Technical Secondary School Leavers and Employment Opportunities

Statement of problem

Technical education has assumed an important role in Kenya’s development. This has been largely due to the manifestations of the inherent limitations of formal schooling. As school-leaver unemployment problem becomes more and more acute this seems to indicate to the need to reform the formal school system to adopt a practical bias. For a long time official government policy documents have extolled the value of schools equipping students with skills that will make them productive members of the wider community. It was noted in the Development Plan 1966-70 that,

“The government has clearly outlined the role of primary education in Kenya’s economic development. It is recognised that for many years to come primary education is all that most of the citizens can expect to obtain. Experience at school must be related to the kind of life the pupils will lead. Since Kenya is primarily an agricultural country, the schools must equip the majority of the pupils for rural and in particular agricultural activities.  The primary school curriculum has therefore to be studied and revised continuously in order to enhance rural life. An education that places unwarranted emphasis on urban white collar employment is believed to mislead, disappoint and frustrate the majority of primary school leavers…” [1]

The Weir Commission of 1967 recommended that the teaching of general science should be so oriented as to give primary school children an understanding of the process and problems of agriculture and its place in the economic and social development of Kenya. (Emphasis in teaching was to be focused on observation by children of plants and animals living in the local environment. [2]

The Curriculum Development Commission should focus on the importance of teaching science related to agriculture through the setting up of small plots for demonstration and experimental purposes in the upper classes of the primary school. [3] The ILO Commission of 1972 proposed an eight or nine year cycle of basic education. Primary education in this proposal was to incorporate lower and comprehensive secondary education with comprehensive streams catering for general commercial and technical subjects. This recommendation was adopted by the National Committee on Education Objectives and Policies. The proposed nine year basic education is to include among other subjects woodwork, masonry and bricklaying and business education. [4] The latest development in this direction has been the creation of the Ministry of Basic Education.

The second area which has reflected the importance of technical education has been the non-formal education programme. These have been in a way of completing the “unfinished business of the formal school”. Youth centres which were originally conceived to provide alternative education at the primary school level, have begun to extend their activities to providing craft training for primary school leavers and drop-outs; more significantly the village polytechnics although few in number have begun to focus on all-round needs (crafts skills, agricultural knowledge, small-scale ‘business management and general economic understanding) of young people forced to look for their future livelihood in the rural areas. A government pre-vocational training youth programme is now projected which will built at the youth centres and village polytechnics in order to create an integrated network of pre-vocational youth training projects. [5] Besides the village polytechnics, there are the National Youth Service Training depots, and the newly established Harambee Institutes of Technology all which stress the importance of technical education.

The third area which points to the place of technical education in development has been the expansion of secondary technical schools. The number of technical secondary schools has increased from nine in 1972 to thirteen in 1977 and was to reach fifteen by 1980. There has been a general revision of the syllabuses to develop more effective strategies for teaching skill subjects in the technical secondary schools. The Report of the National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies notes that the government had introduced agriculture and technical subjects in secondary school as a way of making school leavers more employable. On a cursory note, it is pointed out that despite that students were experiencing difficulties in finding employment and further technical training. Employment prospects of those who had completed it were not likely to differ markedly from those of the rest of secondary school leavers. The committee therefore recommended to government to halt the planned expansion of technical secondary education until a thorough review had been undertaken to determine the most appropriate way of investigating into these and other related Subjects. [6] It further makes the following recommendations as regards technical education:

  1. To remove the demarcation between secondary academic and secondary technical education and to make secondary education increasingly scientific, pre-vocational and craft-oriented.
  2. To integrate secondary school education more fully into an overall pattern of formal and non-formal opportunity for school leavers with the aim of providing work skills of different types and incorporating the National Youth Service, Christian Industrial Centres, National Industrial and Vocational training Centres, and Village Polytechnics into the system.
  3. To make secondary education more pre-vocational with a view to producing trainable young people.
  4. To diversify the secondary school curriculum and give a stronger practical orientation.
  5. To give prominence to the teaching of agricultural science in secondary schools and relate it to the teaching.
  6. To give stronger emphasis to other applied subjects in secondary schools, including industrial education for which the programme should be expanded, using equipment related to small-scale farming and to conservation.
  7. To provide science with technical education related to agriculture and allied industries as well as more theoretical study of separate science subjects as alternative science curricula in the reorganised secondary school system.
  8. To technicalize the general secondary school curriculum through the application of vocational as well as the more traditional academic social and cultural criteria by the introduction of subjects as technical drawing, engineering sciences, agricultural sciences and economics into the programmes of all secondary schools. [7]


Rationale and purpose of the study

Despite this government’s commitment to technical education, there are now clear indications that the trend should be critically scrutinised. The existing technical fields do not seem to portray a vacuum that should be filled by technicalising secondary education. In a recent survey of technical and vocational training it was pointed out that the system has been expanding steadily at an average rate of 9%. In general, the lower the level of the training the faster the rate of expansion with the following categories showing fast rates of increase: semi-professional civil engineering, catering and domestic science and education; skilled, other engineering, printing design and handcrafts and agriculture; below skilled mechanical engineering and design and hand-crafts. [8]

The existing institutions are beset with the problem of staffing. The difficulty in recruiting local staff as, teachers in technical/ industrial subjects at a semi-professional level is shown by the fact that only 35% Kenyanisation had been achieved by the early seventies in this category. Kenya’s technical training institutions are faced with a shortage not just of local staff but of staff as a whole. The Ministry of Education Annual Report makes the following observation as regarded to Mombasa Polytechnic.

 “A growing need for day-release courses in many subjects’ areas manifested itself (at Mombasa Polytechnic) but the difficulty in recruiting qualified lecturers impeded any extension in the number of courses offered. “[9]

In 1972 in July Mombasa Polytechnic had only 35 teachers (as against an establishment of 50) and more than a quarter of these were overseas volunteers. As a result all technician level courses had to be postponed until 1973. In reference to the Kenya Polytechnic the same Ministry Report noted;

“Recruitment of lecturers continued to be a major obstacle and recruitment efforts, but both locally and overseas and curtailing the development programme.”[10]

This problem is certainly not confined to the two polytechnics. It affects a number of other technical institutes. There is also a problem of general dissatisfaction with the quality of students who filter through technical secondary school to join the Ministry of Labour run National Industrial and Vocational Training Centre.

Employers and training institutions are dissatisfied with the level of competence achieved by secondary technical school leavers. Early in 1972 for example a group of 96 sponsored first year apprentices of all of wham attended such schools, took preliminary proficiency tests in their own specialisations at the NIVTC. Even after an extended twelve-week training course 46 of 96 failed the test. Only in electrical trade was there 100% pass rate (for 19 candidates); in mechanical trades only 4 out of 11, in automotive trades only 1 out of 28 passed. This may partly attributable to poor selection procedure other than electrical but mainly to insufficient time having been given at school to practical subjects and to inadequate facilities and materials. [11] This particular problem has had to influence some employers to prefer on Job-training.

Enthusiasm on the value of technical education needs to be based on economic realities. For instance it has been noted that the Ministry of Agriculture is saturated with the products of Egerton, Embu and AHITI, and at the rate at which such employment can grow is severely limited by budgetary constraints. In the technical areas some employment opportunities seem to be open in motor-mechanics, printers and semi-professional accountants.[12] Together with manpower demands there is also the problem of cost as was reflected in the 1972 comparative survey. It was revealed that the cost per graduate was as follows; primary school Shs.250 (1.7m pupils) government secondary schools Shs.1,666, (83,810) primary teacher’s college Shs.3,320 (7,290) University of Nairobi Shs.18,740 (4,140).[13] In an earlier survey in 1970, Fields had made the following assessment as shown in Table 1.

Table 1


  No. of Schools Total enrolments Total current cost (000Shs) Gross current cost per pupil
Primary (rural) 1.1m 280,000 255
Primary (Municipal) 6,065 91,000 44,260 486
Government Secondary

Schools including forms V

and VI

300 74,561 90,900 1,219
Secondary Technical Schools 4 1,908 4,027 2,110
Secondary Vocational Schools 8 2,424 5,600 2,310
Primary Teachers College 26 5,740 18,940 3,500
Kenyatta College 900 5,000 5,556
Kenya Science Teachers College 357 3,340 9,356
University of Nairobi 2,056 35,940 17,481


Perhaps the most crucial problem is not that of staffing, the quality of the students, manpower projections and cost but that of the economy planners who are persuaded to believe that emphasis on the acquisition of technical skills, will be a panacea to the problem of unemployment. These need to consider the economic structure more seriously. The Report of the National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies observes that a lot of the technology which is currently applied in the country, including the rural areas in capital-intensive technology which is designed entirely for use in developed countries from where it is imported and where relative costs of manual labour are high. [15] It is further pointed out that the indiscriminate importation and application of capital-intensive technology in the country have actually contributed to the creation of relative unemployment. While such capital-intensive technology the report goes on, may enable modern industry to develop rapidly, the rate of absorption of people into employment may at the same time be slowed down considerably.

This as viewed by the report was partly due to the high cost of creating work-places for people and the tendency to automation which is associated with a lot of the capital-intensive technology. The report emphasised that even in rural areas there was an increasing tendency to mechanise agriculture almost entirely on the basis of this kind of technology. [16]

Godfrey and Mutiso making the same point in reference to technical training they note;

Thus in general the sort of training that is going on in the formal sector of the economy, whether on the job, is the sort of training which is required by a foreign dominated commercial sector using imported technology and imported standards. [17]

It is in the light of the current government policy in technical education in the face, of such serious constraints that this study is undertaken to evaluate the impact of the existing technical secondary schools. The study specifically focuses on training and job opportunities for technical secondary school leavers, problems they face in career placements and prospects if any.


  1. Through library material a general historical overview is made on technical education in Kenya since the colonial period. The overview examines underlying factors in the development of technical training and its changing phases.
  2. A random sample of 726 students was made from eleven of the fifteen technical secondary schools namely: Kabete, Technical High School Nairobi, Thika, Machakos, Maasai, Nyeri, Meru, Mawego, Kisumu, Nakuru and Sigalagala Technical Schools. The basic trades offered at these school were accommodated; electrical, automotive, agricultural mechanics and welding of the engineering trades; carpentry/joinery, masonry, bricklaying, plumbing and surveying. A few of the schools offered typing, tailoring and othe commercial subjects. Interest was on students who took their East African Certificate of Education (EACE) 1980. A total of 726 students at these schools filled a questionnaire which covered such aspects as their socio-economic background, and their educational and job aspirations. In designing the questionnaire attention was paid on the need to focus on the broad dimension of technical education, thus giving students the opportunity to give opinions on several aspects rather than concentrating on only one or two aspects. The broad scope of this exercise also required a large number of respondents if the relationships between the many variables involved were to be systematically explored. This requirement of a large number of respondents in turn dictated the use of a self-administered questionnaire because the researcher did not have the time to interview so many students in person. Nor, did he have the funds to hire many assistants in such a task. Some of the questions were structured whenever possible in order to maximise the number of questions which would be asked and others were open-ended because of their well-known value of eliciting answers not easily anticipated by the researcher. In administering the questionnaire to avoid the problem of consuming teachers and students time and possibly generate hostility the questionnaire was often left with the headmaster or his deputy or the career master to administer it at his and the students convenience and the researcher travelled later to collect the filled questionnaire.
  3. Through the eleven technical secondary schools, the researcher obtained information regarding the performance on the EACE of the students who were in my sample. In a few cases the schools provided information of the students who were selected for form Five. A bulk of the data, was obtained from the Ministry of Higher Education, the Secondary School Section.
  4. A follow-up exercise was done by the researcher and his research assistant to try and find out the training and career placements of the ex-students in the sample. This was generally a painstaking task since it included visits to training institutions which recruit the students’ employers and the Directorate of Industrial Training. Occasionally we had to contact students to provide information regarding their former colleagues. This exercise was not quite completed though we obtained sufficient data to make conclusive judgements on the career opportunities of the technical secondary school leavers. Interviews were held with several employers.
  5. In data analysis we used a computer programme which provided simple means and a cross tabulation of the means.


Technical Education: A Historical Overview

Technical education is an aspect that has attracted considerable attention in the history of education in Kenya. The colonial administrations as well as the African government have had special interest in the development of technical or industrial education. In the colonial period the government and the Christian missionaries, the two bodies that largely controlled African education were in general agreement that technical training should be an important component in the education of the ‘natives’. There are a number of factors that contributed to this kind of policy. First there was the general British government disenchantment with the idea of replicating a metropolitan academic school curriculum in the colonies. In the colonial office in London, a strong anti-academic lobby attributed the Indian political unrest to a lack of technical training in the school curriculum. A leading protagonist of this view was Lord Chirol in his book the Indian Unrest, who advocated that industrial education be given more prominence in the education programme of the new colonies. These proposals were later popularised by Lord Lugard, the colonial empire architect in Africa, [19] though it occasionally assumed a racial dimension. An example of this was the Report of the Colonial Committee of the Privy Council submitted to the colonial office in 1847. Assuming that the mental capacity of the Negroes was different from that of the Europeans the Committee recommended a plan of education designed for social and racial in inferiors, stressing the importance of industrial and agricultural education in the interests of providing a docile and uncomplaining working class. [20]

When applied to Kenya with its racial structure, Africans as a group were believed to be sufficiently different from Europeans to merit a uniform curriculum. Arguing that Kenya was a whiteman’s country, it was pointed out that blacks must forever remain ‘cheap labour and slaves.’ [21] It was not therefore surprising that when J. Nelson Fraser of Bombay was commissioned to recommend a structure of education in the East African Protectorate (Kenya) in 1969 among his terms of reference was not to put forward plans for the literary education of Negroes but to consider the possibilities of developing industries among them. [12]

Christian missionaries subscribed to the idea of industrial training. As Curtin notes, ‘they transferred to Africa curriculum and method designed to meet the needs of the British working class. The goal of such teaching was to teach the virtue of hard work and the principles of evangelical Christianity’. [23] Curtin stressed that nineteenth century English educational practice provided missionaries an explicit model of the kind of schooling that upper classes felt to be suitable for the social inferior. The educational needs of the working class, or more generally the poor, were thought to consist of reading, writing sometimes arithmetic but, above all religion. [24] Complimentary to this was industrial or technical education. English education for the working classes was designed not to impede their primary function in society, namely, working. Technical education for the working classes of course grew out of the needs of industry, with great care being exercised so that such training would increase the productivity of workers without educating them above their class. [25]

The Church Missionary Society (CMS) records speak of technical education as having been designed as a way of disciplining Africans. It was thought of being particularly suited to them due to certain inherent disabilities which they suffered. The much commented upon ‘natural laziness’ of Africans could be remedied by an education which stressed that the hardworking man would have a good reward but the idle would be poor. [26] It was further seen as promoting humility, training the hand the eye, developing accuracy and encouraging manual labour, in which Africans were said to be deficient. In this regard the purpose of the school was to foster the dignity of work and training in the habits of industry. The school was to inculcate the values of self-reliance, punctuality and general helpfulness so that the pupils grow to look on idleness and helplessness as a grace. [27] It is not an exaggeration to emphasise that Christian Missionaries deliberately tried to encourage technical education for the purposes of being self-sufficient in the supply of labour to their mission estates. Temu quotes an example of Taveta where 42 boarders in 1895 had converted the mission land from a ‘desert’ into what the Taveta Chronicle called a veritable garden. The Mahoo or happy land gives testimony to the amount of labour put in by the boarders. [28]

Those were the general factors underlying the development of technical training in the colonial period. Since independence there has been an increasing commitment to the expansion of technical institutions. This is particularly interesting if it is considered that for a long time in the colonial era, there was general African opposition to technical or agricultural training. Africans were conscious of the political motives that clouded industrial training. In their view technical education was designed to provide a special kind of inferior education to hamper their political advancement. They lacked interest in technical training because it would hardly enable them to obtain clerical appointments and related white-collar jobs. They resented the socio-economic structure which closed avenues for further progress. Even for those who graduated from trade schools could not compete with the Indians who occupied so many of the junior technical and clerical posts, both in commerce and industry, and also in the government. [29]

Since independence there has been a swing towards technical education dictated by one major factor namely school-leaver unemployment. Within two years of Independence, the primary school leaver crisis had struck. An outcry was made against the purely academic primary school from which agriculture and carpentry had been withdrawn by the Education Commission Report of 1964. School leavers were accused of lacking marketable skills, they no longer received manual work that their predecessors had got, though not used. A response to this crisis, was a series of initiatives that were geared to providing skill opportunities to primary school leavers. These included the National Youth Service, Village Polytechnics and Rural Training Centres. At secondary school level measures have been instituted to expand technical secondary schools. To cope with school leavers from the academic secondary schools, there has been massive self-help Harambee interest in technical education leading to huge Harambee fundraising for institutes of technology in the early seventies.

In the light of some of the factors discussed above technical education became a cornerstone of the colonial education policy in Kenya. The first education commission, the Fraser Report, already referred to, with the strongest encouragement from European settlers and Christian Missionaries recommended to the government an industrial apprenticeship scheme through indenture. He reasoned that missions and government might through such a scheme begin a fruitful co-operation to replace the relatively expensive Indian artisans by cheap Africans. In proposing an industrial formula, however, Fraser felt that he was also making an assault on those undesirable qualities like self-conceit and insolence, that were assumed to follow from giving Africans literary education. Not only did the principle of technical education make an economic and administrative sense to train a skilled class of workmen who would keep up the habit of daily work but this was in line with the views of the settlers and middle class industrial England. 30

As soon as the report was published, experimental grants were offered to certain mission schools for technical education and the Department of Education was founded in 1911. With J.R. Orr appointed Director of Education, government grants-in-aid went through a system of payment by results to some eight mission schools capable of trade training. By 1912, industrial in basic skills such as smithing, carpentry, agriculture and typing [31] were already underway. Orr inspired by the writings of Booker Washington urged that industrial training be the basis of African education and stressed its political significance. In line with the settlers, he saw industrial education as providing a pool of African labourers who would be less militant on political issues. At school pupils were indentured as they entered primary school. Much of their education was organised around productive labour in the particular vocation to which they were legally bound. Most of them were indentured to follow basic trades of masonry and carpentry, although in some missions it was possible to follow a course for hospital dresser,  teachers as well as catechists. Since government grants were mainly allocated for the artisan apprenticeships, no school could attract substantial grants unless it embarked on technical training. [32]

The Education Commission Report of 1919 too pointed to the need of giving natives technical training, though recommended that this should not be based on examination results. It noted that for education to have effect, it must be of the right kind. For the natives education was to be on technical lines as most missionaries and settlers had recommended. The Commission observed that there was a general fear that if literary education was given the child educated would be ruined and would look forward to clerkships and similar occupations rather than entry into the field of labour. [33]

With the burning labour problem following the settlement of white ex-war soldiers in the highlands and flickering signs of African political agitation arising from post war socio-economic and political problems, the settler community felt that the Commission had not been quite forthright as to the purpose of technical training and the place of literary training in African education. The settlers were disappointed that the Commission had said nothing as to whether technical education was going to be primarily for development of native reserves or for the settler economy. [34] Many of those who had given evidence to the Commission, had little doubt that industrial education was needed to produce semi-skilled illiterate artisans to work on the white settlements. As pressure grew from the post-war influx of settlers a further technical education committee was appointed to spell out what the earlier report had left unsaid on the issue of technical training. Fearing political dangers of blending technical training and literary education, it argued against offering literary training to technical apprentices. While not disputing the fact that a workman is more efficient in proportion to his knowledge of theory, drawing and so forth, the committee claimed that it had inspected an excellent house built by illiterate masons and carpenters under technical supervision of a Captain Wilson and was quite impressed with the skillmanship of the illiterate masons. It therefore recommended that the colony will be efficiently served if artisans capable of creating such buildings were to be trained. [35]

European settler interest to manipulate the school system such that it produces African artisans stemmed from the Kenyan political situation of the time. Generally there was no serious shortage of artisan manpower. Indications by the late thirties and forties were that there was an over production of artisans. The settlers were anxious to substitute what they hoped would be cheaper African artisans for the Indians who held a monopoly of skilled positions in the country. It should also be noted that their political feuds had led to the Devonshire white paper and its declaration about the predominancy of the so-called Native interests. During this time though settlers were campaigning against giving Indians some kind of franchise, it is said they were in such financial difficulties that many could hardly afford to employ an Indian artisan. [36] Pressure to train cheap African artisans therefore increased in the early twenties. Lord Delamare impressed with the Phelps-Stokes Education Commission recommendation that Africans be trained to work with hands suggested that besides training African artisans in schools, a native training depot be established to facilitate the production of cheap artisans.

The Native Industrial Depot, Kabete formally opened in July 1924. The object of the Depot was to provide specialised training in various trades in advance of the industrial training, provided by the industrial departments of schools after completion of the first stage of vernacular education. This, at least ensured every apprentice being-able to read, write, calculate before beginning industrial training. It was noted that the weakness of the Africans was lack of self-reliance and initiative. The object of training in school was, therefore, to teach him to think for himself. The object of the training in the Depot was to enable him to hold his own as a tradesman in the open market.

In the schools pupils were indentured for a period of five years. Team work was encouraged so that through companionship on the desk, Africans were to teach, check and stimulate one another. Classroom work was closely related to that of the workshop. Selected boys from all schools, were transferred for the last two years of their indentures to Kabete for industrial training on strictly commercial lines. They were employed on contract and were expected to learn the theory and practice of courses: carpentry/joinery, masonry, bricklaying, blacksmithing, welding, electrical installation work, fitting and motor vehicle mechanics, tailoring and leatherwork including shoe-making. [37]

An interesting point regarding settler and government political interest in substituting Indians with Africans in the area of artisans and technicians, was in  the monopoly of skilled positions in places like the Railways and Harbours, Power and Lighting as well as in building and contracting by Indians  persisted up to the sixties. African artisans began to emerge from the NITD by the late twenties and a few joined the great estates as the settlers had hoped. Many however, aimed at technical corporations like the Railways and the Public Works Department (PWD) where conditions of service were fairly advanced by the standards of the time. The demand that NITD graduates enter industrial fields was not very much appreciated by the graduates themselves. During this time this school was among the leading institutions in the country. This certainly increased students’ awareness of being at the top of the school – going section of the community. Consequently only a handful stuck in a lifetime service industry or on settler estates. Because of their relatively privileged position in their own communities, they could readily turn to business on their own account, to retail trade, acquiring land and related businesses or more prestigious jobs. Those joining Railways and the PWD did not very much expect to be ordinary carpenters or masons but often expected supervisory positions.

Even by the early years of the NITD, the authorities were complaining that NITD students despite the vigour of their training, had quite fixed ideas about the kind of jobs they expected or could accept. [38] Looking at the training, it also appeared that the five-year apprenticeship system at the school was not producing the kind of skilled man required by the settler or by the smaller scale Indian firms in the towns. In the early thirties, the Director of Education was complaining that the employment of ex-apprentices on farms was not of an unqualified success. From the point of view of the farmer, he needed a handyman the school was not producing and secondly he required a temporary worker, while a NITD leaver preferred permanent employment. [39] This meant that the government objective of opening the NITD to reduce reliance upon the Indian skilled class was not succeeding. From the Director of Education’s complaint the Depot instead of turning out an adaptable group of skilled craft level workers, it seemed to be increasingly used as a stepping stone to securing employment in large co-operations.

Efforts made to charge the formal school with responsibility of producing a layer of African artisans were hardly based on the reality of the industrial skills required in the economy. While acknowledging the domination of industrial skills by the Indians, interest was not developed in the methods of Indian skill acquisition. Occasionally the Education Department would lament about the lack of manual training in the segregated Indian schools but there was little reflection on the methods of Indian training outside the school despite their effectiveness in destroying both African and European competition. The Indian skilled class came to East Africa with long family traditions of working in tin, glass, wood, iron and other specialised occupations. These families are said to have been responsible for introducing to Kenya a technology intermediate between that of large colonial corporations and the traditional crafts of the various African communities. They are said to have imported silently, but on grand scale, a very significant range of low products and a style of manufacture in which improvisation with tools and materials was a key feature. [40]

This improvisation started to reproduce itself in the first African employees of the Indian craft workers by about the thirties. Such employees unlike their counterparts in formal trade training had had very little or no schooling at all. They however, learnt the various technical processes on job and gradually as the Indians relaxed their closed craft mentality most of the item that had formerly been produced by them were produced by Africans. Trades like blacksmithing, tailoring, furniture, motor mechanics began to emerge from Africans who had acquired elements of Indian skill. They formed the first generation of African craftsmen and spread out in towns and rural areas. These in turn pioneered African apprenticeships, thereby disseminating various trade skills in towns and rural areas. Related to this was the training which involved taking on unskilled and usually unschooled workers as casual labour or permanent labour, and then over the years letting them sort themselves out into some area through observation or acquaintance with a trade in a European or Indian industry. By working with skilled Indian artisan or a muzungu acquired the relevant skills and eventually took on semi-skilled jobs which enabled them to achieve proficiency.

These modes of training seem to have continued up to Independence in 1963, and were generally favoured by employers since they were relatively cheap ways of producing skilled workers, and as will be seen later they created considerable difficulties in the absorption of the more highly schooled and certified products of the formal educational system. This trend has apparently continued to the present day making formal technical training more and more remote from the general needs of small scale enterprises in the country.

Without grasping the emergent forces in technical training the colonial administration went ahead to expand, formal technical training. In the early 1930’s following the ‘Great Depression’ primary schools were relieved of the responsibilities of indenturing students to follow certain trades. Many students had graduated from NITD. Apart from the world recession it would seem as if partly’ due to some of the reasons discussed above, government; the white settlers and local industry were still anxious about undercutting Indian artisans.

Settlers had already made a judgement on the ex-apprentices were unacceptable to the Indian industry because it had got accustomed to training workers on job. The apprentices themselves wished to be taken on in the largest private firms and in the government’s technical departments as already stressed. The opening of the Alliance High school and the Holy Ghost School Kabaa-Mangu which though elitist with some vocational training had sent them thinking as to the efficacy of technical education at the NITD or technical training in the schools. In this respect, it did not any longer seem worth to gear the whole upper primary school system towards technical work particularly when the operation appeared quite expensive and was having an insignificant impact on the economy outside the school. The Native Industrial Depot at Kabete, was however left to continue training artisans and was later to become the first trade and technical school. Other training schools, include the Railways, the Post Office, the Prisons and the Army which were aimed at meeting’ their own requirements for skilled artisans. A number of private companies trained people for specific skills in their own specification. Often a certain amount of elementary education in reading, writing and arithmetic were added. [41]

In the Post World War II educational developments, a commission was appointed by the four East African governments, Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda and Zanzibar to examine and make recommendations on the short and long term needs of vocational training and technical education in the post war educational plans. The commission was critical of the existing trade schools which it pointed out could hardly be classified as trade schools since much of the pupils courses had been directed towards building and providing furniture and other equipment to the serious detriment of fuller technical training. [42] Much of the instruction at the schools was circumscribed by the production requirements of government departments and others. It suggested that technical and trade schools courses be considered as fundamentally educational giving besides general educational background, a wide introduction through practical work, drawing science and mathematics to a further specialised training in industry and commerce through apprenticeship scheme or other system of training. [43]

The commission further heralded the beginning of technical secondary schools: It was suggested that grammar secondary schools be diversified such that they include secondary technical courses. In their opinion the first two years of the technical secondary schools could be similar to the grammar school. This stage would be followed by another one in which pupils would pass into a secondary technical course which would include subjects such as English, Maths, Drawing, Science and Practical work. Instruction in working with wood, metal, brick and stone could be included in the final two or three years of the course. This would prepare the pupil for entry into any industry as an apprentice. At the end of the secondary technical course which could occupy two or more years beyond the second year in the secondary stage, the more ·able could when the schools develop approximate the London Matriculation. The practical works in these courses were to be planned progressively for each trade. In the early years of secondary technical courses pupils would be concerned chiefly with practical exercises concerned with crafts with which they are dealing, but in the final years they would be able to undertake jobs of a more productive nature. After completion of a secondary technical course it would be possible for the boys to pass into industry through apprenticeships and at the same time continue their higher studies at a technical school or elsewhere. This in the opinion of the commission would ensure a definite link between secondary technical courses with entry into industry. [44]

Turning specifically to Kenya the commission noted that the territory offered many opportunities in technical occupations for Europeans, Asians and Africans. It observed that training schemes were however not well developed and some trades and occupations did not exist. The apprenticeship schemes that existed needed reconsidering from the point of view of continued general and technical education and a systematic and progressive training in the works. It emphasised that there existed a great need for artisans but it was neither defined or assessed. The training of artisans was generally carried out in the hope that all the trainees would be placed. It stressed the necessity for a survey of trained labour requirements and for the co-operation of employers and training establishments in planning to run training schemes and for the subsequent continued training after the trainees left the employers establishment. Kagumo and the Consolata school were recommended as possible technical secondary schools in view of the existing reasonable practical facilities and staff. A central technical school was to be established near Nairobi. [45]

Following this commission a number of post-primary trade schools were opened by the late forties and early fifties. These schools continued the Kabete tradition of engaging a very sizeable amount of productive labour. The students went in squads round the country buildings school blocks or made large quantities of furniture for schools and other government departments. Despite this contribution they were not particularly acceptable to the bulk of Kenyan industry during the 1940 and 1950s which as we have already discussed preferred to recruit much lower down the educational ladder, and let skills be acquired on the job. Technical courses at these schools laid emphasis on the acquisition of manual skills with 80% of the time spent on practical activities. The result was that the students found themselves locked into the artisan grade and their lack of knowledge on related studies and science denied them any opportunity of further education, or improvement. [46] This feature and others came under severe criticism by the Report of the Technical Institute Committee, though this report did not actually grasp the role played by industries in training technicians or artisans on job. The report observed that there was a scarcity of trained artisans which made even partially trained apprentice attractive to employers. This was in apparent reference to apprentices with formal education and technical training.

Apprentices with good education often found it both attractive and practical to improve their immediate earnings by breaking off their training before completing it. The consequence was that employers were not keen to enter to into deeds of apprenticeships with school leavers because they had no adequate hold over them. Under the existing legal compulsion, the apprentices were under no legal obligation to undertake theoretical study on which his apprenticeship was based hence they really did not fully qualify as journeymen. The Report passed a harsh judgement on the African youth whom it said failed to realize that ·had an obligation to themselves as well as his employer to complete his learnership or apprenticeship in any trade with one employer. As soon as they were taught something little they took advantage of that little additional knowledge to go elsewhere for higher wages. In comparison with Asian youth according to the Report Africans were not under parental pressure to take technical studies seriously and African parents did not provide financial assistance to their children. [47] It proposed an institute to provide mainly for Europeans and Asians instruction in those practical trade skills which were being taught to the African in the trade schools under the aegis of the Department of Education.

The courses were to progress at speeds beyond the capability of the African and were to be accompanied by higher theoretical study that would be appropriate for the African trade schools. Besides they were to prepare students for junior staff appointments in the supervision of journeymen in various trades. [48] As a result of this school based apprentices, the Education Department reacted by introducing schemes geared towards further upgrading or more certification. For instance this was about the time that the trade and technical schools formalised their link with the City and Guilds examining body in London, and they also lengthened their courses by adding more theory. The Department did not seem to realise so doing it was narrowing these apprentices chances of employment.

The result of this certification was the continuing divorce between the trade schools and the majority of the smaller Indian and European firms that used less sophisticated technology and different training methods from the large technical departments of government. It increasingly became clear that the Department was largely channelling its school-based apprentices for the government departments and not the broad school sector of the industrial sector. [49] The East African Royal Commission came out to Challenge this trend of development. The Commission doubted the wisdom of further extension of systematic schemes of apprenticeship which was peculiarly European at the low stage of industrial development in East Africa. It noted that historically the apprenticeship system in Europe was introduced to preserve the exercise of craft which already existed and, by restrictions on entry to maintain the economic position of those who already practised the craft. It emphasised that in East Africa where among the African industrial population there were practically no established crafts to protect, it could well be that the dominant need was for a more flexible system of training rather than close imitation of a system which evolved tinder quite different circumstances. [50]

Despite these criticisms, the government proceeded to vocationalise the newly established intermediate schools. The Beecher Report which recommended the creation of these schools, suggested that these schools maintain a proper appreciation of land as well as working with hands. To achieve this end considerable emphasis be placed on agriculture and handcraft in teacher training. [51] The government accepted the Beecher Report recommendations that practical programmes should be emphasized at the primary school level. In primary teacher training institutions, efforts were made to train teachers in practical subjects. To meet the needs of agriculture, a rural training centre was established at Thogoto. As for handcraft teachers, Kagumo and Siriba introduced courses in which KTI and T2 teachers would specialise in the teaching of this subject. Embu started a handcraft course for T3 women teachers. [52]

At Thogoto Rural Training Centre, entrants were normally T3 teachers with a two year teaching experience. Their course was channelled along the rural science syllabus for intermediate schools. They were trained to teach intelligently the underlying principles of soil conservation, general agricultural principles and the teaching of nature study and hygiene. They are said to have been exposed ‘to demonstrations in modern methods of farming and how these could be applied to the African agricultural systems and dairy herds. [53]

At Siriba, the course was geared to producing special handcraft teachers who also had enough general knowledge to enable them to conduct academic classes. Most of the recruits were those who had attended technical and trade schools and had gained basic knowledge in technical work. [54] The government also followed these plans for training teachers in practical subjects by establishing 300 intermediate schools. These were to have enough land to establish a small holding to demonstrate agricultural and animal husbandry practices suited to the locality. Each of the schools was to have one specialist teacher in agriculture and animal husbandry and one specialist teacher in handcrafts. To give the scheme a strong agricultural flair, the subject rural science was introduced. Most of the intermediate schools embarked on the teaching of agriculture.

Some schools were provided with oxen for ploughing, and small plantations of crops like bananas, coffee, and tea were established. Many were also provided with carpentry tools. The government insisted that a child could not gain his primary leaving certificate unless he had passed in one of the subjects, agriculture, handcraft and domestic science. Agricultural Education officers were appointed here and there and worked to make school gardens and individual pupils, demonstrations on terracing, contouring and soil preservation.

The success of the scheme varied from school to school and largely depended on the enthusiasm of individual headmasters and the inspectorate. [55]

It should, however, be pointed out that although these school operated on different pattern to the indentured primary schools, where the entire day was spent or on a trade, they do not seem to have fulfilled the intended objective of vocationalising the students. On the face of it appeared as if agriculture and trades were integrated in the school system to achieve the vocational objective, but the selective function of the schools worked to defeat this objective. The competitive common Entrance examination barrier at standard IV ensured that the intermediate schools which comprised of standards V to VIII funnelled only 2 to 10% of the total primary, school population. This point had been given considerable emphasis in the Beecher Report. This implied that this very minute number was already placed on pedestal of white collar employment. The vocational emphasis at the intermediate level was being offered primarily to a select group which with minimum effort could secure a job in the civil service or private sector of the economy and this is precisely what happened. On completing standard VIII, many secured employment in places like the Railways, Post Office, the government or private companies. Guarded by the rejection,  over 90% of their colleagues at standard IV, the intermediate school-Ieavers had very ‘little to do with the selected vocational subjects. Only a handful who dropped out could go into some trade as a last resort. This highly selective nature of the Common Entrance Examination alone made nonsense of making the intermediate school vocational. While these efforts were being made to vocationalise the intermediate school and expand trade schools, often at alarming costs, the informal methods of training continued to provide most of the basic skills for artisans. Which meant that the intermediate and trade schools were expensively trying to produce a kind of artisan that was being turned out informally and cheaply.

With the approach of Independence in 1963, there were general demands that the colonial government quickly provide equivalent curricula to those in European schools and the occupationally inferior industrial educational approach be dropped in the interests of social and political equality. Local communities strove to build up their own intermediate streams and there was general pressure to remove what was seen as the colonial device of scrapping 80% of primary children at the standard IV level. With the removal of the Common Entrance Examination, upper primary school numbers shot up. The high numbers alone made it difficult to provide compulsory examinable vocational instruction in these classes. The Kenya Education Commission (Ominde Report) recommended the withdrawal of agriculture as a separate subject in the primary school. Trade training too was abandoned. [56]

The scrapping of the Common Entrance Examination ensured that a fairly high number of the primary school pupils completed the seventh grade. While this had previously been restricted to over 90% of the pupils from proceeding to the intermediate school, its removal opened gates to all the pupils to continue to the upper primary school stream. It is noted that within three years the number had shot up to about half a million when previously the number was barely 50,000 pupils. This number obviously precipitated a primary school-leaver unemployment problem. There was a general concern that these leavers had no workable skills, particularly after the abolition of technical and agricultural subjects in the primary schools. The government and voluntary organisations responded to the crisis by establishing non-formal institutions with a strong vocational bias. The first of these institutions was the National Youth Service. This was a two year programme that linked general education with productive labour and provided intensive vocational instruction in skills such as carpentry, masonry, motor vehicle mechanics, electrical, typing and shorthand, tailoring and the related skills. Trainees are prepared in any of these skills for a government grade three trade tests. For some times now the National Youth Service has generally been successful in placing its graduates in employment in the public and private sectors of the economy. [57]

Voluntary agencies, particularly religious organisations like the National Christian Council of Kenya launched the village polytechnics. Unlike the National Youth Service with its boarding accommodation, country-wide recruitment and formal provision of courses geared to employment, the architects of the village polytechnics were anxious to avoid formalisation. They wanted small flexible and localised institutions aimed at meeting community needs. The polytechnics were to provide general skills in response to local needs and had to combat student temptations to wage employment in the urban areas. These institutions had therefore to avoid certification, and be of low cost. Studies which have been undertaken in the operation of the polytechnics have expressed alarm at the formalization tendencies of these institutions. Course provisions have in a majority of cases not responded to the local needs nor have they been as varied and innovative as intended. Traditional trades like carpentry and masonry have figured prominently. These and other trades have been geared to taking government trade tests. In some areas there has been student pressure to make the polytechnics more school like by providing uniforms, boarding facilities and more academic content. The general interest of the students is training towards formal wage employment. [58]

These students’ aspirations were expected given the nature of the economy with its certification syndrome. Other establishments operating along these lines include, Christian Industrial Training Centres, YMCA, YWCA – Vocational and craft Training Centres, Government Youth Centres, Rural Training Centres, and many others. A number of these institutions, albeit effective with those they enrol, have such small groups of students passing through that they cannot make any very major impact on the massive body of primary school leavers who do not continue with further education. Although some of the programmes such as the National Youth Service recruit in the tune of 2,000 students annually, all the skill sponsored programmes combined hardly train more than 5,000 youths annually. Needless to mention that this number is negligible considering that close to half a million pupils complete primary education annually.

What is also important is that although a number of these programmes are aimed at self-employment to the contrary they communicate a desire for wage employment in the modern sector of the economy. This is an interesting paradox, and raises questions about the relationship between conventional academic school system and self-employment.  Student aspirations are nonetheless realistic. The message that the primary school is concerned with is employment and mobility through secondary school.  Therefore any attempt to present a new message about self-employment is bound to be unsuccessful. In fact it is not just the pupils who conceive this particular role about the primary school, the government and the parents often see the primary school fulfilling the function of employment and mobility through the secondary school. The primary school curriculum is designed and operated to achieve this end.

The school leaver unemployment has also gripped secondary school leavers. Response to this particular problem, has been dramatic. It seems to have generated strong local interest in technical education. The most conspicuous part of this has been the planning and fund-raising for institutes of technology for form four leavers particularly in the early seventies. Communities that were enthusiastic in constructing Harambee (self-help) secondary schools following the achievement of independence seem to have realised that general secondary education does riot necessarily guarantee an immediate wage employment. Some marketable technical skills are perceived to be necessary to complete the ‘unfinished business of the secondary school.’ What is particularly interesting is that the proposed institutions, a few which are functioning now were not planned to provide skills for self-employment similar to the institutions discussed above. They are to be expensive architect designed boarding institutes whose products enter wage employment or if they turned to self-employment it would be more as small contractors and artisans. A number are planned to develop into University institutions. [59]

Meanwhile the government has responded to the problem of secondary school leaver unemployment by upgrading and expanding technical schools. In 1965 Kwale was integrated into the Mombasa Technical Institute. By 1966, the programmes had been replaced by secondary trade and junior technical programmes in Kabete, Eldoret and Thika. In 1967 Machakos and Sigalagala followed, all offering three year vocational trade courses and four year junior technical courses. These so-called secondary vocational schools offered academic training in the first two years and craft training in the third. A small percentage of the pupils were selected at the end of form two for what ? was termed a pre-technician course which lasted two or more years. Later on Eldoret, Kabete, Machakos, Sigalagala, Kaiboi and Thika came to be known as secondary trade schools while Meru and Mawego remained as junior trade schools. Machakos and Kaiboi offered tailoring, carpentry, masonry, painting, metal-work, motor vehicle mechanics and plumbing in two and three year courses. [60]

All the six secondary trade schools offered a three year pre-craft training in motor mechanics, electricity, agricultural mechanics, fitting and plumbing. Mombasa Polytechnic and Kabete the only ones offering the four year general pre-technical training in building, mechanical and electrical engineering. Efforts were also made to streamline the Technical High Schools in Mombasa and Nairobi which were predominantly Asian. Nakuru was established in 1964 and by 1970 together with three other technical schools embarked on the school certificate programme with a technical bias, thereby relieving the Kenya Polytechnic and the Mombasa Institute of Muslim Education of this exercise. [61]

For a variety of reasons, neither programme (the two year or the pre-technician programme could be termed successful. Students entering the employment market at the end of Form Three used to encounter serious difficulties in getting jobs. Form Four schooling was in such high demand and preference was given to graduates from the academic secondary schools with their better standards of mathematics and science. Graduates of the Pre-technician programme faired a little better in the labour market. They seem to have adopted a selective attitude regarding the type of employment they could accept and consequently the group developed a poor reputation which eventually made them to be rejected. This led to the reassessment of the programme with the object to

  • Improve the quality and status of the secondary school leaver
  • Provide status/esteem equivalent to that of the academic school leaver
  • Improve the facilities and equipment in the secondary schools
  • Improve the quality and status of teachers

A conference called to discuss these objectives decided that with effect from 1972-73 the technical school would provide a full four year course, pupils would sit for the East African Certificate of Education Examination, The Curriculum would be structured to provide a sound academic course together with either the basic engineering or basic building subjects. The Swedish government was approached for financial assistance in developing the technical school facilities to meet the demands of the new curriculum. The Swedish International Agency (SIDA) responded with a plan involving new workshops, equipment, support services, laboratories and dormitories. The complete programme of Technical and Industrial Education assistance undertaken by SIDA had amounted to over KS130 million by 1980. Earlier on in 1975-76, SIDA in co-operation with the International Development Agency (IDA) of the United Nations (UN) had a substantial amount of equipment given to several technical secondary schools. [62] During the years 1976-1977 SIDA made a comprehensive assessment of the equipment requirements of all technical education workshops, compiled lists of required equipment, drew up specifications submitted lists for tender and procured employment to value of about KS 10 million.

By August 1978, the bulk of this equipment had arrived and was being distributed to the workshops of the 13 technical secondary schools from the staging warehouse at Kabete technical school. Together with the equipment procurement programme was a building scheme which involved a selection of small additions and modifications to existing technical schools, five extensive expansions at Mawego, Meru, Sigalagala, Thika and Machakos technical schools which amounted to KS 10 million each as well as initial plans for the complete construction of new technical secondary schools at Kitale and Hombasa to be completed by 1980. Another significant contribution of the SIDA undertaking was the establishment in 1976 of an equipment procurement and repair depot at Kabete Technical school to buy supplies in bulk for distribution and to make repairs to technical equipment more readily at a lower cost than could be done commercially. These no doubt make the Swedish government contribution in terms of buildings equipment and services enormous.

The Canadian government was also approached in the 1970s to provide a new technical teachers college. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) responded with a plan to include a building complex, a scholarship scheme for Kenyanisation, a technical assistance package and an educational programme amounting to about KS150 million and KSl15 million grant-in-aid and the remainder long term loan. The complex was occupied in December 1977. The initial student intake was in September 1976 in temporary facilities. The Technical Teacher Training programmes formerly at the Kenya Polytechnic and the Industrial Teachers Training programme at the Kenya Science Teachers College (KSTC) have been moved to the Kenya Technical Teachers College (KTTC). [63]

To date there are 15 technical secondary schools located throughout the Republic all offering a complete four year secondary course and all preparing candidates for the Kenya National Certificate of Education Examination (KNCE) formerly the East African Certificate of Education (EACE) 0 level. Nine offer the basic mechanical, electrical and motive, agricultural mechanics and welding of the engineering trades and five offer basic carpentry, joinery, masonry, bricklaying, plumbing and surveying of the building trades while Kabete offers both. While at independence technical schools were turning out 400 students per year in 1973, they were 1,200 students who completed their technical training and in 1977 the number had stepped up to 1,500 students sitting for the EACE technical examinations. Enrolment in technical programmes by this year was about 6,500 students.

The syllabus in the technical secondary schools combines a strong academic core with basic technical studies. The normal timetable for the forms three and four is as follows:

English                                                                8 periods per week

Mathematics                                                       6 periods per week

Physical Science                                                  6 periods per week

Geography                                                          3 periods per week

Kiswahili                                                              3 periods per week

Technical Drawing                                              5 periods per week

Basic Engineering Trades/

Basic Building Trades Theory                             3 periods per week

BET/BBT Practical                                               14 periods per week

Total                                                                   48 periods per week

Students at Technical Secondary schools have the following educational and career options.

  1. Apprenticeship through the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) in the National Industrial Vocational Training Centre, (NIVTC) at Nairobi, Kisumu, or Mombasa. Technical Training through the DIT at either the Mombasa polytechnic or the Kenya Polytechnic
  2. or the Kenya Polytechnic at Nairobi.
  3. Form five and six studies in the Science subjects.
  4. Technical teacher training at the KTTC.
  5. Private industrial training programmes.
  6. Self-help (Harambee) institutes of technology.

These schools recruit students nationally and have appreciably raised their academic standards. In all forms the recommended class size is 36 for classroom and drawing room periods while, 18 for workshops and laboratory periods. Since the introduction of the new syllabus in 1971, the academic and skill levels of technical education has remarkably risen and the number of students enrolled in technical education has increased dramatically, and the calibre of the technical teachers has improved significantly, despite the large attrition in the numbers to industry and in scholarship programmes. Few of the scholarship teachers return to teaching while many are engaged by the polytechnics and ministries. [64]

It has been learnt that the government intends to construct over the next five years workshops and provide other relevant facilities for all the technical secondary schools. Of the 15 schools 5 are to be geared for the development of areas with high industrial and agricultural potential. The rationale behind this development is that the worsening employment prospects of secondary school leavers has created a tremendous demand for secondary technical places a ratio of 8 applicants for each form 1 place in the present trend.

It is further argued out that future manpower projections indicate that in the near future Kenya will be faced with a grave shortage of skilled manpower for all sections of the economy unless immediate steps are made to increase the output of skilled manpower from training institutions. The sections requiring manpower are said to be manufacturing and assembly plants, repair and maintenance of machinery, equipment and other facilities in agricultural water, irrigation, roads and the transport sectors. It is emphasised that growth of wage employment in all manpower categories except the unskilled is faster than the growth rate for total wage employment. A gradual increase in the proportion of skilled/middle/high level manpower in the workforce is consistent with the trend of steadily increasing labour force. It is further contended though erroneously that despite the fact that the production of technically skilled manpower is increasing there is still and will for a long time there will be a big gap between the demand and supply, as the demand in many areas increases faster than output. The economy is believed to be expanding and acquiring greater complexity and sophistication, hence making it inevitable that technical education and training capacity be expanded at all levels. [65]

The proposed development will entail 5 new technical schools. Each will have an enrolment of 576 students (boys and girls). The total enrolment of the five schools is expected to be 2,800 students. This would give an annual output of 770 students. Three of the schools would be engineering and two would be in the basic building trades. The grand cost of an engineering school would amount to K£2,005,402 and the total cost of the three schools would be K£6,196,206. The grand cost for one building school would be K£2,005,547 and for the two schools would be K£4,011,094. [66]

Alongside the capital development of the schools will be that of the teachers. It is observed that currently the country is still faced with an acute shortage of technical teachers to the extent that there is still a recruitment of technical teachers from overseas for the existing schools. This shortage is currently being eased by the current output of technical teachers from the Kenya Technical Teachers College, though with the intended development there will be a need to continue recruiting teachers from overseas. A financial projection is to train 120 technical teachers. This will raise the recurrent cost from K£19,200 in 1981 to K£67,200 in 1984. [67] This indicates a continued heavy investment in technical education.

Following these heavy financial doses in technical secondary schools, the standard of entry, the Certificate of Primary Education (C.P.E.) is high and compares favourably with the good academic secondary schools. As a matter of fact they have of late attracted an intense competition for entry with hundreds of primary school leavers applying for places in the technical secondary schools. They are attracting some of the brightest leavers. The build-up interest in technical schooling seems to be based on the fact that the government and the community have become aware that the job prospects of the conventional academic secondary school leavers have drastically diminished. This has led them to invest heavily in technical education as a panacea to this formidable problem of school leaver unemployment. The study examines the wisdom of this policy later own. On a cautionary note from what has been discussed in the preceding pages, there are indications that this trend might be misguided since organisations that might be interested in taking apprentices from the technical schools is the government and a number of the foreign based multinational companies.  This certainly raises the problem of placement when these schools seem to be training people in broad craft skills which many thousands of their counterparts acquire through relatively cheaper methods of training.

The Schools and the Students

As mentioned above, a random sample of the students was made from eleven of the fifteen technical secondary schools. Meru Technical and Thika Technical schools had the highest representation of 14.6% and 13.9% respectively of the sample as shown in Table 2. Maasai Technical is among the smallest technical schools, running a single stream class. The main trades offered at the eleven schools include motor vehicle mechanics, carpentry and joinery, masonry, electrical technology, agricultural mechanics, fitting and tailoring and welding and plumbing. Maasai, Sigalagala, Meru and Mawego offer carpentry and joinery, masonry and plumbing. Kisumu, Nakuru and Machakos offer motor vehicle mechanics and electrical technology mainly. Nyeri apart from offering motor vehicle mechanics and. electrical technology also offers fitting and tailoring plus welding. Thika offers motor vehicle mechanics and electrical technology and agricultural mechanics. Nairobi Technical concentrates mainly on motor vehicle mechanics while Kabete deals with motor vehicle mechanics, masonry, plumbing and electrical technology.

Most of the students in the technical secondary schools like the academic secondary schools by the time they complete their form four studies generally range in age from 16 years to 20 years. In this study as shown in Table 3)16 years of age were 3.9 per cent, 17 years of age 11.8 per cent, 18 years of age 24.9 per cent, 19 years of age 26.3 per cent, 20 years of age 20.5 per cent and 21 years of age 8.4 per cent. For a long time in Kenya Technical Training has been dominated by male students, though there are now indications in a few of the technical schools to recruit female students. In this sample there are seven women students.

An attempt was made to examine a number of socio-economic variables to obtain a general description of the students’ backgrounds. Interest was focused on some of the indicators of social class, the level of education of the students’ parents and their occupations and family property. There seems to have been a general reluctance on the part of the students to specify the kind of property, such things like land, specifying the actual acreage, shop, poultry and cattle. The information given tended to be unreliable and was therefore discarded. Information on the parents level of education and occupation appeared however straightforward. As can be seen from Table 4 close to half of the students had fathers who have been to school, while about 30 per cent had mothers who received some education. Not only did about half of the students have at least one parent who had been to school, but 15 per cent or more had a parent who received more than primary education.

That most students have educated parents suggests the emergence of a self-perpetuating educated elite. Educated parents have in a majority of cases earned more money than their less educated countrymen. This in turn has enabled them to send their children to school with greater frequency, because of their greater ability to pay the required fees and also being in a position to benefit from the fruits of their own education, they tend to take greater interest in the training of their children. [68] Though this self-perpetuating tendency among the educated section of the community is not a unique phenomenon to Kenya, it is a feature that is likely become more and more pronounced as western education spreads in the country. It is however equally significant that 37.2 per cent of the students were recruited from homes that parents had had no formal schooling. That this is so perhaps indicates that recruitment into the educational system is still relatively open. Though the youth from the educated household is more likely to take advantage of the educational opportunities that exist, they by no means monopolize the system. Which means that at least for some time to come the educational system will continue to serve as a channel of upward social mobility despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly filled by the educated elite.

In looking at the kind of occupations pursued by the respondents parents, it is significant that more students came from peasant or farming backgrounds (see Table 5) than any other. In Kenya where over 95 per cent of the population live in rural areas – a majority of the people are farmers. It is however possible that a good percentage of the farmers combine farming and other occupations. Apart from farming, close to 30 per cent of the fathers draw their income from other occupations like teaching. Though small, such careers require some education, and this points to the role, of education in social stratification or the function of education in the occupational structure. Turning to students ethnic background, the study tried to examine the degree to which the major ethnic groups in the country are represented in the sample.

In looking at Table 6, the tribes overrepresented in the sample are those which have historically had the greatest access to western education. Conversely, those which are underrepresented have not had as many schools in their respective localities. Those overrepresented included Kikuyu, Embu and Meru, Luo, Luyia, Kamba, Kisii and the Kalenjin groups. The underrepresented ones included the Maasai, Mijikenda, Taita, Turkana, Somali and Teso. There is also the phenomenon of population densities and the colonial Christian missionary factor to settle in areas with heavy population. Since the missionaries played a large part in the establishment of the education system, it is not surprising that these were the areas which benefitted most, though as the International Labour Organisation Report points out/the regional disparity in the distribution of educational facilities was deliberately heightened with the independent government. [69]

In respect to religious affiliation, there seems to be a considerable variation between the four groups, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Traditional. As can be seen in Table 8 more students are Protestants followed by the Catholics. The Muslims are poorly represented in the sample. The variation in religions background among the students is again primarily a result of the pattern of education which evolved during the colonial period. The colonial administration having left the running of education in the hands of the Christian missionaries, the result was that only those who adhered to the Christian faith received western education.

Table 2: School and sample representation

School Number Percentage
Maasai 35 4.8
Nyeri 49 6.7
Kisumu 67 9.2
Thika 101 13.9
Nakuru 59 8.1
Sigalagala 65 9.0
Kabete 66 9.1
Meru 106 14.6
Nairobi 62 8.5
Mawego 47 6.5
Machakos 69 9.5
Total 726 100


Table 3: Age and Sex of the Students

Age Number Percentage Sex Number Percentage
16 28 3.9 Male 719 99.0
17 86 11.0 Female 7 1.0
18 181 24.9 Total 726 100.0
19 191 26.3  
20 149 20.5  
21 61 8.4  
Not given 30 4.1  
Total 726 100.0  


Table 4: Level of Parents’ formal education

  Father Mother
  Number Percentage Number Percentage
No formal education 270 37.2 412 56.7
Primary education 245 33.7 178 24.5
Secondary education 91 12.5 38 5.2
University 1 0.1 2 0.3
Not given 119 16.4 96 13.2
Total 726 100.0 726 100.0


Table 5: Parents’ occupation

  Father Mother
  Number Percentage Number Percentage
Peasant 206 28.4 259 35.7
Farmer 134 18.5 127 17.5
Shopkeeper 5 0.7 16 2.2
Worker 26 3.6 11 1.5
Craftsman/technician 43 5.9 5 0.7
Teacher 30 4.1 20 2.8
Clerk 6 0.8
Businessman 36 5.0 42 5.8
Civil servant 19 2.6 4 0.6
Professional 51 7.0 15 2.1
Other 118 16.3 146 20.1
Not given 52 7.2 81 11.2
Total 726 100.0 726 100.0


Table 6: Students’ ethnic background

  Number Percentage
Kikuyu-Embu-Meru 303 41.7
Luo 136 18.7
Luo 94 12.9
Akamba 69 9.5
Kisii 31 4.3
Maasai 19 2.6
Mijikenda 15 2.1
Taita 1 0.1
Turkana – Somali etc 12 1.7
Teso 4 0.6
Kalenjin 34 4.7
Not given 8 1.1
Total 726 100.0


Table 7: Students’ regional distribution

  Number Percentage
Western 95 13.0
Nyanza 175 23.5
Rift Valley 106 14.7
Central 201 27.7
Eastern 130 17.9
Coast 19 2.6
North Eastern 2 0.2
Nairobi 6 0.8
Not Given 3 0.4
Total 726 100.0


Table 8: Students’ religious affiliation

  Number Percentage
Catholic 250 34.4
Protestant 430 59.2
Muslim 17 2.3
Traditional 2 0.3
Other 1 0.1
Not given 26 3.6
Total 726 100


Career Aspirations

As discussed in the historical review, the purpose of reorganising technical secondary school programmes in 1972 was to provide a sound academic course together with basic technical courses to increase employment and academic opportunities for graduates from these schools. The emphasis on technical training in their teaching schedule is geared to not only equipping them with the necessary and ready skills required in the labour market but also making them appreciate the importance and function of technology. The intense competition with which these schools have recently attracted in the recruitment of C.P.E. applicants seem to indicate to their unique role in the preparation of students for the future as opposed to the conventional academic schools; and as discussed before the government has already heavily invested in technical secondary schools and more plans are underway to expand and improve their quality. It would seem as if this trend is bound to intensify as school leaver employment opportunities diminish.

It would seem from student responses in this study that many do not really see themselves taking up an artisan kind of career. As shown in Table 9, 43.1 per cent aspire to become engineers and 20.1 per cent do not even intend to pursue a technical oriented job at all. Only 29.5 per cent aspire to become artisans or technicians. In trying to measure parental influence on career selection it is clear from the same Table that fathers’ educational background is somewhat reflected in student choice of career; 27.8 per cent of the students whose fathers attained primary education aspire to become artisans, 44.5 per cent intend to become engineers. This is more significant when 22.0 per cent with secondary education intend to become artisans while 51.6 per cent are aspiring to become engineers. This feature is also reflected in the cross-tabulation of fathers’ occupation and student job aspiration. It is notable for instance that 55.8 per cent of the students whose fathers are engaged as craftsmen wish to enter engineering, 60.0 per cent of the teachers, 63.2 per cent of the civil servants, 50.0 per cent of the clerks and 47.1 per cent of the professionals expressed similar views. In comparison 38.8 per cent of the farmers, 40.0 per cent of the shopkeepers and 46.2 per cent of the workers have ambitions to become engineers. As discussed above the idea of an emerging self-pertuating educated elite is reflected in the students’ career aspirations. A good proportion have their minds set on jobs which require advanced education and training.

When asked to indicate the chances they have in obtaining the desired job, generally not many are very optimistic. They are increasingly beginning to understand problems of the labour market. In response to a question to indicate the possible chances of getting the job they have selected in Table 10, 11.7 per cent of the artisans, 12.1 per cent of the engineers and 1.0 per cent of those intending to become non-technicians respectively expressed that they had very good chances of getting the desired job. 46.3 per cent of the artisans, 50.2 per cent of the engineers and 54.1 per cent of the non-technical job felt they had fairly good chances of getting the desired job. Those intending to land on non-technical jobs, like managers, supervisors are seemingly more optimistic. It is however significant that 29.9 per cent of the artisans, 29.1 per cent of the engineers and 22.6 per cent of the non-technical careers are anxious that they have small chances in getting the kind of jobs they are aspiring for. Despite this guarded optimism in getting the jobs they desire, in trying to compare career opportunities for secondary school leavers from the conventional academic secondary schools and technical secondary schools, as shown in Table 11, a majority of the students 82.8 per cent expressed the view that the latter schools provided better career chances on the labour market than the former; 30.1 per cent of the artisans, 43.4 of the engineers and 19.6 per cent of the non-technical jobs held these views.

Table 12 shows a breakdown of the students specialising in the different trades and choices of their careers. A high percentage (37.1) were specialising in motor vehicle mechanics followed by 17.5 per cent in masonry and 17.5 per cent in electrical technology. The rest of the trades are represented in small numbers. Judged by the trades and career selection, generally in all the trades a majority of the students wish to become engineers. In motor vehicle mechanics while 28.3 per cent wish to become artisans; 48.3 per cent in masonry; 2901 per cent artisans; 44.9 per cent engineers and electrical technology 30.7 per cent artisans and 52.0 per cent engineers. In a related question, students were asked to indicate the likelihood of getting the kind of job they were aspiring for. Not surprisingly, the artisans 34.6 per cent were confident that they would certainly become artisans, 28.8 per cent felt that they would get a non-technical job. Those aspiring to enter engineering fields seem to understand the task before them; they still need to go through several education hurdles before they qualify as engineers namely high school and the University. Only 20.2 per cent realistically think they will become engineers. Those taking motor technology however are still optimistic 43.5 per cent still felt they had chances of becoming engineers. There is very little difference on the rest of the trades.

On being asked to indicate the possible salary they expect from the desired job, in Table 13, they seem to be generally aware as to the kind of financial rewards they expect as a result of their educational status and career training. 38.9 per cent of the artisans, 31.9 per cent of the engineers and 20.8 per cent of the non-technicals expect a salary of shillings 500 to 1,000 per month. The non-technicals  present no consistent pattern, while the artisans and the engineers seem to be clear about their expectations. The artisans expect average salaries in the range of Shs. 2,000 to 3,500 while the engineers 61.9 per cent expect a monthly salary well above shillings 5,000. Some of these salary expectations are exaggerated, but this is not surprising given that only a handful of the schools in the Republic have organised career programmes. Table 13 shows that only 22.5 per cent of the students in the sample had used career booklets or career masters as sources of their information 25.8 per cent had talked to friends and 51.8 per cent had no information at all.

What emerges from Table 13 is that secondary school leavers face serious problems in selecting their future career. There is generally lack of informed guidance with regard to the range of jobs available, the precise requirements of each in terms of academic qualifications, personality traits and training and future prospects for promotion and even self-improvement. In many schools career masters do not have this information, or if they do, they lack first-hand experience of what they talk about. There are no reliable aptitudes or vocational tests to guide these masters and mistresses in giving meaningful advice to the students. [70]

Though, thorough researches have as yet to be carried out in this area to assess the effectiveness of career selection programme in secondary schools, one survey made of the 1969 Form 4 school leavers cohort yielded very interesting information. In a questionnaire students were asked to say what sources they had used to get information about the job they wanted to do after they had finished their formal education. The exact wording of the question was as follows:

Have you talked to anybody, or read any books or pamphlets to get information about this job?  Yes (   ) No (   ). If yes, please explain briefly what you did.

From the answers to this question it became clear which school had effective guidance programmes and which did not. Of the schools in the sample only four had very comprehensive programmes. Students referred to general talks from their career masters to talks from outside about specific job opportunities to reading the Kenya careers Guide and various pamphlets and to having individual interviews with their careers masters.

Our careers masters talked to me about it explaining in detail what qualifications, and skills are needed and also the pay. Talked to career’s master. Read Careers Guide. Listened to Careers talk by the Registrar of the training School. Applied for the job or form A. [71]

In the same study only three schools are said to have fairly effective programmes. Generally the Career’s Master gave general talks and made career’s literature available, but either talks from outside speakers or individual interviews were lacking. [72] Most of the other schools had either ineffective guidance programmes or no programmes at all. In some of these schools pupils had access to prospectuses mailed to the school by various training institutions but in others not even this material was available. In one school it is noted, the careers programme which consisted of a talk by the headmaster was described by one pupil in the following way;

The headmaster gave us a talk about the goodness of teaching. Then told us who was fit to be a teacher, and I was chosen. [73] The ineffectiveness of the career guidance problem is aggravated by the information provided by employers and career masters. It is noted that in addressing students about employment both teachers and employers seem to be occupied with stressing the difficulties of the unemployment situation and with emphasising the need for fourth form leavers to set realistic educational and career goals. [74] Little is said about students traits related to various jobs. Nor is much said about a rational relationship between the number of places available in each course and the number of applicants, and similarly between the intellectual demands of a course and the calibre of those who apply. Some accurate ratio of applicants to places for any course seems to be determined as much by-rumour and fashion as by any other factor. This seems to be the situation that faced the technical secondary school leavers in this study.

Many indicated that they intend to continue for high school as shown in Table 15, 52.8 per cent indicated so. Only 1.5 per cent outrightly stated that they did not want to continue with higher education. Those intending to proceed to high school aim at taking science subjects, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics 48.9, 40.8 and 42,4 per cent respectively; 13.2 per cent wish to take Geography. A small proportion intends to take arts oriented subjects like English 3.4 per cent, Economics 7.9 per cent and Kiswahili 1.9 per cent.

An important point of discussion regarding student selection of their careers is their general notion that they are not being prepared for lower jobs in the system. In answer to the simple question as to the kind of job they aspire for, it was seen that many have their eyes on advanced careers in the engineering or some managerial or supervisory positions. The objectives of the government in upgrading technical secondary schools to the East African Certificate of Education (E.A.C.E.) O level technical was to ensure that the students become academic and at the same time attracted to industry. The declared aim of these schools is largely to turn out skilled workers for industry. Although the study did not venture into ascertaining the kind of responses one would get if one asked the same question to students in the conventional academic secondary schools, one is tempted to think that their answers would not be significantly different. One imagines that they too would aspire to be engineers and managers since it requires some kind of higher education to make an engineer or director of a company. It would seem as if the context in which these students are schooled create the kind of aspirations beyond the rank of a mere skilled artisan. It is therefore clear that the government attempt to use the technical secondary schools to create a really solid and acceptable future craft apprentice runs parallel with a student attempt to use the technical schools to gain jobs of a high status and security which an ordinary academic form four could no longer guarantee. Given the high quality of students that are now attracted to these schools it naturally becomes difficult to maintain the position where technical schools are terminal at the fourth form and lead directly to craft apprenticeship. Like their colleagues in the rigorously selected students in the academic schools, they constitute a minority which is keenly interested in opportunities for further training and prestigious occupations that afford mobility.

As King observes the government aided secondary school is institutionally removed from the world of reality. He notes that in comparison to the primary school graduate, secondary school graduates are physically removed from the village to a world where they stay in large compounds with stone buildings, some have expatriate teachers and regularised classes. Some children, it is noted receive shoes for the first time and instead of a single meal as is the case at the primary school level, there are two main meals for boarders in addition to breakfast. By virtue of passing his C .P. E. examination, the secondary school entrant escapes from the village where he is in touch with the world of ‘reality’ to one where he pursues a future mission which is cherished and respected not only by his parents but also by the community at large. It is pointed out that while the unsuccessful primary school leavers  English ability gradually slips away from him, secondary school affirms English competence and creates a group of graduates who are separated socially and linguistically from school children and most adults. [74] In short the primary school environment closely reflects village development. Depending on the village’s prosperity it is built of mud, timber or stone. Pupils have a simple uniform (shorts and shirts). With the exception of the urban situations pupils hardly wear sandals and most of their facilities are basic makeshift benches in form of raised earth are not uncommon. Most pupils receive only one meal in day and English is not widely spoken save in class. [76] This contrasting atmosphere creates different personalities in the pupils. An unsuccessful primary school leaver, thus excluded from secondary school experience is ready to accept such an occupation like being an unpaid apprentice and many of the European and Indian firms prefer him on the job training. Having little if any alternative for gaining skills these primary school products readily enter into job training for many of the firms.

After acquiring some technical skills they even turn out to try out self-employment. The government secondary school atmosphere in contrast creates bourgeois values. Belonging to about 11 per cent of the primary school cohort which succeeded and persevered with education to the extent of completing form four they have to be rewarded with handsome wage employment. Being the aristocrats of the school population they think of themselves as ‘big people’. [77] This means that even for the graduates of the technical secondary schools end up seeing themselves as being prepared for careers of directing and supervising others rather than obtaining a direct practical orientation for work in their technical secondary schools programmes as this study tends to portray. Students in technical secondary school have their job aspiration fixed on such bodies as the government, the multinational companies like the East African Industries, Leyland (EA) and the Kenya Breweries, Corporations like the Kenya Airways, Railways, Posts and Telecommunications or some kind of established European firms. They tend to avoid small Asian or African oriented firms which they suspect might be burdening them with work with little pay and few open channels for upward job mobility. They are more particularly keen on job mobility and the security of their jobs which in their understanding are provided by the government the corporations and the multinational firms.

Table 9: Father’s education, occupation and career selection

  • Educational level
  Not Given Artisan Engineer Non Tech. Not Specified Total
Not Given (2)1.7 (39)32.8 (59)49.6 (16)13.4 (3)2.5 (119)6.4
No formal education (12)4.4 (87)32.2 (98)36.3 (60)22.2 (13)4.8 (270)37.2
Primary (12)4.9 (68)27.8 (109)44.5 (46)18.8 (10)4.1 (245)33.7
Secondary (0)0.0 (20)22.0 (47)51.6 (24)26.4 (0)0.0 (91)12.5
University (1)100 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (1)0.1
Total (27)3.7 (214)29.5 (313)43.1 (146)20.1 (26)3.6 (726)100.0


  1. Father’s occupation
  Not Given Artisan Engineer Non Tech. Not Specified Total
Not given (4)7.7 (18) 34.6 (19) 36.5 (11) 21.2 (0) 0.0 (52) 7.2
Peasant (12) 5.8 (65) 31.6 (81) 39.3  (40) 19.4 (8) 3.9 (206) 28.4
Shopkeeper (0) 0 (1) 20.0 (2) 40.0 (2) 40.0 (0) 0.0 (5) 0.7
Worker (0) 0.0 (6) 23.1 (12) 46.2 (8) 30.8 (0) 0.0 (26) 3.6
Artisan (1) 2.3 (13) 30.2 (24) 55.8 (3) 7.0 (2) 47 (43) 5.9
Teacher (0) 0.0 (5) 16.7 (18) 60.0 (7) 23.3 (0) 0.0 (30) 4.1
Clerk (0) 0.0 (3) 50.0 (3) 50.0 (0) 0.0 (0) 0.0 (6) 0.8
Businessman (2) 5.6 (10) 27.8 (9) 25.0 (14) 38.9 (1) 2.8 (36) 5.0
Civil servant (0) 0.0 (3) 15.8 (12) 63.2 (4) 21.1 (0) 0.0 (19)2.6
Professional (0) 0.0 (16) 31.4 (24) 47.1 (10) 19.6 (1) 2.0 (51) 7.0
Farmer (3) 2.2 (46) 34.3 (52) 38.8 (24) 17.9 (9) 6.7 (134) 18.5
Other (5) 4.2 (28) 23.7 (57) 48.3 (23) 19.5 (15) 4.2 (118) 16.3
Total (27) 3.7 (214) 29.5 (313) 43.1 (146) 20.1 (26) 3.6 (726) 100.0


Table 10: Chances of getting desired job

  Simple means Not given Artisan Engineer Non tech Not specified Total
Very Good (85)11.7 (4)1.4 (25)11.7 (38)12.1 (16)1.0 (2)7.7 (85)11.7
Fairly Good (355)48.9 (10)37.0 (99)46.3 (151)50.2 (79)54.1 (10)38.5 (355)48.9
Small (202)27.8 (5)18.5 (64)29.9 (91)29.1 (33)22.6 (9)34.6 (202)27.8
Nil (64)8.8 (1)3.7 (20)9.3 (24)7.7 (15)10.3 (4)15.4 (64)8.8
Not Given (20)2.8 (7)25.9 (6)2.8 (3)1.0 (3)2.1 (1)3.8 (20)2.8
Total (726)100.0 (27)3.7 (214)29.5 (313)43.1 (146)20.1 (26)3.6 (726)100.0


Table 11: Technical education and job opportunities

  Simple means Not given Artisan Engineer Non tech Not specified Total
Provides better Chances (601)82.8 (19)3.2 (181)30.1 (261)43.4 (118)19.6 (22)3.7 (601)82.8
Does not

Provide better chances

(97)13.9 (4)4.3 (25)26.6 (35)37.2 (26)27.7 (7)6.3 (97)12.9
Not Given (28)3.9 (4)14.3 (8)28.6 (14)50.0 (2)7.1 (0)0.0 (28)3.9
Total (726)100.0 (27)3.7 (214)29.5 (313)43.1 (146)20.1 (26)3.6 (726)100.0


Table 12: Area of specialisation and job expectation

  • Job desired
  Simple means Not given Artisan Engineer Non tech Not specified Total
Motor Mechanics (269)37.1 (12)4.5 (76)28.3 (130)48.3 (43)16.0 (8)3.0 (269)37.1
Carpentry/ Joinery (63)8.7 (3)4.8 (19)30.2 (16)25.4 (21)33.3 (4)6.3 (63)8.7
Masonry (127)17.5 (2)1.6 (37)29.1 (57)44.9 (27)21.3 (4)3.1 (127)17.5
Plumbing (57)7.9 (0)0.0 (16)28.1 (24)42.1 (16)28.1 (1)1.8 (57)7.9
Electrical Technology (127)17.5 (2)1.6 (39)30.7 (66)52.0 (18)14.2 (2)1.6 (127)17.5
Agricultural Mechanics (20)2.8 (0)0.0 (7)35.0 (8)40.0 (3)15.0 (2)10.0 (20)2.8
Fitting and Tailoring (8)1.1 (1)12.5 (6)75.0 (0)0.0 (1)12.5 (0)0.0 (8)1.1
Welding (13)1.8 (2)15.4 (1)7.7 (2)15.4 (5)38.5 (3)23.1 (13)1.8
Not Given (42)5.8 (5)11.9 (13)31.0 (10)23.8 (12)28.6 (2)4.8 (42)5.8
Total (726)100.0 (27)3.7 (214)29.5 (313)43.1 (146)20.1 (26)3.6 (726)100.0


(b) Job Most Likely to Get.

  Simple means Not given Artisan Engineer Non tech Not specified Total
Motor Mechanics (269)39.1 (35)37.2 (92)36.7 (64)43.5 (61)33.9 (17)31.5 (269)37.1
Carpentry/ Joinery (63)8.7 (13)13.8 (19)7.6 (3)2.0 (22)12.2 (6)11.1 (63)8.7
Masonry (127)17.5 (14)14.9 (43)17.1 (27)18.4 (29)16.1 (14)29.5 (127)17.5
Plumbing (57)7.9 (4)4.3 (19)7.6 (13)8.8 (18)10.0 (3)5.6 (57)7.9
Electrical Technology (127)17.5 (12)12.8 (52)20.7 (32)21.8 (24)13.3 (7)13.0 (127)17.5
Agricultural Mechanics (20)2.8 (2)2.1 (9)3.6 (4)2.7 (2)1.1 (3)5.6 (20)2.8
Fitting and Tailoring (8)1.1 (1)1.1 (3)1.2 (1)0.7 (3)1.7 (0)0.0 (8)1.1
Welding (13)1.8 (1)1.1 (6)2.4 (0)0.0 (5)2.8 (1)1.9 (13)1.8
Not Given (42)5.8 (12)12.8 (8)3.2 (3)2.0 (16)8.9 (3)5.6 (42)5.8
Total (726)100.0 (94)12.9 (251)34.6 (147)20.2 (180)24.8 (54)7.4 (726)100.0


Table 13: Salary expectation

Shillings Simple means Not given Artisan Engineer Non tech Not specified Total
Up to 500 (5)0.7 (0)0.0 (3)60.0 (1)20.0 (1)20.0 (0) 0.0 (5)0.7
500-1000 (72)9.9 (3)4.2 (28)38.9 (23)31.9 (15)20.8 (3)4.2 (72)9.9
1001-1500 (117)16.1 (5)4.3 (46)39.3 (31)26.5 (30)25.6 (5)4.3 (117)16.1
1501-2000 (107)14.7 (1)0.9 (36)33.6 (42)39.3 (21)19.6 (7)6.5 (107)4.7
2001-2500 (68)9.4 (2)2.9 (14)20.6 (14)20.6 (15)22.1 (1)1.5 (68)9.4
2501-3000 (50)6.9 (1)2.0 (6)12.0 (27)54.0 (14)28.0 (2)4.0 (50)6.9
3001-3500 (28)3.9 (0)0.0 (8)28.6 (15)53.6 (5)17.9 (0)0.0 (28)3.9
3001-4000 (39)5.4 (2)5.1 (8)20.5 (20)51.3 (9)23.1 (0)0.0 (39)5.4
4001-4500 (11)1.5 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (11)100.0 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (11)1.5
4501-5000 (27)3.9 (0)0.0 (6)22.6 (16)59.3 (5)18.5 (0)0.0 (27)3.7
Above 5000 (63)8.7 (1)1.6 (15)23.8 (39)61.9 (7)11.1 (1)1.6 (63)8.7
Not Given (139)19.1 (12)8.6 (44)31.7 (52)37.4 (24)17.3 (7)5.0 (139)19.1


Table 14: Sources of information

  Number Percentage
Read Career Booklets 163 22.5
Talked to friend 187 25.8
No information 376 51.8
Total 726 100.0


Table 15: Students educational aspirations

  High Edu. Maths Chemistry Physics Biology Geography English Economics Kiswahili
Yes (383) 52.8 (355) 48.9 (296) 40.8 (308) 42.4 (7)  1.0 (96)    13.2 (25) 3.4 (59)      7.9 (14)   1.9
No (11) 1.5 (371) 51.1 (430) 59.2 (418) 57.6 (719) 99.0 (630)  86.8 (701) 96.6 (669)  92.1 (712) 98.1
Not Given (332)45.7
Total (726)100 (726) 100 (726)  100 (726) 100 (726) 100 (726)   100 (726) 100 (726)   100 (726)  100


EACE Performance and Career Selection

Turning to performance in the EACE examinations it is clear from Table 16 that on the whole students in this study passed their EACE fairly well. 16.8 per cent score a division one, 30.7 per cent a division two, 29.9 division three, 11.2 per cent division four. Only 4.4 per cent fail. This performance is also reflected in the percentages of the aggregate points scored. They are evenly distributed from 20.0 to 50.0 points with a small but significant percentage scoring below 20.0 points. The sample in the study being close to half the number of the students from technical secondary schools who took their EACE examination in 1980 one is tempted to conclude that general performance in technical secondary schools is good. As already discussed considerable efforts have made by the government to improve their academic and technical training; though the latter area in a number of schools suffers as a result of a high turnover of teachers. This performance no doubt compares favourably with the established academic secondary schools.

In looking at performance in individual subjects a number of striking features emerge. Starting with the academic subjects it is seen in Table 17 (a) that the students in technical secondary schools as would perhaps be expected have a stronger Science bias. Performance on Mathematics and Physical Science is generally more impressive than performance on English, or Kiswahili. Geography which claims a place in the Sciences and the Arts fairs well. For example while 16.5 per cent 16.0 per cent and 20.5 per cent of the candidates score three points in Mathematics, Physical Science and Geography respectively only 6.1 per cent and 7.7 per cent in English and Kiswahili respectively reach the same level. An important drawback as compared to the established academic secondary schools, very few of the technical secondary schools offer Physics and Chemistry as separate subjects. This is to some extent limits these students effective competition at the high school level with the students who took these subjects at ordinary level. Another interesting point is that strangely while over 30 per cent of the students in the study were offered English literature as an area of study less than 2 per cent were offered biological studies. For those who proceed to high school to pursue Physical Sciences could be offered opportunity to take biology which would enable them cater to venture in medicine and agricultural studies. Within the government circles, it was learnt that mores are underway to phase out remnants of the arts subjects to make room for more science studies.

As seen in Table 17 (b) to (d) technical secondary schools offer a wide range of subjects in the main technical trades and students have a generous choice in the E.A.C.E. examination. Examining general performance in the subjects one gets the impression that a number of the subjects are poorly done. On most of them scores are concentrated in the lower credits and pass. A good example of this is Technical Drawing in Table 17 (c) a subject which was taken by a majority of the candidates; while 12.3 per cent score 3 points, 15.6 per cent score seven points 12.1 per cent 8 points and 18.5 per cent actually fail the subject. This applies to a number of the technical subjects though the picture is somewhat obscured by the small samples of the candidates that actually took these the subject. Considering performance by division and trade in Table 18, however, it can be seen that candidates who entered for Electrical Technology were the best on the overall performance. 28.3 per cent obtain a division one as compared to 14.3 per cent of the carpentry and joinery, 15.0 per cent of the masonry, 15.8 per cent of the plumbing and 15.4 per cent of the welding trades. This too applies to those who obtain a division two, while the Electrical Technology 42.5 per cent obtain a division two, 30.5,23.8, 32 ..3, 24.6, 25.0, 7.7 per cent of the Motor Vehicle, Carpentry/Joinery, Masonry, Plumbing Fitting and Tailoring and Welding respectively obtain a division two. It is equally remarkable that none fails and a very small percentage of this group obtain a division four. While 8.7 per cent obtain a division four 19.0 per cent of Motor Vehicle, 27.0 per cent of the Carpentry/Joinery, 15.7 per cent of the Masonry 21.1 per cent of the Plumbers, 25.0 per cent of the Agricultural Mechanics, 12.5 per cent of the Fitting and Tailoring and 46.2 of the welders obtain a division. It is a risky undertaking to try and draw a conclusion from this kind of trend. Perhaps casually one is tempted to link good performance in Electrical technology with student familiarity with the subject in the study of Physics.

The relative good performance in academic subjects as compared to technical can be attributed to one important factor namely the continuation of pursuing non-technical subjects at higher levels. For those who continue with the academic career technical subjects are terminated at the fourth form, therefore there is the tendency to concentrate more on subjects that will later be followed, and since a majority of the students aspire to continue to high school naturally more attention is paid on these subjects. The improvement of the academic component in the technical secondary schools together with the ‘isolationist’ nature of the government secondary school as discussed before increases technical school graduates aspirations for higher education as opposed to the government aim to train a majority of the technical secondary leavers for industry.  It is indeed a paradoxical situation in trying to advance academic work at the technical schools as well as improving technical training with an aim of making a technical form four class terminal for a majority of the technical secondary school graduates. In private discussion with some of the B.Ed. Science students who went through technical school they seemed to suggest that the main problem with technical secondary schools is that they lack academic mobility in technical subjects. For those who continue their academic career there is no way in which they can continue with these subjects until possibly at the University, if one gets admitted in the engineering fields. They pointed out that besides lack of continuity of technical subjects at higher level, for the technical graduated who obtain a division one or a good division two and opt to become a craft apprentice that amounts to ‘academic suicide’. They suggest that for such a graduate it would take him seven years to obtain a technician diploma as opposed to his counterpart who opts to continue his academic career to University. The latter graduates with a degree after five years; while the former has to spend four years as a craft apprentice and later take a three year course at the polytechnic to obtain a diploma. The government will have to consider the possibilities of introducing technical subjects at the advanced level, though in saying this one is clear that much of technical training is largely done on job as already discussed.

In trying to relate in EACE performance and fathers occupational level in Table 19 there are some indications of the hypothesis of a self-pertuating elite, particularly in reference to the candidates who obtain a division one. It is seen that 33.3 per cent, 31.6 per cent and 23.5 per cent whose parents are teachers, civil servants and professionals respectively obtain a division one. There is little reflection of it on the other grades.

The relationships between educational aspiration and the EACE performance in Table 20 point to students’ academic ability and their educational aspirations. Though in Table 20 (a) the percentage of the students who do not aspire to continue with further education is somehow affected by their small sampIe, it is clear that most of them fall in the low grades ranging from division three to fail grades. This too is reflected in the aggregate points scored. A sizeable percentage of the students who were non-committal, 45.7 per cent obtain a division three. This group which did not want to commit itself 8.7 per cent obtain a division one as compared to 24.3 per cent who outrightly stated they intended to continue further education. Indeed for the group aspiring for higher education only 12.5 per cent obtain a division four unlike 21.4 per cent who did not make their intentions known, and 54.5 per cent who do not aspire to go to high school. This too applies to those that completely fail their examination. If data in this Table 20 is anything to go by then there is a strong relationship between student educational aspiration and performance on the EACE. Secondary students who consider themselves most academically able are the ones whose educational aspirations are inclined towards further education. This tends to confirm our earlier contention that granted that technical secondary schools have become extremely competitive in their C.P.E. student recruitment attracting some of the best students like the conventional academic secondary schools it is quite natural that these students have to turn their backs to the purpose of a technical school as training mainly for industry.

As is evident in Table 21 (a) this seems to be the group that have their eyes on areas like engineering as their possible future careers. As compared to 10.3 per cent of the artisans and 13.7 per cent of those aspiring for non-technical jobs, 21.7 per cent of the division ones aspire to become engineers. There is not much difference on the rest of the groups. On possibilities of getting the desired job in Table 21 (c) 20.4 per cent still feel they will eventually become engineers, though 18.7 per cent see the likelihood of becoming technicians. Interestingly it is the same group that tends to comprehend the labour market better than the rest. On being pushed to indicate, the chances of getting the desires job in Table 21 (b) 7.1 per cent of them said they had very good chances, 18.0 per cent fairly good chances 19.8 per cent small chances and 14.1 per cent indicated nil chances. This is as opposed to 35.3 per cent very good chances, 31.3 per cent fairly good chances, 28.7 per cent 28.1 per cent .nil chances indicated by division two and a similar trend with the division threes. Likewise in Table 21 (c) while 30.3, 31.8 per cent of the division two and three respectively think that technical schooling provides better employment opportunities 14.5 per cent of the division one share such views. Divisions one, two and three strongly feel that taking technical training at school hardly betters ones “job opportunities on the labour market. It can tentatively be deduced that secondary school students who are academically stronger tend to understand the rigours of the labour market than those who are generally less able academically.

Table 16: EACE Performance

(a) By division

  Number Percentage
Division I 122 16.8
Division II 223 30.7
Division III 217 29.9
Division IV 125 17.2
Fail 34 6.4
Total 726 100


(b) By aggregate points

Points Number Percentage
7 – 10 6 0.8
11 – 15 33 4.5
16 – 20 63 8.7
21 – 25 90 12.4
26 – 30 103 14.2
31 – 35 119 16.4
36 – 40 90 12.4
41 – 45 101 13.9
46 – 50 79 10
51 – 54 42 5.0
Total 726 100.0


Table 17: EACE performance by subjects

(a) Academic subjects

  English Maths Kiswahili Physical Science Geography English Literature
Not taken (16)2.2 (15)2.1 (372)51.2 (95)3.1 (54)7.4 (490)67.5
Credit 1 (1)0.1 (16)2.2 (2)0.3 (9)1.2 (18)2.5 (1)0.1
Credit 2 (7)1.0 (23)4.5 (14)1.9 (25)3.4 (35)4.8 (3)0.4
Credit 3 (44)6.1 (120)16.5 (56)7.7 (116)16.0 (149)20.5 (18)2.5
Credit 4 (31)4.3 (54)7.4 (25)3.4 (44)6.1 (75)10.3 (13)1.8
Credit 5 (46)6.3 (55)7.6 (26)3.4 (45)6.2 (56)7.7 (15)2.1
Credit 6 (147)20.2 (96)13.2 (65)9.0 (117)16.1 (124)17.1 (59)8.1
Pass 7 (147)20.2 (86)11.8 (64)8.8 (110)15.2 (57)7.9 (42)5.8
Pass 8 (163)22.5 (81)11.2 (46)6.3 (61)8.4 (48)6.6 (36)5.0
Fail 9 (124)17.1 (170)23.4 (56)7.7 (104)14.3 (110)15.2 (49)6.7
Total (726)













  • Technical subjects
  Carpentry Theory Carpentry Practical Workshop Engineering Electrical Technology Masonry Theory Masonry Practical Auto Practical
Not taken (681)93.8 (681)93.8 (665)91.6 (633)87.2 (624)86.0 (624) 86.0 (678) 93.4
Credit 1 (2)0.3 (1)0.1 (1)0.1 (2)0.3 (7)1.0 (1)0.1
Credit 2 (5)0.7 (2)0.3 (1)0.1 (4)0.6 (1)0.1
Credit 3 (4)0.6 (1)0.1 (2)0.3 (10)1.4 (4)0.6 (19)2.6 (4)0.6
Credit 4 (4)0.6 (4)0.6 (1)0.1 (7)1.0 (4)0.6 (10)1.4 (2)0.3
Credit 5 (7)1.0 (6)0.8 (10)1.4 (6)0.8 (14)1.9 (3)0.4
Credit 6 (9)1.2 (6)0.8 (7)1.0 (14)1.9 (16)2.2 (24)3.3 (6)0.8
Pass 7 (8)1.1 (24)3.3 (13)1.8 (14)1.9   (21)2.9 (24)3.3 (11)1.5
Pass 8 (7)1.0 (2)0.3 (18)2.5 (13)1.8 (25)3.4 (5)0.7 (9)1.2
Fail 9 (6)0.8 (1)0.1 (17)2.3 (24)3.3 (23)3.2 (9)1.3 (11)1.5
Total (726)















  • Technical subjects
  Auto application Agricultural technology Plumbing Electrical applied Technical drawing Mechanical technology Motor V. Mechanics
Not taken (67)93.4 (701)96.6 (674)92.8 (648)89.3 (116)16.0 (664)91.5 (691)95.2
Credit 1 (3)0.4 (15)2.1 (2)0.3
Credit 2 (1)0.1 (24)3.3 (1)0.1 (1)0.1
Credit 3 (1)1.0 (2)0.3 (7)1.0 (8)1.1 (89)12.3 (15)2.1 (2)0.3
Credit 4 (11)1.5 (1)0.1 (2)0.3 (5)0.7 (41)5.6 (8)1.1 (2)0.3
Credit 5 (3)0.4 (4)0.6 (5)0.7 (7)1.0 (39)5.4 (5)0.7 (1)0.1
Credit 6 (13)1.8 (6)0.8 (8)1.1 (15)2.1 (67)9.2 (12)1.7 (3)0.4
Pass 7 (10)1.4 (7)1.0 (12)1.7 (36)5.0 (113)15.6 (6)0.8 (7)1.0
Pass 8 (1)0.1 (4)0.6 (8)1.1 (4)0.6 (88)12.1 (5)0.7 (6)0.8
Fail 9 (2)0.2 (1)0.1 (10)1.4 (134)18.5 (10)1.4 (11)1.5
Total (726)















(d) Technical subjects

  Electrical Engineering Mechanical Engineering Mechanical Application Surveying Technology Fitting and Tailoring
Not taken (689)94.9 (694)92.8 (654)90.1 (710)91.8 (718)98.1
Credit 1 (3)0.4
Credit 2 (1)0.1 (2)0.3 (1)0.1
Credit 3 (4)0.6 (5)0.7 (8)1.1 (4)0.6
Credit 4 (5)0.7 (6)0.8 (8)1.1 (1)0.1
Credit 5 (3)0.4 (2)0.3 (11)1.5 (1)0.1
Credit 6 (7)1.0 (7)1.0 (14)1.9 (3)0.4
Pass 7 (9)1.2 (12)1.7 (7)3.7 (3)0.4 (1)0.1
Pass 8 (2)0.3 (8)1.1 (2)0.3 (2)0.3 (4)0.6
Fail 9 (7)1.0 (8)1.1 (1)0.1 (3)0.4
Total (726)100.0 (726)100.0 (726)100.0 (726)100.0 (726)100.0


Table 18: Area of Specialisation and EACE Division

  Not Given Div. I Div. II Div. III Div. IV Fail Total
Not Given (1)2.4 (8)19.0 (9)21.4 (16)38.1 (2)4.8 (6)14.3 (42)5.8
UMU (2)0.7 (38)14.1 (82)30.5 (83)30.9 (51)19.0 (12)4.9 (269)37.1
Carpentry/Joinery (1)1.6 (9)14.3 (15)23.8 (15)23.8 (17)27.0 (6)9.5 (63)8.7
Masonry (1)0.8 (19)15.0 (41)32.3 (41)32.3 (20)15.7 (5)3.9 (127)17.5
Plumbing (0)0.0 (9)15.8 (14)24.6 (19)33.3 (12)21.1 (3)5.3 (57)7.9
Electr. Technology (0)0.0 (36)28.3 (54)42.5 (26)20.5 (11)8.7 (0)0.0 (127)17.5
Agr. Mechanical (0)0.0 (1)5.0 (5)25.0 (9)45.0 (5)25.0 (0)0.0 (20)2.8
Fitting & Tailoring (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (2)25.0 (5)62.5 (1)12.5 (0)0.0 (8)1.1
Welding (0)0.0 (2)15.4 (1)7.7 (3)23.1 (6)46.2 (1)7.7 (13)1.8
Total (5)0.7 (122)16.8 (223)30.7 (217)29.9 (125)17.2 (34)4.4 (726)1.8


Table 19: EACE performance and father’s occupational background

  Not Given Div. I Div. II Div. III Div. IV Fail Total
Not Given (2)3.8 (8)15.4 (11)21.2 (11)21.2 (14)26.9 (6)9.6 (52)1.9
Peasant (0)0.0 (30)14.6 (72)35.0 (66)32.0 (31)15.0 (7)3.4 (26)28.4
Shopkeeper (0)0.0 (1)20.0 (1)20.0 (2)40.0 (1)20.1 (0)0.0 (5)0.7
Worker (0)0.0 (5)19.2 (7)26.9 (9)34.6 (3)11.5 (2)7.7 (26)3.6
Craftsman (1)2.3 (6)14.0 (19)44.2 (12)27.9 (5)11.6 (0)0.0 (43)5.9
Teacher (0)0.0 (10)33.3 (10)33.3 (5)16.7 (4)13.3 (1)3.3 (30)4.1
Clerk (0)0.0 (1)16.7 (2)33.3 (1)16.7 (2)33.3 (0)0.0 (6)0.8
Businessman (1)2.8 (0)0.0 (10)27.8 (11)30.6 (10)27.8 (4)11.1 (36)5.0
Civil Servant (0)0.0 (6)31.6 (4)21.1 (8)42.1 (0)0.0 (1)5.3 (19)2.6
Professional (0)0.0 (12)23.5 (8)15.7 (19)37.3 (10)19.6 (2)3.9 (51)7.0
Farmer (1)0.7 (20)14.9 (46)34.3 (38)28.4 (24)17.9 (5)3.7 (134)18.5
Other (0)0.0 (23)19.5 (33)28.0 (35)29.7 (21)17.8 (6)5.1 (118)16.3
Total (5)0.7 (122)16.8 (223)30.7 (217)29.9 (125)17.2 (24)4.4 (726)100.0


Table 20: Education aspiration and EACE performance

(a) By division

  Not Given Div. I Div. II Div. III Div. IV Fail Total
Not Given (29)8.7 (91)29.2 (115)34.6 (71)21.4 (18)5.4 (332)45.7
Yes (2)0.6 (93)24.3 (126)32.9 (99)25.8 (48)12.5 (14)3.6 (383)52.8
No (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (3)27.3 (6)54.5 (12)18.2 (11)1.5
Total (5)0.7 (122)16.8 (223)30.9 (217)29.9 (125)17.2 (34)4.7 (726)100.0


 (b) By Aggregate points

  7-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 26-30 31-35 36-40 41-45 46-50 51-54 Total
Not Given (1)3.7 (6)1.8 (15)4.6 (33)10.0 (44)13.4 (63)19.1 (51)15.5 (51)15.5 (43)13.1 (23)7.0 (329)45.6
Yes (6)1.6 (27)7.1 (48)12.6 (57)15.0 (59)15.0 (56)14.7 (37)9.7 (49)12.9 (30)7.9 (12)3.1 (381)52.8
No (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (2)18.2 (1)9.1 (6)54.5 (2)18.2 (11)1.5
Total (6)0.8 (33)4.6 (63)8.7 (90)2.5 (103)14.3 (119)16.5 (90)12.5 (101)14.0 (79)11.0 (37)6.1 (726)100.0


Table 21: Job aspiration and EACE performance

(a) Per division

  Not Given Div. I Div. II Div. III Div. IV Fail Total
Not Given (1)3.7 (6)22.2 (5)18.5 (8)29.8 (4)14.8 (3)11.1 (27)3.7
Artisan (0)0.0 (22)10.3 (68)31.8 (75)35.0 (38)17.8 (11)5.1 (214)29.5
Engineer (3)1.0 (68)21.7 (95)30.4 (88)28.1 (48)15.3 (11)3.5 (313)43.1
Non-Technical (1)0.7 (20)13.7 (48)32.9 (40)27.4 (30)20.5 (7)14.8 (146)20.1
Not Specified (0)0.0 (6)23.1 (7)26.9 (6)23.1 (5)19.2 (2)7.7 (26)3.6
Total (5)0.7 (122)16.8 (223)30.7 (217)29.9 (125)17.2 (34)4.7 (726)100.0


(b) Chances of getting job

  Not Given Div. I Div. II Div. III Div. IV Fail Total
Not Given (1)5.0 (3)15.0 (6)30.0 (3)15.0 (4)20.0 (3)15.0 (20)2.8
Very Good (1)1.2 (6)7.1 (30)35.3 (24)28.2 (16)18.8 (8)9.4 (85)11.7
Fairly Good (1)0.3 (64)18.0 (111)31.3 (114)32.1 (11)14.4 (14)3.9 (355)48.9
Small (2)1.0 (40)19.8 (58)28.7 (57)28.2 (37)18.3 (8)4.0 (202)27.8
Nil (0)0.0 (9)14.1 (18)28.1 (19)29.7 (17)26.6 (1)1.6 (64)8.8
Total (5)0.7 (122)16.8 (223)30.7 (217)29.9 (125)17.2 (34)4.7 (726)100.0


(c)Job most likely to get

  Not Given Div. I Div. II Div. III Div. IV Fail Total
Not Given (2)2.1 (8)8.5 (26)27.7 (25)26.6 (22)23.4 (11)1.7 (94)12.9
Artisan (2)0.8 (47)18.7 (72)28.7 (78)31.1 (45)17.9 (7)2.8 (251)34.6
Engineer (0)0.0 (30)20.4 (47)32.0 (36)24.5 (25)17.0 (9)6.1 (147)20.2
Non Tech. (1)0.6 (25)13.9 (63)35.0 (59)32.8 (27)15.0 (5)2.8 (180)24.8
Not Specified (0)0.0 (12)22.2 (15)27.8 (19)35.2 (6)11.1 (2)3.7 (54)7.4
Total (5)0.7 (122)16.8 (223)30.7 (217)29.9 (125)17.2 (34)4.7 (726)100.0


(d) Technical school and job opportunities

  Not Given Div. I Div. II Div. III Div. IV Fail Total
Not Given (3)10.7 (8)28.6 (6)21.4 (4)14.3 (5)17.9 (2)7.1 (28)3.9
Better Chances (1)0.2 (87)14.5 (182)30.3 (191)31.8 (109)18.1 (31)5.1 (601)82.8
No Better Chances (1)20.1 (27)28.4 (35)37.2 (22)23.4 (11)11.4 (1)1.1 (97)12.9
Total (5)0.7 (122)16.8 (223)30.7 (217)29.9 (125)17.2 (34)4.7 (726)100.0


Job placement

As discussed before fourth form leavers have career options through the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) in the National Industrial Vocational Training Centre (NIVTC) at Nairobi, Ki$umu or Mombasa Technical Training through the DIT at either Mombasa Polytechnic or the Kenya Polytechnic at Nairobi, form five and six studies in the Science subjects, Technical Teacher Training at the Kenya Technical Teacher Training College, Private Industrial Training Programmes, self-help (Harambee) institutes of technology.

The establishment of a National Industrial Training Scheme under the Industrial Training Act was for all industries with a view to

  1. establishing national training standards and common working conditions for all indentured learners, craft apprentices, technician apprentices employed in the various industries
  2. promoting, and developing system indentured learners, craft apprentices, technician apprentices training programmes in industry, thereby strengthening the existing apprenticeship
  3. meeting the present and future needs for qualified indentured learners, craft apprentices, technician apprentices in the country.
  4. creating more opportunities for school leavers to undertake industrial training in the industry. [78]


The Directorate of Industrial Training through the National Industrial Vocational Training Centre (NIVTC) centres in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa following the Industrial Training Act co-ordinates industrial training activities. It administers three main programmes;

  • First is the training of indentured learners. The minimum educational qualification for entry to the scheme is the C.P.E. or an equivalent. Suitably qualified holders of the National Trade Test Grade III may be considered for entry into indured learnership. The indentured learner trades include bench carpenter, upholder, bricklayer, roof and asphalt worker, floorer, painter, building glazier, sign painter, concrete worker, plasterer, paviour, reinforcing iron worker, concrete shutter, terazzo worker and the fitter, scaffolder, drain layer, spray painter, stone dresser, body builder, welder (gas), welder (electric), box and carton makers, die-maker, cutting and greasing mechanic operators, paperbag makers, distemper, binders, binding auxiliary operators, shoemaker etc.
  • The second training scheme is that of the craft apprentices. The minimum educational qualification for entry to craft apprenticeship is form two of secondary vocational/technical schools or an equivalent. Suitably qualified holders of the National Trade Test Grade II may be considered for entry into a craft apprenticeship at an advanced level. The apprenticeship trades under the scheme for craft apprentices include;
  • Group A Metal and Mechanical Trade Fitter (General). Fitter Mechanical Maintenance Fitter Factory Service Turner, Machinist (General) Tool and Die Maker, Sheet Metal Worker, Welder (General), Plater and Fabricator Pipe Fitter and Welder Diesel Engine Fitter (Stationary).
  • Group B Automotive and Allied Trades. Motor Vehicle Mechanic, Plant Mechanic (Contractors’ equipment) Motor Vehicle Electrician, Diesel Engine Mechanic, Panel Beater.
  • Group C Electrical and Electronics Trades. Electrician (Installation) Electrical Fitter Electronics Mechanic, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic, Power Plant Mechanic.
  • Group D Woodworking Trades. Carpenter and Joiner, Cabinet maker, Wood mechanist.
  • Group E Building Trades. Mason (General), Plumber/Pipe Fitter, Carpenter Construction), Painter and Decorator and Steel Fabricator.
  • Group F Printing Trades. Compositor, Letterpress Machine Minder, Process Camera Operator, Lithographic Plate Maker, Lithographic Machine Minder, Mechanical Composition Operator.
  • Group G Agricultural Trades. Agricultural Mechanic (farm machinery)
  • Group H Textile Trades. Fitter Textile (weaving, Fitter Textile (spinning).


Third there is the technician apprenticeship scheme. The minimum educational qualification for entry to technician apprenticeship is the EACE with credits in Mathematics, English and an appropriate Science subject or an equivalent. Suitably qualified craft apprentices who have made outstanding progress may be considered for transfer to technician apprenticeship in completion of their first year of craft apprenticeship. Occupations under the technician apprentice include: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Automotive Engineering Aeronautical Engineering, Marine Engineering, Telecommunication .Engineering, Radio, Television and Electric Engineering, Plant Engineering, Building and Civil Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Water Engineering, Land Surveying Science Laboratory, Draughtsmanship, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Ventilation.

Technicians are defined in the act as being that group whose education, training and practical experience enable them to apply in a responsible manner proven techniques and procedures and to carry a measure of technician under the guidance of professional engineers. [79]

Apprenticeship entails practical training on the job which is undertaken with the employer under the supervision of Government Training officers and supplementary craft or technician course training which includes practical training and theoretical instruction related to the trade, which is conducted at a training centre or at any other approved training establishment. These institutions include NIVTC in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. An apprentice is bound by a written contract to serve an employer for a determined period of time for purpose of learning a trade or an occupation in which he is so employed, during which the employer pays the apprentice a wage. The employer may get reimbursement for his training expenses provided his training programme is approved and registered by the DIT and that a levy system for the particular industry is in operation.

The Ministry of Labour has strongly argued in favour of this ‘systematic’ training as opposed to the informal apprenticeship training on job in the industries. It argues that no modern society can progress without skilled workers. It notes that such skill does not just happen, it is learnt and can hardly be learnt by haphazard trial and error methods over the years. In the opinion of the Ministry the idea of learning on job turns out to be costly to employers in time, labour, wastage of material, damage and misuse of equipment and accidents. At the same time it is noted that these workers never become completely skilled and adaptable workers. Lack of formal training denies them the opportunity of acquiring knowledge, ability and skills to enable them to progress. It is further emphasised that with the complicated nature of modern machines and equipment added skills and knowledge are therefore needed to operate them efficiently and to cope with the many techniques now applied in the modern world of industrial development and progress. Systematic apprenticeship is therefore designed to provide specialised skills and knowledge geared to the specific needs of the country’s industries. Both the employer and the apprentice benefit by this planned and specialised training. The employer by having skilled workers capable of undertaking and carrying out complex tasks with a high degree of skill, the apprentice by acquiring skills necessary for the advancement in the trade of his choice, and the country by accelerating its progress and prosperity. The employers are admonished that they have a duty of helping to build up a pool of skilled workers if Kenya is to progress and improve its present standards and the apprentice are advised that they have a duty to themselves to acquire knowledge and skills by making use of facilities available. [81]

Students in this study fall under the craft and technician apprentices depending on their performance on the EACE examination. From Table 22 (a) a majority of them proceeded for further education 28.0 per cent. A very small percentage 1.5 per cent had been recruited through the DIT into the private sector as technicians or craftsmen and 7.9 per cent were apprenticed in the public sector.

In relating job placement and career aspiration while still at school, it is seen in Table 22 (b) that 24.6 per cent of those who had aspired to become technicians, 48.8 per cent of the engineers and 18.2 per cent of the non-technical job were selected for high school. Though the private sector group is considerably affected by its small sample, 27.3 per cent artisan 45.5 per cent of the engineers and 27.3 per cent of the non-technical jobs were apprenticed into the private sector as craftsmen or technicians and 26.3 per cent of the artisans, 36.8 per cent of the engineers and 26.3 per cent of the non-technical jobs were apprentices into the public sector.

E.A.C.E. examination performance relates interestingly with job placement. As is expected many who perform highly on this examination are selected for high school, 45.8 per cent of the division one were selected for high school, 33.3 per cent were still unaccounted for but a good proportion were selected for high school in the supplementary intake. A fairly high percentage of the division two, 43.8 per cent, were selected for higher, 27.3 per cent in the private sector, 38.6 per cent in the public sector and 24.6 per cent were unaccounted for. As for the division three only 8.9 per cent had been recruited for high school, 54.5 per cent in the private sector, 38.6 per cent in the public sector. A vast number of the division four and fail had not been placed. Job placement is therefore very much dictated by performance on the EACE. It is also interesting that only a very small percentage of the technical secondary school leavers had been recruited as apprentices through the DIT. A majority of the students were recruited for high school (28.0 per cent) which is close to half the total number of the students recruited for high school from all the technical secondary schools in the country. The number which took the examination, in 1980 from the schools was close to 2,000 students. In terms of educational or job prospects of students from technical secondary schools like the academic secondary have more opportunities at high school. Technical secondary school graduates have some opportunities to be recruited as craft apprentices, but this area is not as open as is erroneously thought. As seen in Table 24 the largest sector of recruitment is the government, the Ministry of Water Development, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications and a small number at the Kenya Technical Teachers College. Many of the Multinational companies can hardly recruit more than 10 students on the average. The small industries hardly recruit more than 2 technical school graduates on the average. There seem to be more openings in the Building and the Civil Industry, Engineering Industry and Motor and Transport. The total number of craft apprentice recruited in 1981 was 723 from the technical schools and this number included’ a good number who had taken the E.A.C.E. examination before 1980.

The recruitment of technicians also does not offer wide chances. This group like the craft apprentices, the government is the largest employer. The highest number was recruited by the Ministry of Works and the East African Power and Lighting and the Ministry of Transport and Communications as shown in Table 23. The large Multinational companies recruit two apprentices on the average. Technician recruitment is not confined to technical school graduates, it is open to school leavers from academic secondary schools provided they possess an E.A.C.E. with credits in English, Mathematics and an appropriate Science subject. Besides outstanding craft apprentices are legible. Technical secondary school leavers therefore do not necessarily have wide chances for recruitment as technicians.

Table 22:  Job placement

  Number Percentage
Not Given 7 1.0
EACE A Level 203 28.0
Private Sector 11 1.5
Public Sector 57 7.9
No Information 448 61.7
Total 726 100


(b) Job placement and job aspiration

  Not Given Artisan Engineer Non-Tech. Not Specified Total
Not Given (1)14.3 (3)42.9 (3)42.9 (0) 0.0 (0) 0.0 (7)1.0
EACE A Level (9)4.4 (50)24.6 (99)48.8 (37)18.2 (0)0.0 (203)28.0
Private Sector (0)0.0 (3)27.3 (5)45.5 (3)27.3 (0)0.0 (11)1.5
Public Sector (3)5.3 (15)26.3 (21)36.8 (15)26.3 (3)5.3 (57)1.5
No Information (14)3.1 (143)31.9 (185)41.3 (91)20.3 (15)3.3 (448)61.7
Total (27)3.7 (214)29.5 (313)43.1 (146)20.1 (26)3.6 (726)100.0


(c) Job placement and EACE division

  Not Given Div. I Div. II Div. III Div. lV Fail Total
Not Given (4)57.1 (2)28.6 (0)0.0 (1)14.3 (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (7)1.1
EACE A Level (1)0.5 (93)45.8 (88)43.3 (18)8.9 (3)1.5 (0)0.0 (203)28.0
Private Sector (0)0.0 (0)0.0 (3)27.3 (6)54.5 (1)9.1 (1)9.1 (11)1.5
Public Sector (0)0.0 (6)10.5 (22)38.6 (22)38.6 (1)10.5 (1)1.8 (57)7.9


No Information (0)0.0 (21)4.7 (110)24.6 (170)37.9 (115)25.7 (32)7.1 (448)61.7
Total (5)0.7            


Table 23: Recruitment for Form V 1981

(First intake)  
School Number
Maasai Technical 0
Kisumu Technical 48
Mawego Technical 59
Nakuru High 59
Thika Technical 20
Meru Technical 34
Sigalagala Technical 36
Technical High School 21
Machakos Technical 37
Kabete Technical 92
Nyeri Technical 35
Total 399


Table 24: Recruitment of Craft Apprentices by November 1981 (Major Companies)

Company Number
Kenya Taitex Mills 4
East African Bag and Cordage 1
Mowlem Construction 8
Greenhut Construction 7
National Construction Corporation 30
Kenya Canners 11
Mumias Sugar Company 22
South Nyanza Sugar Company 1
Chemilil Sugar Company 18
Pan Paper Mills 6
Ministry of Water Development 60
Ideal Casement 1
Ministry of Environment and National Resources 7
KFA Nakuru 1
Kenya Meat Commission 3
Bamburi Portland Cement 3
Leyland (K) Ltd. 10
Kenya Bus Service Mombasa 3
East African Road Services 2
Cooper Motors 18
Kenatco 7
Hughes Ltd. 8
Marshalls (E.A.) Ltd. 18
National Youth Service 11
Kenya Army 14
Kenya Bus Service Nairobi 2
Ministry of Transport and Communications 261
Car and General 10
Catholic Secretariat 1
National Christian Council 1


Table 25: Summary of recruitment of craftsmen November 1981

Industry Number
Textile Industry 9
Saw Milling Industry 10
Building and Civil Industry 136
Plantation Industry 61
Printing Industry 6
Engineering Industry 96
Commercial and Distributive Industry 1
Food Processing 3
Chemical Manufacturing 4
Motor Transport 370
Others 27
Total 723


Table 26: Recruitment of technicians – November 1981

Industry Number
Kenya Tea Development Authority 2
Ministry of Transport & Communications 15
E.A. Power and Lighting 18
Mabati Kenya (Ltd.) 1
Kenya Bus Service 2
Amazon Motors 1
Western Motors 1
Raymond Mwangi K. Contractors 1
W. Greenhut Construction Company 2
Ministry of Works 18
Maendeleo Building Contractors 1
Muthingi Building & Civil Engineering 2
Mowlem Constructors 2
Timsales Kenya (Ltd.) 1
Pan African Paper Mills 8
Thika Cloth Mills Ltd. 2
Kenya Canners 2
Kenya Taitex Mills 1
Total 89*


*Note these figures include a good number of the craftsmen and technicians who had taken their EACE examination before 1980. Craftsmen do not necessarily have attained a school certificate. Minimum requirement in is Form II.



From the foregoing section it is clear that the government is the largest employer of technical secondary school leavers as is the case with the bulk of the school leavers from the academic secondary schools. It is a little strange that the large multinational companies are reluctant to recruit a good volume of these graduates for training on the basis of the Industrial Training Act. It is true to say that the principle on which the levy is raised varies from industry to industry). For instance in building and civil engineering 0.25 per cent of the total contract cost over a certain ceiling is levied and employers who train in accordance with stipulations of the Act are refunded NIVTC course fees, wages while employees are on courses, travelling and subsistence expenses and given an arrival grant for each apprentice expenses on their books. In the eyes of the Ministry of Labour the formalisation of training through the Industrial Training Act has certainly increased the number of registered apprentices and it is actually being judged as a success. The scheme as already pointed out was based on reducing the amount of on job training and the possible exploitation of the learners in the informal sector. This seems to have hardly changed the situation since training on the job continues to coincide with the operation of the NIVTC. The informal sector employers in many cases are not able or willing to meet the exacting training requirements of the Act and are therefore prepared to pay the levy as if it is a tax. Problems arising from the payment and reimbursement of the levy has tended to increase the fees which employers charge to learners and hence tended to reduce the numbers involved. [82]

Many of the firms seem to have got so much accustomed to working with the on-the-job apprentices that it will probably take more than legislation to orientate them towards the requirement of the Industrial Training Act. A number of firms have indeed responded to the stipulations of the Act by setting aside training premises and full time training officers to handle craft apprentice and technician trainees, but in many cases there is little connection between those they train and those who constitute their labour force. There seems to be general resistance to recruiting secondary apprentices. The companies accuse these apprentices of leaving their courses prematurely or quit as soon as they have served their time to get higher pay or go into quite different lines of occupation. Having been used to lowly educated school leavers to train on job (mainly primary), the firms have stereotypes of secondary school leavers as people who have distanced themselves from reality and are afraid of dirt and sweat that are part and parcel of craft or mechanical activity. Some established European and Asian management view the secondary school leaver whether from technical or academic school being money-crazed, lazy, big-headed and politically dangerous, having no loyalty to the firm [83] and being prepared to walk out as he pleases.

There are cases at the DIT in which some employers have shown open hostility to the apprentices to scare them to abandon their training prematurely. To confirm the apprentices disdain for dirt and hard labour the apprentices are deliberately exposed to awkward tasks which the employers are fully aware they would resent, and if they refused to carry out such tasks they have their contracts terminated. This situation is hardly improved by the apprentices perceptions of themselves. The apprentices as discussed before have in their minds secure jobs largely provided by the government or established large multinational companies. These are the places they expect good working conditions. Besides these are institutions in which they can rapidly advance to foremen or supervisory positions as soon as they complete their apprenticeship. As pointed out earlier there are very few of such firms and their rate of absorbing technical secondary school leavers is generally low. Most companies which are more used to recruiting primary school leavers are reluctant because they are doubtful if secondary school leaver apprentices are prepared to learn their job the hard way. They have to accept to be tossed from one part of the factory to another if progress has to be made. The idea of a highly remunerative employment haunts them and are bound to be disillusioned with the firm that seems to disregard their ‘unique’ educational standing with no main openings at all. The firms are further opposed to the idea of increasing wages for their apprentices annually because in their view wages should increase, in accordance with the individual productivity. Despite the fact that the training levy will reimburse the total apprentice wages during the first four years they are unhappy with having to pay the apprentice in the fifth year of apprenticeship at a relatively high rate. This frustrating situation has often driven craft apprentices in trying to raise their academic background in demanding to be released to attend polytechnic courses. This does not seem to have worked very well, because the polytechnic seems to have switched more to the training of technicians.

At the root of the controversy between the employers and school leavers is the mode of production in the industries. It is now widely acknowledged that multinational companies in the country generally favour capital intensive techniques. These techniques do not only require less labour for each level of output but they also require a different composition of the labour force than labour intensive techniques, as they make possible the division of complex operations, which would need skilled labour, into simple operations that can be performed by semi-skilled labour. In other words labour intensive techniques are associated with a pattern of employment in which unskilled labour and skilled labour predominate whereas capital intensive techniques are associated with a pattern of employment in which the labour force is largely of semi-skilled and high level manpower predominate. [85] The latter is needed in relatively small proportions. The choice of capital intensive techniques within each industry favours the use of specialised machinery and involves a small share in wages and requires largely semi-skilled labour. [86]

This capital intensive oriented economy seems to be the core of the problem of unemployment problem. The government appears aware of this factor as reflected in the recent Gachathi Report of 1976. It was noted;

‘In Kenya, rural development remains one of the biggest challenges to Science and technology. Labour is plentiful in the country. The enormous human resource in the rural areas can be productively used provided the appropriate labour intensive technology is made available and used. Yet a lot of technology which is currently applied in the country, including the rural areas is capital-intensive technology which is designed entirely for use in the developed countries where it is imported from and manual labour high … It is well known that the indiscriminate importation and application of capital-intensive technology in the country have actually contributed to the creation of relative unemployment. While such capital intensive technology may enable modern industry to develop rapidly, the rate of absorption of people into employment may at the same time be slowed down considerably. This is partly due to the cost of creating workplaces for people and the tendency of automation which is associated with a lot of capital intensive technology. Even in rural areas there is an increasing tendency to mechanise agriculture almost entirely on the basis of this kind of technology. [87]

Implicit in this quotation is the problem of an externally controlled economy which can hardly cope with the internal developmental problems of the country. Giovanni Arrighi who is very well exercised on the economics of Tropical Africa quotes Lange who makes the following vivid observation;

With the development of large capitalist monopolies in the leading capitalist countries, the capitalists of those countries lost interest in the developmental investment of the less developed countries because such investment threatened their established monopolistic positions. Consequently investment in underdeveloped countries acquired a specific character. It went chiefly into the exploitation of natural resources to be utilised as raw materials by the industries of the developed countries; and into developing food production in the underdeveloped countries to feed the population of the developed capitalistic countries. It also went into developing the economic infrastructure … needed to maintain economic relations with the underdeveloped countries.

… the profits were made by foreign capital were exported back to the countries where the capital came from. Or if used for investment they were not used for industrial development of any major scale, which as we know from experience, is the real dynamic factor of modern economic development. [88]

The externally controlled economy with its capital intensive techniques of production make it difficult for the government to make any meaningful ‘plans to tackle the problem of school leaver unemployment. Ironically, it is the international agencies like the World Bank, ILO, UNDP which urge the government to expand and formalise technical training as a way of combating the problem of school leaver unemployment The expansion of the apprentice training at the DIT was a joint government/ILO/UNDP project. Some of these agencies as have affiliations with the multinational firms and are part and parcel of underdeveloping process that takes place in the country with its related problems like school leaver unemployment.


This study set out to examine the rationale of the government heavy investment in the expansion and formalisation of technical secondary, education as a way of combating the problem of school leaver unemployment. This seems to be a trend that has its origin in the colonial period. It appears that for a long time

it has been seemingly obvious with the kind of industries that exist, skilled workers cannot be produced in the country as is the case with the Britain through an apprenticeship system. The general thinking is that pupils are to be schooled in technical institutions offering a full four year secondary course culminating in an East African Certificate of Education (Technical) an examination that had been for long only taken by the conventional academic secondary schools. These schools aim at catering for the students’ academic career at the same time turn out skilled workers for industry. In this way technical schools would create a solid and acceptable craft and technician apprentice. The upgrading of the academic side of the technical trainee has been thought necessary due to the allegedly low status in the African eyes of manual work, however skilled they might be. This has meant that technical schools have got to look academically respectable in eyes of the pupils. [89]

From the historical survey in the study it was clear that this development is not based on the realities of technical training in the country. It was seen that the vast majority of skilled workers in the industries have never had a course of training in an institution but have picked up their skills on the job. Both in the formal and the informal sector relatively few skilled workers have had any institutional training. Government efforts at expanding and formalising technical training have hardly scored success since the colonial period.

Successful artisan training seems to have started with African employees largely illiterate or with low education in the employment of the Indian craft workers. These are said to have learnt various technical processes on the job and gradually as the Indians relaxed their closed door craft mentality these people acquired craft skills like blacksmithing, tailoring, motor mechanics and the rest which they later disseminated to other towns and the rural areas. The mode of training on the job continued right up to independence in 1963 and has generally been favoured by many employers since it is seen as much cheaper way of producing skilled workers.

Government plans at reforming technical training have not come to terms with the existence of this form of training It would seem as efforts have always been aimed destroying this form of training as evidenced in the introduction of the Industrial Training Act. Interestingly the government obsessed with the certification syndrome ends up embarking on expensive techniques of training craftsmen. The production of an artisan through the present technical secondary school followed by a four to five years of craft apprenticeship at the National Industrial and Vocational Training Centre is no cheap way of training an artisan. In the present system of training these artisans there is the inherent danger of modelling Kenyan methods to the United Kingdom or some other so-called developed countries.

The government has often responded to weaknesses in their training schemes by escalating certification or upgrading the schemes to parallel them with apprenticeship schemes which are peculiarly European. [90] As discussed in the previous section the multinational companies operating in the country are impervious to any suggestions that would lead them to recruit highly expensive labour force if they can circumvent it, recruiting relatively cheap labour that can be trained on the job. It was pointed out that they are increasingly resorting capital intensive modes of production which call for employment of less labour largely in the semi-skilled categories. And for as long as they are going to continue controlling the economy government efforts to impose on them on what they consider as an unwanted labour force will be resisted.

The study further considered student background factors, their attitudes and career aspirations their performance on the EACE and job placement. This was on the basis of students who completed their EACE 1980 from eleven of the fifteen technical secondary schools. In examining indicators of social mobility it is seen that most students in the study have educated parents, a thing that suggests an emergence of a self-pertuating educated elite. These educated parents held different occupations by virtue of their education and through such occupations they earn more money than their illiterate counterparts and in turn has enabled them to send their children to school with greater frequency and are more able to pay for the education of their children. The occupation and education phenomenon are reflected in student career aspiration and educational performance at school. The study also reveals a great disparity in ethnic representation in schooling.

Turning to student career aspiration, the study casts considerable doubt on the government’s objective to turn out skilled workers for industry through the technical secondary schools. It is seen that students in technical schools are among those whose performance on the C.P.E. is brilliant and have been rigorously selected to a secondary school that offers both academic and technical training. This naturally puts them in the small privileged and talented few. With this kind of background a very small number really aspire to become artisans. The only way in which they relate their technical education to their future career is that a very good percentage expressed that they intended to become engineers. That is that they will proceed with their education to University and study engineering.

Indeed more than half the sample were clear that they were not going to terminate their education at form four. A high number aspire for non-technic jobs, supervisory and managerial occupations. As King aptly put it in reference to the kind of isolationist atmosphere that prevails in secondary schools;

It is quite understandable therefore that the boys and girls who are in this sense the aristocracy of the school population should think themselves as ‘big people’ and that even boys in technical and vocational schools should see themselves being prepared for careers of directing and supervising others rather than having a direct practical orientation for their work. [91]

Interestingly, these are the students who turn to score high grades on the E.A.C.E. examination. It is clear from the study that there is a very close relationship between student job and educational aspiration and performance on the E.A.C.E. Many of the students think that in comparison with graduates from academic secondary schools, technical secondary school leavers stand better chances on the labour market since the latter school arms them with vocational skills.

An important point to note is that it would be unrealistic for students in technical schools to aspire to terminate their education at form four level in order to serve industries, when remuneration as is currently being demonstrated by those who end up to be recruited as craft apprentices is very low. Moreover there are no openings for one to pursue the study of technical trades at the fifth and sixth forms. It is therefore realistic for the students to opt for further academic education since it has openings and turns out to be more rewarding in the end. Hence there is the tendency to concentrate on academic subjects which they will require at high school.

Despite the pious platitudes about the need for more and more technical training there is no proven evidence that there is a great demand for technical graduates. It was shown in the study that like the academic secondary schools, a majority of the form four school leavers are recruited for high school. In terms of employment the government remains the largest employer. Technical secondary school in the sense that they have a monopoly in the recriuitment of craft apprentices by ministries like Transport and Communications, Water Development and Works, and several of the multinational companies, but their chances of employment are not as wide as is often pointed out. Close to a third of those who take their school certificate in one year are likely to get placement, through the National Industrial and Vocational Training Centres.

As already discussed the apprenticeship scheme through the NIVTC is not working as smoothly as had been anticipated. The main constraint seems to be that many firms have for long tuned themselves to operating the on-job training because of its relative cheapness and the established stereotypes of employers about the secondary school leavers who are assumed to be arrogant and less accustomed to working with hands. leavers as revealed in the study.

This has tended to create mutual mistrust between the employer and the apprentice. This apart from the diminishing job opportunities has partly-contributed to the low recruitment of technical secondary school


  1. Economic Developmnent Plan 1966-70, Nairobi, Government Printer, 1966 pp. 306-307.
  2. Report of the Agricultural Education Commission 1967, Nairobi, Government Printer 1967, p. 90.
  3. A Study of the Curriculum Development (Basey Report) 1972, Nairobi Government Printer 1973 p. 36.
  4. Employment, Incomes and Equality: A Strategy for Increasing Productive Employment Hi Kenya, Geneva, International Labour Organisation, 1972, p. 242.
  5. Report of the National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies, Nairobi, Government Printer 1976 p. 57.
  6. Ibid p , 64.
  7. Ibid pp. 65-69.
  8. E.M. Godfrey and G.C.M. Mutiso: Politics, Economics, and Technical Training, A Kenyan Case Nairobi, Kenya Literature Bureau, 1979 p. 35.
  9. Ministry of Education, Annual Report 1971. Nairobi, Government Printer 1972 p. 9.
  10. Ibid.
  11. E.M. Godfrey and G.C.M. Mutiso op.cit. p. 43
  12. Ibid. p , 58.
  13. Ibid. p. 62.
  14. G.S. Fields, The Educational System of Kenya: An Economist’s view, IDS Discussion paper No. 103, 1971.
  15. Report of the National Committee op.cit. p. 15.
  16. Ibid.
  17. E.M. Godfrey and G.C.M. Mutiso op.cit p. 22.
  18. Valentine Chirol, Indian Unrest London. 1910 quoted in P. Hetherrington, British Paternalism and Africa 1920-40, London, Frank Cass; 1978 p. 113. Chirol was the Director of the Foreign Department of the Times from 1899 to 1920 and was involved in the Royal Commission on the Indian Public Services in 1912.
  19. F. Lugard, The Dual Mandate, London, Frank Cass and Co. Ltd. 1922 p. 425.
  20. P. Curtin, The Image of Africa, Madson Wisconsin 1964 p. 427.
  21. P.M.K. Sorrenson, The Origins of European Settlement in Kenya, Nairobi Longman 1969 p., 1976.
  22. Leader of British East Africa, 30th October, 1909
  23. P. Curtin op.cit. p. 246.
  24. Ibid.
  25. B.W. Strayer, The CMS in Eastern and Central Kenya 1875-1938, A Mission Community in a Colonial society, PhD. Thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1971 p. 40.
  26. CMS Extracts Maynerd 3rd December 1888.
  27. CMS 1893/272 Schemes for Management of CMS Boys.
  28. A.J. Temu, British Protestant Mission, London, Longman Group Ltd., 1972 p. 145.
  29. Origins and Growth of Mau Mau, An Historical Survey, (Corfield Report) Sessional paper No.5 of 1959/60 Nairobi p. 25.
  30. Leader 6f British East Africa. op.cit.
  31. J. Anderson, The Struggle for the school, Nairobi; Longman)1969 p. 56.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Report of the Commission of Education of 1919, Nairobi Swift Press p. 137.
  34. Evidence of the Education Commission of the East African Protectorate Nairobi, Swift Press, 1919 p. 143.
  35. Report of the Native Technical Education Committee 3rd April, 1923 Mimeograph, quoted in K.J. King Pan Africanism and Education London, Oxford University Press p. 133.
  36. K.J. King, The African Artisan, London, Heinemann, 1977 p. 24.
  37. Department of Education Annual Report 1924, Nairobi, Government Printer pp. 28~29.
  38. Department of Education, Annual Report 1930, Nairobi, Government Printer 1931 p. 28.
  39. .Ibid.
  40. K.J. King, The African Artisan, op. cit. p. 26.
  41. R.H. Balsdon, A Study of the Effects of the Implementation of the Individualized instruction in form four of the Motor-Vehicle Course in the Technical Secondary Schools of Kenya Ph.D. Thesis University of Nairobi 1979 p. 10.
  42. Technical Education and Vocational Training in East Africa, Report of a Mission appointed on behalf of the East African Governments, October 1947 p. 9.
  43. Ibid.
  44. Ibid p. 12.
  45. Ibid. p. 18.
  46. K.J. King OPe cit. p. 28.
  47. Report of the Technical Institute Committee, Nairobi, Government Printer 1949 p. 3.
  48. Ibid.
  49. K.J. King op.cit p. 28.
  50. East African Royal Commission Report 1953-1955 cmd 9475, London 1955 p. 149.
  51. African Education Commission Report (Beecher Report) 1949. Nairobi, Government Printer, 1949 p. 68
  52. Department of Education, Annual Report, 1951. Nairobi, Government Printer p. 4.
  53. KNA 2329/1/12/48 Vol. 11/2 Thogoto Agricultural School.
  54. East African Standard 27th July, 1955.
  55. J.J. Cory, History of Agricultural Education in Kenya 1922-1954, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Wisconsin 1970 p. 139.
  56. Education Commission Report (Ominde Report) 1964, Government Printer 1964 p. 58.
  57. D. Court, Dilemma of Development: The Village Polytechnic Movement as a Kenyan Shadow System of Education in Kenya, IDS, University of Nairobi 1972 p. 7.
  58. E.M. Godfrey and G.C.M. Mutiso op.cit pp. 65.-1.00.
  59. R.H. Balsdon, p. 12.
  60. Ibid.
  61. Ibid. p. 13.
  62. Ibid. p. 15.
  63. Ibid. p. 19.
  64. Secondary Technical Schools, Aid Report for Construction and Expansion of Five, Secondary Technical Schools, Mimeograph, Ministry of Higher Education, January, 1980 pp. 1-3
  65. Ibid. p. 4.
  66. Ibid.
  67. J.D. Barkan, An African Dilemman, Nairobi, Oxford University Press p. 27.
  68. Employment lncome and Equality … op.cit. p. 58
  69. A.J. Maleche ‘Why Join Teaching?’ East African Journal Vol 9 No. 10 October 1972, p14.
  70. H.C.A. Somerset “Educational Aspirations of Fourth form Pupils in Kenya” IDS Discussion paper No. 119 September 1971 pp. 28-30.
  71. Ibid. p , 30.
  72. Ibid. p , 32.
  73. E.R. Rado (at al) The Selection of Form Four Leavers for employment. ,1970 further education, training, and IDS Discussion paper No. 94 June
  1. K.J. King The African Artisan, op.cit. pp. 19-20.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  1. The Industrial Training Act Nairobi, Government Printer 1973.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ministry of Labour, Directorate of Industrial Training Questions and Answers of Apprenticeship Training in Kenya 1977 p. 5.
  5. Discussion with DIT officials.
  6. K.J. op.cit p. 72.
  7. Discussion with DIT officials.
  8. Giovanni Arrighi, International Corporations, Labour Aristocracies and Economic Development in Tropical Africa’ in R. I. Rhode (Ltd.). Imperialism and Underdevelopment, New York, Monthly Review Press, 1970 p. 221.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Report of the National Committee on Educational Objectives ….. 0p .cit. p 15.
  11. Giovanni Arrighi op.cit. p. 245.
  12. K.J. King op.cit. p. 72.
  13. Ibid. p. 28.
  14. Ibid. p. 20.






NAME; _________________ SCHOOL  _________________  FORM _________________

AGE: _________________ SEX _________________ TRIBE  _________________

FATHER’S NAME: _________________

What name do you intend to use when you leave school _________________

  1. Which DISTRICT is your home in? _________________

Which DIVISION is your home in? _________________

Which LOCATION is your home in? _________________

Which SUBLOCATION is your home in?  _________________

  1. Which subjects are you taking for the East African Certificate of Education (EACE).

TicK “Yes” or “No” for each subject

First column Yes, Second column No.

Yes No                                                                           Yes No

English                                                                           Plumbing

Mathematics                                                                  Mechanical Engineering

Physical Science                                                             Electrical Engineering

Geography                                                                     Motor Vehicle

Technical Drawing                                                         Agricultural Mechanics

Carpentry/Joinery                                                          Welding



List any other subjects you are taking.

  1. _________________ 3. _________________
  2. _________________ 4. _________________
  3. How Far would you like to be able to continue your education?

Read each choice carefully, and then put a tick in ONLY ONE box.

I would like to complete EACE (O level) and then look for a job. _________________

I would like to complete EACE (A level) and then look for a job. _________________

I would like to complete EACE (O level) and then take a training course (which course?) _________________

I would like to compete EACE (A level) and then take a training course (which course?) _________________

Which of three principal subjects would take at EACE (A level)? _________________

I would like to complete EACE (A level) or go to University.  _________________

I will like to go to university _________________

  1. If you like complete EACE (A level) or go to University. Which 3 principal courses would you study?                    1. _________________ 2. _________________ 3. _________________

In what way do you think your present EACE (O level) subjects are related to these proposed EACE (A level) subjects?

  1. How far do you think you will be able to continue your education

I will probably be able to continue as far as EACE (O level) only. _________________

I will probably be able to complete EACE (O level) and then take a training course. _________________

I will probably be able to complete EACE (A level). _________________

I will probably be able to complete EACE (A level) and then take a training course. _________________

I will probably be able to go to University. _________________

  1. When your education is completed and your start looking for work what type the job you would like to get most of all? (Describe the job fully).
  2. What is it about this kind of work that makes you prefer it to other jobs you have thought about?
  3. What qualifications (education and other training) do you think you would need to need to get this job?
  4. Which particular subjects would you need to have studied (at school and/or elsewhere)?
  5. What other characteristics (skills, personal qualities etc) do you think you would need to do this job well.
  6. If you get the job, how much do you think your salary would be (in shillings per month)?
  7. Have you talked to anybody, or read any books or pamphlets, to get information about this job? Yes/ No.

If Yes, please explain briefly what you did?

  1. Of course we cannot always get the type of job we would prefer, how good a chance do you think you have of getting the job you want most?

I have a very good chance of getting this job ___________________________.

I have a fairly good chance of getting this job ___________________________.

I have only a small chance of getting this job ___________________________.

I will probably not be able to get this job ___________________________.

If you think you will probably not get the job you would like most, or you will have only a small chance, please explain why? ___________________________.

  1. Thinking realistically, from your own experience and the experiences of your friends, what kind of job do you think you are most likely to get when you finish your education?’ (Describe the job fully) ___________________________.

If the job which you think you are most likely to get when you finish your education is the same as the job which you want most (which you have already answered in questions above, skip question 15 to 19)

  1. What qualifications (education and other training) do you think you need to do the job you are most likely to get?

List some institution or company you would like to work with when you finish school.

  1. What particular subjects would you need to have studied at school and/or elsewhere?
  2. What other characteristics (skills, personal qualities, etc) do you think you would need to do this job well?
  3. If you got this job, how much do you think your salary would be (in shillings per month)?
  4. Have you talked to anybody, or read any books or ‘pamphlet, to get information about this job? Yes. /No.
  5. Do you think by studying technical subjects, you stand a better chances of getting training and employment than your colleagues who on studying purely academic subjects? Yes./ No.

If yes, please explain why?

If No, why do you think so?

  1. Do you know of colleagues who completed technical secondary education who have not been able to secure employment? Yes /No.

If Yes, please can you give reasons why this has been so?

In the rest of this schedule we ask some questions about you and your family. These questions are important because they provide background information concerning the choices about careers which students make.

  1. What is your religion? (Put a tick in one of the boxes).

Catholic _____________________ Muslim _____________________Protestant _____________________ Others _____________________ State denomination _____________________

  1. (a) If your father still alive? Yes /No.

If No; how old were you when he died?

(b) Is your mother still alive? Yes /No.

If No; how old were you when she died?

  1. What kind of work does your father or guardian do? _____________________

Write down all the kinds of work he does, and describe them as clearly as you can.

  1. Did your father ever go to school? Yes No. I do not know if my father ever went to school.

If Yes, how long was your father at school?

He went to primary school for a few years.

He finished primary school.

He went to secondary school or teacher training college.

I do not know how long my father was at school.

  1. Did your mother ever go to school?

I do not know if my mother ever  went to school.

If Yes, how long was your mother at school.

She went to primary school for a few years.

She finished primary school.

She went to secondary school or teacher training College.

I do not know how long my mother was at school. Yes /No

  1. What kinds of work does your mother do? Write down all the kinds of work she does, and describe them as clearly as you can.
  2. What kind of property has your family? (e.g. land state acreage, shop etc.)

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