Factors influencing students’ acquisition of vocational skills in vocational training centers in Igembe and Tigania districts of Meru county, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to establish factors influencing student’s acquisition of vocational skills in vocational training centers in Igembe and Tigania districts of Meru county Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were: To establish the influence of provision of physical facilities on acquisition of vocational skills in vocational training centers; to determine how students attitudes influences acquisition of vocational skills in vocational training centers; to establish the influence of availability of a qualified academic and professional staff on acquisition of vocational skills ;and to establish the influence of managers administrative experiences on acquisition of vocational skills in youth vocational training centers. The study employed descriptive survey design and targeted six vocational training centres in Tigania and Igembe districts of Meru County, Kenya. The study therefore targeted 51 students 30 teachers and 12 managers. The study adopted stratified sampling procedure for students. For teachers and managers, the study adopted census method, since the sample was too small. The study relied on questionnaires and checklists for data collection. The findings of the study revealed that lack of physical resource in youth vocational training centers has an adverse influence on acquisition of vocational skills. The study also revealed that students had negative attitudes towards vocational courses offered in these institutions and were forced to join these institutions by their parents. The study established that most of the tutors in these institutions were certificates and diploma holders and lastly most of the institutional heads and their deputies had less then three years of administrative experience. Others findings of the study were that majority of the learners were dropping out of vocational training centres before completion of their studies. Also captured in this study was that learners were performing poorly in end of course examinations. The study concluded that various factors such as lack of facilities, negative attitudes towards vocational training, lack of qualified professional staff and lack of administrative experience in managers influenced student’s acquisition of vocational skills. Based on the findings, the study recommended that government of Kenya should focus on improving infrastructural facilities to vocational training centers. Government should also embark on employment of full time qualified teachers to vocational training centers to improve on skill acquisition. Study also recommends that teachers to be taken to refresher courses to keep abreast on contemporary issues on skill acquisition.