Higher education and human resource development in Kenya: the case of technical training in public universities
Odhiambo, Asingo Patrick
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This study set out to establish the factors which inhibit effective development of the higher cadre human resources in Kenya, with specific reference to the university technical graduates. The ultimate goal in this regard was to provide policy recommendations towards qualitative improvement of the higher cadre technical manpower in Kenya. The study modified and adopted the Eastonian version of the systems theory, and was guided by the broad hypothesis that the nature of training provided by the Kenyan public universities does not adequately prepare the higher cadre technical manpower for their roles in the society as technologists. In terms of methodology, the study utilised both primary and secondary data. Secondary data was obtained mainly from books, journals, magazines and relevant government policy documents. Primary data was generated through interviews with university students, lecturers, as well as the employed graduates and their employers. The respondents were identified through a combination of stratified, multi-stage and snowball sampling techniques. The data so obtained was analysed using descriptive methods. The study found out that despite the efforts made by the government to promote technical training over the years, the quality of=the higher cadre technical manpower has remained considerably low. A number of factors were found .t.o bedevil the search for quality technical graduates. These include the inefficient university curriculum development and review strategy, the inapt teaching of technical courses in public universities, poor co-ordination of industrial attachments for university students, maladminstration of university examinations, and the weak link between public universities and the employing institutions in Kenya. Consequently, the study made several recommendations aimed at boosting the quality of the technical graduates. First, public universities should adopt a more efficient curriculum development and review strategy which not only encourage frequent reviews, but also incorporate all the major stake-holders in the human resource development process, especially the employers. Second, the universities should design more practical oriented technical courses since the current ones are a bit too theoretical. Third, industrial attachments for university students should be properly co-ordinated and tied to the degree award so that no student can graduate without undertaking an attachment. Fourth, university technical departments should be encouraged to administer practical examinations as part of the end of semester or year examinations, and should strive to wipe out traces of examination irregularities. Fifth, deliberate measures should be taken to strengthen the link between public universities and the employing institutions. Finally, secondary school education should be elongated by re-introducing the two year advanced level secondary education in order to prepare students adequately for university education.
Department of Government, University of Nairobi
Master of Art