LIWA’s mandate is to create and institutionalize linkages between Academia and Industry development in areas of Research, Science, Innovation, skills and Technology. In so doing LIWA seeks to strengthen the quality and relevance of:
Joint Industry-Academia programmes development
Research and Innovation production and scholarship.
Student and faculty engagement with Private sector.
Competency Based Training (CBET) and entrepreneur education.
Innovation and Technology Transfer.
Academic and industry data analytics, graduates employability
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Strengthening Industry-Academia is an important area of research and policy development to support government in policy framework for a sustainable knowledge-based socio and economic development.
LIWA conducted a study into the condition of TVET-industry-government linkages in Kenya. The Government of Kenya has laid emphasis on the development of a reliable pool of human talent with the necessary knowledge, skills, competences and attitudes to drive the realization of the goals of Kenya's Vision 2030. TVETs are a major connecting link between the school system and the world of work, which means developments to TVET are inextricably linked to general trends in the economy. This therefore necessitates capturing information into the current status of TVETs in instilling skills for employability among students, as well as partnerships they form with industry and government to scale up TVET education in Kenya.
Although the vocational training system of education was identified to have the potential to significantly contribute to industrial productivity and efficiency, there exist critical barriers to realizing these successes. These barriers lead to the lack of relevant skills, lack of research capability and other challenges, within Kenya's vocational training system.
The following challenges have been highlighted:
- Negative perception of the vocational training system and stigma associated with studying at vocational level of training;
- Inadequate skills among graduates from vocational training institutions and lack of capability to adapt to competence based training to facilitate adequate skill transfer;
- Lack of industry relevance within the vocational training system due to lack of industry involvement, caused significantly by lack of student and trainer exposure to the industrial environment;
- Lack of collaborative networks between industry and stakeholders whose cooperation could significantly transform vocational training system in Kenya.
To effectively address the challenges within the vocational education system, all stakeholders (i.e. academia, private sector and government) need to collaboratively engage in order to formulate strategies that will present sustainable solutions to strengthening the TVET system. Several opportunities exist for contribution to Kenya's industrial development and competitiveness globally. These include:
- Supportive government policies;
- Provisions in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, which would promote inclusiveness;
- County governments under devolution;
- Presence of development partners in Kenya supporting inclusive growth.