The Ministry of Education has been asked to fast track the listing of private Technical and Vocational Education and Training, TVET, institutions to enable learners joining the institutions benefit from Higher Education Loans Board, HELB funding.
According to the principal of Bondo V-TECH College Mr Julius Nyerere Akoko, the delay in approval of private TVET institutions for HELB loans and bursary by the ministry is denying some learners the opportunity to access TVET training.
“Not all students can go to public institutions across the country to access TVET training and private institutions come in to bridge the gap. The government should therefore allow students who chose to join private institutions to access HELB funding just like their counterparts in public institutions,” Akoko said
Akoko disclosed that efforts by private intuitions offering TVET courses to get listing and approval for HELB funding have been frustrated for years despite such institutions having fully complied with the ministry of education standards and being certified to offer TVET courses.
“We have made applications to be considered for listing but nothing has been forth coming. The lack of access to HELB loan facility has affected our enrollment yet we play a critical role in training students,” he said.
Akoko said that just like the public institutions, private colleges offering TVET courses are training human resource necessary for the country’s development and attainment of Vision 2030.
“We are all contributing to one pool of highly qualified individuals who are expected to drive the growth of the country and therefore there should be fair treatment for students across the two divides because the loans will be given to individual students who will pay back the money,” Akoko said.
Akoko on the other hand asked principals at various secondary schools to redefine “success” saying the current definition of success at secondary school level has contributed to poor career choices by many students.
He said that majority of secondary schools’ work towards sending as many students as possible to universities without bothering the kind of courses they will pursue in the name of success, with the students ending in less marketable careers.
The principal suggested that focus should be shifted to strengthening career guidance at secondary school level to helping the students choose careers required in the job market and have them advised to pursue their careers from any level until they attain their goals.
“The parameters of measuring success in our secondary schools should be changed and students guided to pursue marketable careers instead of trying to send everybody to university. A student who has chosen to pursue a career in engineering can start off at a TVET institution before joining an Engineering degree program instead of joining the university directly to pursue any available or less marketable course,” Akoko stated.