As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next month, the country’s top government official is seeking to boost the countrys fledgling training industry.
In an interview with the BBC’s Today programme, Kofi Tshabalala, Kenya’s Minister for National Training, says his aim is to increase the country s trainee population from around 4,000 to between 7,000 and 10,000.
“We have around 1,000 of them [trainees] in the country, but we need to expand the training programme,” he said.
Mr Tshabalala has been at the helm of the Kenyan National Training Agency since September and is seeking the backing of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has promised to expand training in his nations education system.
In October, Mr Kenyatt announced a plan to create 500,000 training slots across Kenya and in January he announced that he wanted to increase Kenya s training population by 20 per cent.
Kenya’s National Training Council is tasked with implementing the government’s new training strategy.
In his interview, Mr Tshalalala also touched on the countryss ongoing conflict with Somalia, where a Somali government military faction is waging a brutal campaign against Kenya and its allies in the region.
The conflict, which has killed at least 10,400 people, has triggered fears that Kenya s military is too weak to defeat the Somali faction.
The Kenyan government, meanwhile, has faced criticism for its failure to recruit or retain more than 1,300 military personnel since it s first military coup in 2012.
Kenyan authorities say they need to recruit more than 200,000 more people in order to prepare for a future war with Somalia.
But many Kenyans say they are worried about the lack of training.
In response to the increasing number of recruits, the Kenyan government has introduced a training programme for youth to prepare them for life after graduation.
“If we have 20,000 people, then we will have about 5,000 youth in the army by 2025,” said Mr Tshaabalal.
Kenya s military has already been struggling with a weak training force and is trying to recruit some of the best students.
A recent survey found that the proportion of young men who have completed a basic training course has been cut from 25 per cent in 2014 to 20 per a year.
“The majority of the people who have been trained are going into the army to join the army, not to become teachers or teachers’ assistants,” Mr Tshebala said.
More than half of Kenyats school leavers, according to the government, have already completed basic training.
“They have been given some basic training, they have been taught about the army and have taken the test, so they are now ready to join in the military,” he added.
Kenyatta is currently on a trip to South Africa where he is also expected to unveil his countrys first national training programme.