The development expenditure for Youth Polytechnics in Kenya dropped last year, the Economic Survey 2016 report shows. The report shows that the expenditure dropped by a whopping 43 percent from KSh. 358 million in 2014 to KSh. 204 million in 2015. This will directly affect the enrolment in youth polytechnics.
There are currently 816 youth polytechnics in Kenya up from 701 in 2014. Two of these, Kisumu Polytechnic and Eldoret Polytechnic, are national polytechnics. In 2015, the total enrolment in all the youth polytechnics was 155,000. This was a marginal increase from the 2014 enrolment of 148,000 students. With the drop in government funding of these youth polytechnics, many youths who fail to enrol in secondary schools may not have anywhere else to go.
“In pursuit of the goals of Vision 2030, the youth are meant to provide the bedrock for the transformation of requisite human resource skills for technological and industrial transformation. This will then lead to increased wealth and social well-being as well as enhancement of the country’s international competitiveness”, says a 2012 UNDP/Republic of Kenya report on youth polytechnics.
In Kenya, students who sit for KCPE move to either secondary schools or enrol for a craft certificate in a polytechnic or an industrial training institute. One can then enrol in a post-secondary school institution for a diploma or a certificate then for a bachelor’s degree in a university (see the diagram of educational system in Kenya).
Youth polytechnics play a critical role in equipping learners with practical skills such as masonry, carpentry, mechanics and tailoring for self or paid employment. A study conducted on the trends in youth polytechnics recommended that there is “need to continue financing youth polytechnics”. Therefore, the declining budgetary allocations to these important institutions will negatively affect the youth empowerment.
The current primary to secondary transition rate is 82 percent. While this has increased over the years, it means that of the 928,000 candidates who sat for KCPE in 2015, some 167,000 students missed secondary school chances. The youth polytechnics in Kenya cannot absorb all of them at the moment and more funding is required to improve the enrolment in these youth polytechnics.