Kenya: Why TVET in Kenya is About to Get Better, More Relevant Globally

25 February 2021
interview

Since Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) was operationalised in 2014 to regulate and coordinate TVET in the country, it has achieved a lot within the short time, culminating in the achievement of ISO 901:2015 certification in February 2021, and the publishing of the National TVET Standards to guide the industry.

In this Q&A, TVETA's Director-General/CEO Dr Kipkirui Langat,explains what this means to the TVET sub-sector and the country in general. This is part of a special supplement that further details the implications of the published National TVET Standards. A PDF of the supplement is linked at the end of the following excerpts:

How does it feel to be ISO 9001:2015 certified?

It feels great and gives us, as the TVETA family, a sense of fulfilment because we have worked hard in the last one and half years to achieve this status.

We launched the Quality Management System (QMS) in July 2019, and at the time, there was much transformation taking place in the Authority, including implementation of a Management Information System (MIS) that has since automated our services, including the accreditation of TVET institutions and programmes and the licensing of trainers/assessors and verifiers. However, Covid-19 slowed our progress towards implementation of the ISO system, but we are delighted we are finally there.

What does this ISO certification mean to the Authority?

The attainment of ISO certification by the Authority means that the QMS we are implementing has been audited and found to comply with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems.

As an ISO certified organisation, what is your philosophy?

As an Authority, we were created to regulate and coordinate the TVET sub-sector in Kenya through the development of a TVET system that meets national needs and aspirations. Our vision is to see the country having a competitive market-driven TVET system delivering competent workforce for sustainable development.

We value integrity, professionalism, accountability, public participation, teamwork and efficiency. ISO has assisted us by making us appreciate the value of planning and monitoring in our management processes.

What are some of the factors that enabled you to attain this new status?

There are several factors that contributed to the success of this achievement. These include the commitment by our Board of Directors to provide the much needed resources and roadmap for the implementation of these standards. I also recognise and appreciate TVETA staff who worked round the clock to implement the set roadmap to certification.

How was the road map like?

We started by training process owners on the implementation. Then the process owners developed Quality Management System documents, which included policies, procedures, forms and registers needed for the implementation of the QMS. We then appointed ISO champions, who have worked with members of their departments towards the launch of QMS in July 2019. For successful implementation, we trained the champions on audit. They then carried out two internal audits - in November 2019 and February 2020. Each of those audits was preceded by a management review meeting.

How are you leveraging on the ISO quality management principles to achieve your mandate?

The ISO 9001:2015 quality management principles are leadership, commitment, process approach, continuous improvement and risk-based thinking. Others are evidence-based decision making, customer focus, engagement of people and relationship management. As the leadership of the Authority, we are committed to the implementation and maintenance of the quality management system. This will then create buy-in by all members of staff.

Every decision taken has a procedure and this enhances consistency and timeliness in service delivery. We have embraced continuous improvement in our management processes, and this has increased customer satisfaction to our services. We have incorporated risk management in all our processes. We have achieved this by putting in place risk assessment and mitigation strategies.

Our services are customer centred and my team is always committed to ensure customer needs are met at all times. Greater clarity and focus on the Authority's objectives have led to increased staff motivation.

Last but not least, we believe that for quality to be improved, it must be based on evidence. For example, in the current financial year, we conducted an employee satisfaction survey. The recommendations from the survey are informing the various human resource decisions we are presently making.

You are the first Director General of TVET Authority. What are some of your successes?

The Authority came into existence in 2014 as a result of TVET Act no. 29 of 2013. I was then appointed on April 30, 2015. Since then, we have achieved a lot.

Together with the Board of Directors and the support of Government, we have managed to set all the required structures and operating frameworks from scratch. This includes recruiting a competitive pool of staff for all the departments according to our staff establishment. Having secured sufficient office space at the headquarters in Nairobi, we are in the process of opening three regional offices in Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa.

In terms of regulation, we have developed a number of regulatory and training standards for the sector. These include the National Polytechnic Standard, ODeL Standard, CBETA Standard, Centre of Excellence Standard, Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR) Standard, among others.

We have been able to accredit more than 2,000 TVET institutions, and we have conducted quality audits in more than 1500 institutions. In addition, we have been able to implement a management information system, which has enabled us to improve service delivery.

For more perspectives on TVET progress in Kenya, click here for a complete supplement.

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