Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia exchange academic staff to promote regional integration in TVET.

Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia exchange academic staff to promote regional integration in TVET.

By Prosper Makene

The National Institute of Transport (NIT) in Tanzania, Kenya Aeronautical College, Kenya Coast National Polytechnic (KCNP) as well as Ethiopia’s Dire Dawa Polytechnic College have started exchanging academic staff to promote regional cooperation in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Two of NIT academic staff members have gone for staff exchanges to Kenya Coast National Polytechnic (KCNP) in Mombasa, while three other staff went to Kenya Aeronautical College at Nairobi, and Dire Dawa Polytechnic College in Ethiopia received three lecturers from NIT for the academic year 2021/2022. NIT also expects to send four staff for attachment at Kenya Railway Training Institute in Nairobi.

NIT Rector Prof. Zacharia Mganilwa said, “Apart from our academic staff members who went to Ethiopia and Kenya, we have also received three staff from Kenya Coast National Polytechnic for the same staff exchange programme. NIT is also expecting to receive seven academic staff from Dire Dawa Polytechnic College in Ethiopia.”

Furthermore, the NIT’s Rector also attended the meeting in Addis Ababa which involved EASTRIP implementing agencies including the Ministries responsible for TVET in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. The Technical Work Group meeting organized by IUCEA aimed at having in-depth discussions and deliberations where a communique was signed to adopt the Regional TVET Qualifications Framework.

Prof. Mganilwa said that the adoption of the Regional TVET Qualifications Framework is set to facilitate mobility of students, staff, and skilled labor initially across the 3 countries and eventually the entire region.

“Through this framework, in 2022/23 academic year, Our Institute will receive students from Kenya and Ethiopia, and in vice versa students from Tanzania will go to study in Ethiopia and Kenya through different programmes under East African Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP),”

He added that, “The adoption of regional qualifications framework at high level helps create legitimacy for skills mobility and also removes technical bottlenecks in program articulation for the respective regulatory bodies.”

While universities in the region have  been undertaking student and faculty exchange programs, regional or international cooperation in TVET is a relatively new phenomenon.  TVET programs often aim for local and national markets including informal ones and can be difficult to scale up.

However, EASTRIP project is a five-year project implemented by the Government of Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya through World Bank funding, to increase access and improve quality of select TVET programs in three countries and to promote regional integration.

The Regional Flagship TVET Institute (RFTI) model has been adopted as core strategy of the EASTRIP Project to achieve sustainable TVET development as well as regional integration. Currently EASTRIP is supporting 16 competitively selected RFTIs: 7 in Ethiopia, 5 in Kenya and 4 in Tanzania.

Under the EASTRIP Project, each RFTI specializes in specific sectors and occupations with corresponding TVET certificates, diplomas and degrees, recognized by the respective National TVET regulatory authorities and often by industries and employers. The Project’s key priority sectors, proposed by the governments and validated by experts, include manufacturing and agro-processing, transport and infrastructure, power and energy, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

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