Technical, Vocational Education and Training: An Incubator of Research, Science and Technology
Were Dina (Kaimosi Friends University College, P. O. Box 385 - 50309, Kaimosi)
Technical Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) is an incubator of research science and Technology. All technologically advanced countries like Britain, United States, France, Israel and Asian Tigers (China, Japan, Singapore) arrived where they are today by giving TVET the attention it deserves. The thrust of this study was therefore to promote a more nuanced view of TVET institutions as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and their role in promoting research, science and technology. The target population was all lecturers and students of TVET institutions in Kakamega County. Using a structured questionnaire, the study sampled views of 18 lecturers and 12 students from 3 TVET institutions in Kakamega County concerning the role of TVET institutions in promoting research, science and Technology. It was established majority of the institutions were in active collaborations with relevant institutions and that this had led to income generating projects relevant to their curriculum. However, inadequate funds were identified as an impediment in the role of TVET institutions as an incubator of research science and technology. As a way forward, it was recommended that TVET institutions should receive adequate funding to enable them to engage in research and to promote science and technology.
KEY WORDS: Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, research, innovation, technology
List of abbreviations
TVET Technical and Vocational Education and Training
NPK New production of Knowledge
SMEs Small and Medium Enterprises
VTCs Vocational and Technical Centers
Technical, Vocational and Training and Education (TVET) is highly regarded as a key ingredient for technological development and poverty eradication of any given nation. All technologically advanced countries like Britain, United States, France, Israel and Asian Tigers (China, Japan, Singapore) arrived where they are today by giving TVET the attention it deserves (Okoye and Okwello, 2018). Currently TVET programs in the United States are aligned according to National career clusters (agriculture, architecture, government, health, finance) and are taught in parallel subsystems with few structural connections between them (CareerTech, 2014). A total of about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in TVET. Green (2012) observed that; although TVET is experiencing a great resurgence in the United States, there is lack of connection between TVET and the community. Current federal policy thus encourages linking TVET to labour market through Programs of Study (PoS) the next generation of Tech-prep (CareerTech, 2014).
In Africa, unemployment situations and economic backwardness have been linked to education system with poor-competency based curricular resulting in production of people who lack skills for self-reliance (Okoye and Okwell, 2018). Okoye (2018) argues that TVET is a password to any nation that wants to join the league of technologically developed nations.
There is a growing demand for quality education and skills development in East Africa to counter the problem of youth unemployment (Afidep, 2018). Several multinationals have in the recent past partnered to strengthen the Technical Vocational and Education in the Dairy sector in East Africa (Richard, Gross and Holleman, 2018). In their study, Richard et al (2018) found that TVET students were preferred for most of the jobs among the preferred industry players in East Africa.
Graduates and post graduates qualification were popular with development and research agencies. The study further revealed that most new students graduating from TVET colleges exhibited functional deficiencies and that non-technical subjects such as research should be included in training.
In Kenya, TVET institutions are expected to promote technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills and knowledge aimed at discovering and developing the individual for employment in various sectors of economic and social life (Kiplagat, Ferej,and Kafu,2018). They are expected to form partnerships with industries leading to solutions of local problems such as urban planning, transportation, agriculture and health among many others. The role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in promoting research, science and technology is thus broad and diverse. Traditionally, the role of Higher Education Institutions has been teaching and research. In the recent past a growing evidence has been witnessed of increased research outputs from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. What is still missing is precise understanding of how TVET institutions can potentially draw advantages in promoting such activities. The purpose of this paper is to promote a more nuanced view of TVET institutions as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and their contributions to research, science and technology
Kakamega County where the study was conducted is well represented in the map of TVET education. Notable TVET institution include Bukura Agricultural College and Sigalagala National Polytechnic. Although TVET has received enough attention in Kenya, there is still need of adequate collaboration between TVET and industries for provision of relevant practical skills, research, science and innovation. This paper is divided into three sections including introduction. The remainder of this paper is structured as follows; section two presents an overview of the four major models that feature prominently in discussions about the role of HEIs and hence their contributions towards research, science and technology while section three presents the key findings from the discussion.
Conceptual Approaches Entrepreneurial institution
This model states that higher education institutions (HEIs) are increasingly complementing their traditional mandates of teaching and research by engaging in economic development projects. These economic development projects by the institutions are directly linked with the growth of industries - such as in areas of ICT and Biotechnology (Trippl, Sinozic and Lawton, 2014). Industries then have spillover effects that lead to development in research, science and technology.
Regional Innovation Model
This model emphasizes interactive innovation processes between institutions of learning and industries or other organizations. The model looks at interaction with other players and how these interactions lead to innovations. Since TVET institutions are important knowledge producers- their interactions can lead to knowledge exchange between institutions and the industrial world. The interactions may takes a much wider set of knowledge transfer mechanisms like contract research, formal cooperations, provision of graduates to the local labor market. According to Raihan (2014), TVET institutions can bridge the gap by using updated technology. Raihan, (2014) argues that if the TVET students get the opportunity of communication with web-based mechanism, they can interact with the industries to connect the knowledge with the practical things. This model sees important roles of TVET institutions to be transferring knowledge to SMEs through global networks.
Mode 2 model
This model is also known as “New production of knowledge theory” (NPK). The model talks about knowledge production in the context of application. Knowledge which is socially distributed, application-oriented, trans-disciplinary, and subject to multiple accountabilities. The model suggests that TVET should involve in collaborative research with other organizations. This way, the institutions will produce knowledge that is relevantly connected to their environment. The model discourages TVET institutions from being too remote; and instead to contribute to the solutions of societal problems. TVET institutions could involve themselves in research projects providing solutions to local problems such as urban planning, transportation (Trippl, Sinozic and Lawton, 2014).
This model requires TVET institutions to understand their functions and adapt these functions to regional needs. The proponents of this model suggest that institutions should focus their activities towards local industry and society (Trippl, Sinozic and Lawton, 2014). They are urged to adjust teaching activities to local needs and provide assistance and research support to local firms.
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of TVET institutions in promoting research, science and technology. Specifically, the study sought to:
a) Establish whether income generating projects by the TVET institutions have spillover effects that promote research science and technology.
b) Determine whether partnerships between TVET institutions and other organizations has led to innovations in science and technology.
c) Find out the opinion of lecturers and students on what they thought was the role of TVET institutions in promoting research science and technology.
d) Make recommendations on training in TVET institutions Methodology
The study utilised qualitative methods to gather data from lecturers and students in TVET institutions. Data was collected between July and August 2018. The study respondents were purposively selected in order to ensure that they represented both lecturers and students and the various TVET institutions sampled. Using a structured questionnaire that captured the conceptions and perceptions of the lecturers and students on the role of TVET institutions in promoting research, science and technology, the researcher successfully served 30 respondents sampled from 3 TVET institutions in Kakamega County, Kenya.
Research Results and Discussions
Projects related to curriculum
The results on income generating projects carried out by TVET institutions in Kakamega County were as shown in the figure below. It was established that TVET institutions were involved in projects related to their curriculum. Most TVET institutions were involved in crop farming (29%), while solar installation, guest house, and driving school had minority at 3%. The second most popular project was production of dairy products at 21% followed by pastry at 18%. These institutions are meeting the set objectives. The rest 29% did not mention activities related to curriculum such as collection of fees on privately sponsored students commonly known as PSSP.
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Partnerships with other institutions
Majority of TVET institutions (78.9%), in this study had collaboration with other organization as displayed in the distribution below. Such collaborations are important if TVET institutions are to meet demand of the 21st century workplace for skilled manpower and also to equip individuals with skills for self-reliance (Oviawe, Uwameiye, and Uddin, 2018). Only a small percentage (21.1%) indicated that they did not have any partnerships with other organizations. The likelihood of them not having quality programs is very high
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However, of the 78.9% who said they had partnerships with other organizations, a large percentage (73.3%) said the partnerships had promoted innovation, research, science and technology. This information is shown in the table below. Only a few (26.7%) said the partnerships had not led to innovations. The type of collaborations that for these particular institutions does not encourage innovations. The study recommends the collaborations which lead to innovations (Okoye and Okwelle, 2013)
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Lecturers and students perception on the role TVET institutions in Promoting research, science and technology (include percentages)
- Quote paper
- Dr Dina Were (Author)James Okou (Author), 2021, Technical, Vocational Education and Training: An Incubator of Research, Science and Technology, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1033894