Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Business

Faculty

Business and Law

First Advisor

Professor Alan Brown

Second Advisor

Professor Rowena Barret

Abstract

Technical, vocational education and training (TVET) in Kenya has undergone major changes since colonialists introduced it at the beginning of the twentieth century. Since then, TVET has evolved in the areas of science, technology and innovation to provide skills that will propel the country to middle-level industrialised status by the year 2030. However, current training and development (T&D) processes in Kenya have been criticised for being rigid and irrelevant to industry, creating a mismatch of skills produced by the training institutions and those demanded by the industry; it is upon this criticism that this research is built. The focus of this thesis is to analyse key stakeholders‘ perceptions of TVET in the micro and small enterprises (MSE) in the motor vehicle service and repair industry (MVRSI). In Kenya vocational education and training (VET) is referred to as technical, vocational education and training—TVET.

In this thesis a practical T&D framework is developed for use to analyse the stakeholders‘ perceptions. A generic organisational T&D model was examined as was the literature dealing with TVET sub-systems in Kenya and elsewhere. The organisational T&D model was then expanded to include relevant training areas and activities. Data were collected in two cities and four roadside towns. Interviews were held with 19 micro and small enterprises (MSE) employers and 57 of their employees, eight TVET trainers and four senior education officers. Four focus group discussions with final year trainees were held, and observations were made at the MSE and the training institutions. Content analysis was used to analyse data.

Findings obtained indicated that TVET plays a vital role in furnishing its learners with skills that are required in the MVRSI. However, while the T&D program has very well crafted training objectives, it is beset by numerous challenges. The program has restricted methods of data gathering resulting in a system that has neither been able to compile an industrial skills inventory nor a skills-gap analysis that would inform training providers. Most training institutions are located in urban centres, curriculum implementation is generally theoretical, trainers are inadequately prepared and receive low salaries, training suffers from multiple and uncoordinated management, and the trainees view it as a last training option. In addition, examination results, enrolment and practical tests were identified as the primary methods used for monitoring and evaluation. Informal training providers lacked training implementation, monitoring and evaluation structures. Transfer of skills from training institutions to the workplace is inhibited by insufficient supervisor support, poor working conditions and inadequate tools and equipment.

The T&D framework that was developed was found to be useful on several fronts. Firstly, the views of multiple stakeholders present diverse perspectives that provide unique and comprehensive insights into how different segments of society measure the same training. Secondly, methodological contributions have been made in terms of the research design, which used multiple data collection methods. Thirdly, the T&D framework was developed and then used to analyse the perceptions of the stakeholders, thereby answering the research questions. Since this framework was found to be sufficient for analysing the stakeholders‘ perceptions, it was found to be appropriate for designing a more responsive T&D program for the MVRSI. In addition, this study has made several practical implications.

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