Enrolment Trends in Youth Polytechnics in West Pokot County, Kenya.
Luyali E Patrick, Olel A Maureen, Othuon Lucas
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The concept of Youth Polytechnics (YPs) was started as village polytechnics in 1968 by the National Christian Council of Kenya (N.C.C.K.).They are managed by local communities, Non-Governmental Organizations, the government and religious bodies. The YPs offer a route for acquisition of technical and entrepreneurship skills in line with TIVET. In West Pokot County, transition rate from primary to secondary has shown worrying trends, with only 47% of the 4,865 candidates who sat for Kenya Certificate of Primary Examinations in 2008 managing to enroll in secondary schools compared to the 70% transition rate in the country. Therefore, a considerable number of primary school leavers in the County do not proceed to secondary schools for academic education and 10% opt to enroll in youth polytechnics for various vocational skills such as masonry, carpentry, mechanics and tailoring for self or paid employment. However the curriculum in youth polytechnics has been criticized over time as lacking in levels of skills to train marketable courses and technical knowhow that respond to the labour market demands by the industry and the informal sector. The government is currently reviewing youth polytechnics curriculum with the view of making it more responsive and relevant to the needs and aspirations of the trainees. This study sought to establish enrolment trends in youth polytechnics in West Pokot County. The findings of the study found that, YPs operate without a clear curriculum, YPs are characterized by dismal rates of participation and gross inequalities in terms of gender, due to lack of adequate and relevant materials as well as insufficient and poorly trained staff the quality of training was below expected levels and that funding remained the most outstanding disincentive in implementation of YPs curriculum. The study recommended that courses should be offered after a more systematic investigation of people’s needs, there was need to equip YPs in view of increased enrolment, curriculum should be changed to adapt to the needs of the community and individuals, and community and aid agencies to be asked to provide essential facilities and assist in construction of YPs. The results of the study will be used by policy makers in the Ministries of Education and Youth Affairs in improving enrolment, curriculum and stakeholders attitude towards YPs in West Pokot County. The government will find the study useful in understanding the plight of the rural youths and the need to continue financing YPs in the semi-arid regions.