By KATTI Writer
Kenya in a bid to feed its ever-growing population launched the Big Four Agenda. Among the pillars within this four-year plan are Food Security and Nutrition.
However, experts argue that scaling up small scale farmer’s productivity, education and training will play a vital role in the realization of food security and nutrition.
“Five decades ago, our agricultural sector was doing great and the sector supported the entire economy but this has drastically changed because we neglected the agricultural training and this has affected the farmers across the country because they don’t have access to the relevant and accurate information that helps them make a key decision regarding their farming activities,” says Joseph Bitok, Eldama Ravine Technical and Vocational College.
The Eldama Ravine Technical and Vocational College (Eldama Ravine TVC) is a public TVET college located in Koibatek sub-county, Baringo County.
Like any other Technical and Vocational Colleges (TVCs) in Kenya, Eldama Ravine TVC offers diploma, artisan, craft, and certificate courses.
The institution was founded in 2018 under the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act 2013.
This follows the directive to have one TVET per constituency initiative to provide technical and soft skills in Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET).
Mr Bitok reveals that “Once the building infrastructure was completed in 2018, they were mentored by the Rift Valley Institute Of Science And Technology and it opened its door its first batch of students who were totalling to 100. Today we have a student population of 500.”
The institute has positioned itself as a centre of excellence in Agricultural engineering.
“We have a state of -the art workshops in Agricultural Engineering that position us as a key player when it comes to improving the agricultural status of this county. The institute has also Electrical and Mechanical workshops that facilitate our training. Currently, we have 17 tutors employed by the government while an additional 8 who are contracted by the board of management,” comments Mr Bitok.
He added that “We aim to enhance the skills and knowledge of Agricultural Engineering students by leveraging on shared expertise and infrastructure of the partners. Our agricultural training curriculum has been approved by the TVET Curriculum Development Assessment and Certificate Council [TVET/CDACC].”
According to Elizabeth Keiyo, Head of Industrial Attachment Officer, the agricultural subject has largely been downplayed in the formal education system, where it has been scraped off from the primary school syllabus and is only an optional subject at the secondary level and this has impacted our agricultural sector.
“As an Institute, we realized the importance of agricultural knowledge to farmers and that’s why we have adopted modern training technique that ensures that our students are also linked to the job market. What makes us stand out is that we fully understand the agricultural value chain and that’s the reason why we have so many students enrolling for agricultural courses on a full time and also on a short time basis. We also allow the community around the institute to partner with us and our students to work with them on their different farms. The Institute has also a parcel of land where students have practical since our training is 70 per cent practical and 30 per cent theory.”
She adds that the institute has also enhanced the skills and knowledge of Agricultural Engineering training by leveraging on shared expertise and infrastructure of the partners.
“We believe in strengthening the capacity of our academic staff in teaching and applied research through staff exchange and joint activities aimed at sharing standards and quality assurance mechanisms,” says Keiyo.
According to Mr Bitok the institute’s vision is to be a nationally competitive training centre for imparting technical knowledge and skills for sustainable development. And one can clearly notice the Institute is committed to achieve their goal with the commitment and investment that is evident at the Eldama Ravine TVC.