The Public Works Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Prof. Paul Mwangi Maringa has said solutions to the challenges facing the development of the built environment in Kenya lie in developing, setting and maintaining training standards that are responsive to the country’s consumer market needs.
The PS made the remarks at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Thursday, February 18, 2015, when he addressed the University Administration, faculty and other key stakeholders from the built environment sector who included the National Construction Authority (NCA) and the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors (BORAQS).
While outlining areas in the built environment that require sustainable solutions, Prof. Maringa, a former don in the School of Architecture and Built Sciences at JKUAT, said there are skilled and unskilled manpower across the country whose potential and capacity could be enhanced through a well thought out framework that would incorporate the synergies of the training institutions in Kenya, in partnership with other key industry players.
The Principal Secretary reiterated that it was necessary “to repackage the whole concept of skills development, adding that education cannot be a preserve of the privileged few who score higher grades to join the universities.”
He revealed that already the NCA and the BORAQS are conducting an audit exercise of skilled and non-skilled labour in Kenya. He further said, proper certification for the manpower operating in the industry was critical for the recognition and appreciation of the artisans. “We should work together towards embracing life-long education to guarantee Kenyans the right to a clean and secure environment,” he observed.
Prof. Maringa also observed that public works goes beyond building, adding that in order to play its mandate well, the ministry was ready to support JKUAT and other institutions through collaborative training initiatives, and networking with key actors in the sector, pointing out that there were many opportunities that could be explored.
The Chief Architect and Chairman BORAQS, Arch. Nathan Kureba, Chief Executive Officer NCA, Arch. Daniel Manduku, AAK President, Arch. Waweru Gathecha, Works Inspection Qs. Moses Nyakiongora, who were part of the delegation expressed their readiness to work closely with JKUAT and indeed other institutions and players in the industry to transform the sector.
In her remarks, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga underscored JKUAT’s preparedness to work with the ministry through NCA and other players to address the identified challenges through training and the development of tailor made programmes targeting artisans and contractors by leveraging on the University’s training, research and innovation capacity.
Besides curriculum development, Prof. Imbuga revealed that JKUAT was ready to partner with NCA in training of artisans in various trades; research, service delivery, review of building standards to incorporate emerging trends such as solar energy, stabilized earth blocks, as well as in the harmonization of the legal framework to address emerging disciplines such as landscape architecture, construction management, and environmental planning.
Present during the meeting were Deputy Vice Chancellors: Prof. Otoki Moirongo (Finance), Prof. Esther Kahagi (Research, Production and Extension), Prof. Romanus Odhiambo (Academic Affairs), Dean, School of Architecture and Building Sciences Dr. Stephen Diang’a and other faculty members.