Varsities, TVETs take part in WorldSkills’ Mechatronics competition at Dedan Kimathi

Students from various universities and TVET institutions during the ongoing Worldskills Kenya national competition. Photo/ By Macharia kiarie

Trainees from different universities and and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions across the country are competing for the top position in this year’s WorldSkill Kenya National competition being held at the Dedan Kimathi University of Science and Technology (DeKUT) where industrial 4.0 and Mechatronics competition is taking place.

The five day event that kicked off on Monday is geared towards watching our youth talents challenge their peers to be called Kenya’s best, at the same time bridging the gap in industrial competence among the youth.

WorldSkills competition will offer an opportunity for measuring excellence in skill acquisition and development among university and TVET trainees.

According to DeKUT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Muchiri, the competition is of great significance to the students in demonstrating the competencies required in the local and international markets.

“As a university of technology we are very happy to host the competition under the industrial 4.0 and the mechatronics, the competition will inspire the youth to unleash their full potential as it allows the learners to showcase the best skills,” he said.

He added that the competition depicts the real meaning of competency based curriculum (CBC) as students demonstrate the skills they have acquired during the learning process.

“The competition is very significant because you cannot train an engineer who cannot be able to demonstrate competence in programming, coding and automation of mechatronic systems, in DeKUT our philosophy of training has been on competence and this event is a very good function of demonstrating competence of operating mechatronic system,” he said.

WorldSkills’ Kenya National mechatronic and industrial 4.0 expert Prof. Jean Bosco said that they are trying to incorporate the use of technology in technical and vocational education training (TVET) institutions which do not have modern equipment.

“We know TVET institutions don’t have enough equipment especially those needed in the industrial 4.0, we are trying to see if they can use the systems we developed by taking advantage of digitization and use the machines and facilities in DeKUT to enable students in other institutions access and program through virtual reality,” he said.

He added that through such competitions, they will help seal the gap between the students trained in the universities and what the industry requires.

“We have had an idea of giving students much science which created a wide gap between the trainees. What WorldSkills is doing is to try to bridge the gap between the industry and the education sector, for instance in universities they are equipment but trainers focus on theory while in TVETs trainer focus on hand on skill they lack modern technology,” he said.

Bosco added that they are working closely with Siemens, which provides 50 – 70 per cent of automation in industries to train TVET trainees.

“So far mechatronics is only offered at Jomo Kenyatta and Dedan Kimathi Universities which leaves a big number of students who are willing to study mechatronic without the opportunities.

In industries today you cannot employ one engineer that’s why we are bringing TVET trainees to this competition to access the facilities in universities,” he said.

This year’s edition of the WorldsSkills Competition will help in selecting a team that will represent Kenya in the WorldSkills International Competition that will take place in Lyon, France next year, where Kenya will also pitch to host the WorldSkills Africa Competition in 2027.

By Macharia kiarie

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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281