The provision of technical skills in building technology and civil engineering has received a major boost in the eastern region after the World Bank funded the Meru National Polytechnic to improve building technology infrastructure and other training requirements.
The National Polytechnic was picked to be a centre of excellence in the World Bank-supported East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project commonly referred to as, EASTRIP.
In the project, the national polytechnic is carrying out the project that is aimed at improving the training facilities at the institution that will be covering not only students from Kenya but also in other East African countries and beyond.
Speaking to The Eastern Newspaper, Meru National Polytechnic Chief Principal Engineer Stephen Rukaria revealed that the institution benefited from the funding as a result of an application that was made by the management several years ago when the World Bank advertised for the same in the media.
‘As management, we have been in the leading line in ensuring that we grow the institution to the highest possible level, we applied for the EASTRIP funding and after a process of evaluation Meru National Polytechnic was picked from a list of many other institutions from East Africa who had applied, we hit the ground running and the progress is good’ Rukaria said.
Recently the initial infrastructural works were initiated through a groundbreaking ceremony that was leas by Principal Secretary, State Department of Vocational and Technical Training Dr Margret Mwakima at the polytechnic grounds.
Speaking during the ceremony Dr Mwakima commended the polytechnic council and the management for their concerted efforts in developing a centre of excellence in building technology and civil engineering at a time like now when the region requires technical skills in all sectors.
‘ Kenya and the neighbouring countries are at a stage where skills in building technology are in high demand, these are demand-driven skills that will go a long way in assisting our young people to not only get employment opportunities but also create their jobs through small and micro enterprises ’Dr Mwakima said.
The design of the centre of excellence was done by Symbion International Construction Company a lead design consultant, who is also supervising the construction works that have already created numerous job and business opportunities for the local community.
The centre leader, Eng Peter Karanu says the project will be a game-changer in matters of building technology and civil engineering because it has incorporated the most modern technology and focused on market-driven courses that are being worked on through a new curriculum to ensure success.
‘ We have various working groups who are working on various items all aimed at focusing on our three major objectives are; Improving access to
technical education, Improving the quality of technical education in the region, and the third one is promoting regional integration’ Karanu said.
Locally, the project is monitored by the Polytechnic Project Implementation Unit, nationally by the National Component and regionally by the Regional Facilitation Unit-RFU situated at the
Inter-University Council of East Africa in Uganda.