cent of its teachers each year due to the disease," the bank says.

Following the project 3,023 students some already infected and affected by the deadly virus have benefited from a bursary to keep them in school.

"Equally 200 non-formal education teachers at 50 centres and 580 teachers from 350 schools have been trained in HIV/AIDS guidance and counselling," AfDB says.

According to the bank 68 Youth Polytechnics instructors were also trained.

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