Education stakeholders from the Vocational and Technical Institutions have called on the national government to increase funding for research from Sh250 million to Sh500 in order to enable them financially support scientific research, inventions and innovations.
The Principal Secretary State Department for Vocational and Technical Training, Ministry of Education, Dr. Kevit Desai said the Sh250 million allocated annually for research by the national treasury is too little compared to the amount set aside for the universities in the country.
Speaking at Nkabune Technical Training Institute when he officially opened a three day International Research Conference, the PS said the total amount of the research endowment fund given annually is discouraging, noting that it should be doubled.
“We urge the National Government to ensure that it establishes a National Research Fund in a bid to support advancement of scientific research, inventions and innovations. Research allocation should be enhanced from Sh250 million to Sh500 million which is equivalent to two per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product,” he noted.
“It is discouraging to note that the uptake of research endowment funds by TVET institutions is still very low compared to universities,” said the PS.
Dr. Desai said that TVET institutions should be given priority in funding due to the unique and critical role they play and especially in the country’s economic and social development agenda.
He noted that the sector is poised to play a vital role in equipping over three million youth in Kenya with relevant skills, knowledge and attitude in order to enable them get employment or initiate income-generating projects.
He said the sector will act as an enabler of the Big Four Agenda and also help in alleviating poverty in the country through empowerment, resource allocation, promotion of entrepreneurial culture, skills, development for self and gainful employment and promotion of social inclusiveness.
The PS said that the Technical and Vocational Training Institutes have a crucial role to play in spearheading the implementation of factual research programmes for national and international reforms in the sector.
Dr. Desai said the research programme had become inevitable in the Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector noting noted that the area had emerged as the most reliable road map to socio-economic development across African countries.
The Principal Secretary said governments across the continent had found reason to set aside resources to fast track activities geared towards sustainable development through empowering the youth with technical skills for formal and self-employment to earn a living.
He reiterated the need for national and international collaboration in implementing research programs adding that research findings usually guide excellence performance in almost every human development sector globally.
Dr. Desai said the Government had in the recent past partnered with various development agencies including the World Bank so as to invest more in research programmes which play a key role in informing decisions, reforms and practices for innovation and growth in the TVET sector.