October 19th 2017

Society / Education

Despite high maritime potential, Kenya lacks skills in the sector

Sixty five years since Kenya began training in maritime education, the country still faces an acute shortage of qualified trainers and lecturers in the field.

By Winfred Mbuya Mwanikiwmwaniki@kenyafreepress.comThursday, 23 Jun 2016 14:55 EAT

Proffesor Mabel Imbuga (Photo by: Allan Muturi/Kenya Free Press)

Sixty five years since Kenya began training in maritime education, the country still faces an acute shortage of qualified trainers and lecturers in the field. The country also lacks opportunities for training in such fields as maritime technologies, freight management, logistics and maritime sciences.

A leading expert in the field, Prof Mabel Imbuga, explains in an academic paper ‘Future of Maritime,’ that Kenya’s deficiency in maritime knowledge is acute as the country remains the most preferred route for the global freighters into the region.

The expansion of Mombasa Port, the LAPSSET project that will link the Lamu Port to Ethiopia and South Sudan, ongoing offshore oil and gas exploration and the integration of the East Africa states are expected to fuel demand for maritime professionals, yet very few colleges offer courses in the field.

Currently, there are only three colleges and three universities that offer maritime courses in Kenya. The universities are: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology [JKUAT], where Mabel is the vice chancellor, Moi University and the Technical University of Mombasa.

The number of students being admitted has been rising with JKUAT having 120 students and TUM, 50. The latter plans to enroll 50 more students in maritime courses.

The colleges offering maritime studies include Bandari College, which offers diploma courses in Nautical Studies and Marine Engineering, Craft and Artisan Certificates in Marine and Nautical Studies. Others are Mombasa Technical Training Institute and the main campus of Moi University.

Maritime experts are urging the government to facilitate maritime education to enable young Kenyans gain employment in the growing sector and contribute to the country’s economic development blueprint by boosting international trade.

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