The Principal Secretary of the State Department of Public Works, Prof. Arch. Paul Maringa, accompanied by:
- The Executive Director, National Construction Authority (NCA), Arch Daniel Manduku,
- Chairman of the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors (BORAQS), Arch Nathan Kureba, OGW,
- Chairman of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK), QS. Andrew Mandere,
- Chairman of the Architectural Association of Kenya, Arch. Gatheca Waweru,
paid a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor Jomo Kenya University of Agriculture and Technology, Prof. Mabel O. Imbuga, EBS.
The PS, discussed several issues regarding the construction industry and how the State Department, Academia and Other bodies that are affiliated to the State Department (NCA, BORAQS, IQSK, AAK, Building Inspectorate) can enhance collaboration and interaction in areas affecting them. One of the concerns he spotlighted was the mild boldness, positivity and synergy in the way public entities engage stakeholders.
Arch. Waweru Gatheca noted that there was improved interaction between AAK and the State Department and that he was wide open to deeper collaboration with the government.
- Andrew Mandere commended the new style of governance being witnessed at the State Department and was looking forward to interacting with the new face of Public Works. IQSK was also in close contact with the University.
Arch. Daniel Manduku commented that the Authority is seeking ways of involving the University by offering short-term CPD’s to its registered contractors. They have also embarked on identifying critical artisans’ skills that can be certified through NCA. On Research, he identified the following four areas in which NCA is actively engaged in:
- Planning for to have a forum in November to share research ideas and innovations with all construction stakeholders.
- Roll out of an agenda for various thematic research areas that have already secured funding.
- Enhancement of mutual technical and training cooperation between the University and the NCA. In this regard, the recent award of the ‘Primary School Laptop Project’, projecting a positive image of the university as a competitive anchor for technical service provision nationally was a good example to build up on).
- JKUAT students on attachment at the NCA (20 at the moment). This complement can be raised after some necessary consultations with the University administration.
Eng. Mbiu Kimani, the Acting Works Secretary at the State Department of Public Works, noted that the new PS had been very active from the very first day he joined the State Department. He was also satisfied with the school’s curricula and is keen to see that more students are invited for internship. He was looking forward to continued interaction with the University on various projects.
Arch. Nathan Kureba stated that BORAQS is in touch with all training institutions including JKUAT. He confirmed that hereon, collaboration between BORAQS and the training providers such as JKUAT will be streamlined to align to both the mandate of the institutions and demand-driven and therefore market relevant curricula. He further declared that CAP 525 was currently undergoing revision in order to more ably embrace emerging professions in the industry such as Landscape Architecture, Construction Management, Environmental Planning and Interior Design. Technicians and Surveyors would also be captured in the revised Act in a new orientation of lifelong learning; mentorship and continuous professional improvement that would eventually see all of such semi-skilled para-practitioners grow into fully licensed and registered professionals. Architect Kureba finally observed that project management of government projects by private practitioners has at times been wanting for lack of familiarity government policies and procedures.
In closing the PS, zeroed in on the Kenya Building Research Centre (KBRC) another surrogate of the State Department of Public Works and how it was being synergized with international partners to elevate the centre to modern standards of innovation collation and dissemination. He advanced the persuasion that training should ideally be a collaboration between suppliers and consumers and be market driven rather than depending solely on a precedent based and historical system. He gave an example of the model used in Germany, where training is done by the industry players. This type of a Demand driven, Competency based approach to training is now in vogue world over with good results in Asia, Oceania, Europe America and Africa (the latter particularly in Namibia, Ghana, Mauritius and South Africa). Further, Professor Maringa indicated that education should not remain a preserve of the intellectual high achievers exemplary well-endowed. Rather, it should encompass the entire Kenyan population in a drive for life-long learning and continuous self-improvement, with multiple opportunities for vertical (career advancement) and horizontal mobility (cross specialization shifts). This method of skills development or training allows all persons of all ages to get an education regardless of their training and educational background.
On BORAQS, the PS reiterated that the board would hereon not solely vet the curricula of education institutions but rather act as the driving partner. He illustrated the value of a market driven inclusive approach to training design with the results of a recently concluded joint seminar of NCA, the State Department of Vocational Training and industry that was able to increase the current complement of 5 occupations of trades so far recognized to 52, complete with competency standards and assessment criteria.
The PS then advised that a Taskforce be created out of this meeting to guide the partnership between the State Department of Public Works, its surrogates (NCA, Building Inspectorate, BORAQS), affiliates (IQSK, AAK) and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) with a clear mandate for inclusive participation and stakeholder involvement and a specific market driven orientation that would raise skills training and production standards, foster innovation and research and uplift the profile of all participating institutions in the construction industry.
The session ended with a vote of thanks by Arch. Prof. Bernard Otoki Moirongo, Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance.