Why it’s time to include greening in TVET

Dr. Fred Matiang’i
Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education,Science and Technology

The Annual RVTTI International TVET and Interdisciplinary Research Conference is here with us. As we attend this auspicious conference, we ought to reflect on the theme: Towards Collaborative TVET – Promoting Accelerated Sustainable Development,as well as on the happenings in the entire education sector. We are revolutionising the education system. Plans to implement the new 2-6-3-3-3 system of education are already underway. Already, a pilot group of 470 schools across the country are implementing it. With the change of the education system, all other aspects of education such as the curriculum structure and its contents, teacher education, equipment and all that goes with technology, must also change. The transformation is enormous, but not impossible. We are determined to succeed.

Kenya cannot attain the vision 2030 without Education and TVET sectors. TVET especially, is the driver to development and industrialisation. The same TVET is indeed the key to opening up the economy to greening levels. Time for TVET to embrace greening is now. Research will play a vital role in giving focus to policy and implementation issues, to avoid trial and error kind of implementation. Researchers and scholars should therefore come up with formidable guidelines on how best to do this, especially how to align our education and training with sustainable development goals with seamless synergy in order to accelerate a sustainable economy. Sustainable development in TVET must look beyond the cultural, regional and historical barriers. It must transcend all sorts of self-defeatism attitudes, for us to even acquire a Green Culture in education. All points of focus must be pivoted on engraving SDGs in all our classroom activities, at all levels, in all spheres of learning.

Sustainable development in education and SD-TVET does not just apply to Science and Engineering disciplines, but also in language, social sciences and humanities. For instance, all language genres can have content that reflect this new SDG dispensation. Moreover, clubs and societies in domain of learning institutions must also adapt the SDGs, as is relevant to their scope. All this is aimed at bringing about a perceptual shift towards sustainability. Engraving the sustainable concepts to TVET and education is a sure way of cascading the green revolution to the grassroots level.

It is also vital for us to remember that the Green Revolution cannot be a reality if we do not start today, by putting pedagogical aspects in line with teaching and training. Teacher and TVET trainer education are a lifeline aspect to the green revolution.

A smart economy requires a smart teacher. The magnitude of this revolution cannot be fixated to sectorial levels alone. It must be executed collectively with minimum compartmentalisation. We must realise that what we do in one sector directly affects what happens in other sectors. A problem in one sector directly affects the operations in another sector. That is why, through education and TVET, we can overcome the perennial monster of food security. Food production must be raised to reach sustainable levels. TVET must find ways of improving productions in our farms because the wider society looks up to them. We must at the same time be able to
equip our young people with knowledge and skills of fighting poverty through wealth creation, and responsible and safe consumption.

SD-education and SD-TVET will also help increase the GDP by increasing jobs in both formal and informal sectors. We must never forget that a country’s most vital resource is its human capital. It is with the human resource that we can turn round the wheels of development. This is why the better future for this country lies in our hands today, with what we plant in the minds and hearts of our children, and indeed the skills we impart on our youth. As we think and go green, we must also think of the question of security and safety of our learners. Our schools and colleges must be safe zone, free from substance abuse and radicalisation.

The student population should be sensitised on the importance of keeping safe and secure. Programmes aimed at counter-radicalisation should also be incorporated into our extra-curricular activities. The schools and college systems must be on the lookout for those misguided elements that want to turn our schools into terrorists’ breeding grounds. The schools and colleges must endeavour to have sustained security and safety that is infrastructural,
technological and even intelligently informed. We must revolutionise the way we do things, without compromising safety and security standards.

Last but not the least, may I extend a hand of gratitude to all the scholars and researchers who have put in so much to ensure the RVTTI International TVET Interdisciplinary Conference is an annual event. It indeed takes a lot of sacrifice to be able to host an international conference and publish yearly. Congratulations RVTTI for leading the pack and doing it to exemplary levels.