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Kenya Water Institute: ‘New students could join in May’

Kenya Water Institute Director Kennedy Riaga.
Mr Kennedy Riaga, Director, Kenya Water Institute. “When we reopen we will follow Education ministry’s Covid-19 guidelines and protocols for reopening of technical colleges,” he said. Education ministry has told college managers they must ensure safe and healthy environments for students, teachers and support staff.

Kenya Water Institute was founded in 2001 to train, to give examinations, to research and give professional advice to water sector. The government and donors have financed training of its teachers in Kenya and abroad. The government gives KEWI money but it must look for its own money. It does this by charging fees on training and professional advice.

New students joining Kenya Water Institute (KEWI) could start their classes in May 2021.

On 15 March 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered schools and colleges to close. So Kenya Water Institute stopped teaching in March.

The president also extended the closure schools and colleges when Covid-19 positive cases started rising.

Mr David Ngetich, Deputy Director for Academic Affairs, said the Institute is working on modalities to ensure finishing students graduate in October this year.  KEWI has a total of 300 students who are set to graduate.

Education Minister George Magoha has said schools and colleges will reopen in January. The finishing students will restart their classes in January.

How is the college preparing to open again?

Because of social distance rule on Covid-19, the students must be divided into two groups. “Each of the two groups will take one month to finish their practical studies and sit their examinations,” Mr Ngetich said. “With all the groups taking two months then new students could join in May”.

But the institute is working on a blended electronic-learning strategy. This will allow continuing students to complete their studies and new ones to report early.

KEWI was unable to admit students in May because of the closure of schools and colleges. The college had received more than 200 applications. In addition, 347 students were to join the college through Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.

What about distance, electronic-learning?

Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority has told technical colleges to teach some of their courses by online. The authority has given rules on open, distance and electronic learning to help colleges start teaching online.

KEWI is working on its electronic learning software. The college will start by training its lecturers on the use of electronic learning tools, according to Mr Ngetich.

What courses does KEWI teach?

New students join the college in January, May and September each year for their courses. Students either apply to the college or through Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.

The college’s training leads to KEWI diploma and certificate. Students study for diploma and certificate in water engineering, irrigation and drainage Engineering, and water resources technology and management. They can also earn diploma and certificate in water and wastewater laboratory technology.

In addition to diploma and certificate, students can take any operator course on meter reading, plumbing, pipe fitting or drilling.

Diploma takes three years to finish, certificate two years and operator course one year.

READ – Kenya Water Institute has Trained 3,500 Water Specialists

What else does the college do?

The institute does research and gives professional advice. This advice is on,

  1. drilling,
  2. geological surveys,
  3. environmental impact assessments,
  4. tailor-made short courses,
  5. water quality analyses,
  6. pump repairs and restoration, and
  7. borehole maintenance

Where are the institute’s campuses?

It has four campuses. Nairobi, Chiakariga (Tharaka Nithi county), Kitui and Kisumu. Nairobi campus has the highest number of students (628), followed by Chiakariga (320), Kisumu (207) and Kitui (201).

READ – Water Experts Call for Concerted Effort to Produce Clean Water in Kenya

What is the government doing to help technical colleges?

In the last three years, the government has given a total of Sh39.4 billion to technical training colleges.

In 2018/2019, the government gave them Sh16 billion. This money was to employ 2,000 technical training teachers. It was also grants to the colleges and to build 15 new technical training institutes.

In 2019/2020, a total of Sh17.1 billion went to technical training institutes. The government gave Sh10.3 billion to pay for tuition and tools. In addition, the government gave Sh6.8 billion to build and equip technical colleges.

In the current government year (2020/2021) the government will spend Sh6.3 billion. The money will be used to build and equip technical institutions and vocational training centres.

About Kaburu Mugambi

Kaburu Mugambi is a veteran of business reporting having worked with two national newspapers in Kenya. He is a graduate of economics from Kenyatta University. He started his journalism career in 2000 with The People Daily as a business reporter before becoming a business sub-editor. He joined Daily Nation in 2004 as a business writer. He holds a post-graduate diploma in mass communication from University of Nairobi's School of Journalism and an MBA in marketing from the same university. In 2016, he founded Water Tower, a media firm focused on water, energy and climate. Its content cuts across water, energy and climate with emphasis on adaptation and sustainability.

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  1. Amos Hongo Awiti

    Very relevant courses for 21 century and beyond

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