TUK invigorates industry attachment for its students

The Technical University of Kenya (TUK) is implementing a programme under which it is examining students on industrial attachment alongside their academic studies in a bid to reinforce its' place within the learning system .
In most cases attachment is not taken seriously and this is the reason, Cosmas Kanyadudi, the executive officer in the office of the vice-chancellor, says. It has been made an examinable unit. In what he describes as industry based learning (IBL). Mr. Kanyadudi explains: "We have designed it in such a way that the students’ supervisors at the company they are attached to assigns them a challenge that fits within the curriculum of their course of study. After the student has accomplished it, the supervisor together with the lecturer will assess and grade the student depending on their performance.
"Here, unlike other universities where industrial attachment is optional and is the burden of the student, at the TUK, it is mandatory and examinable. The students have to undertake two semesters (not consecutively) of attachment making for a full academic year.

"Our aim is to explore and develop students' abilities in applying learnt knowledge to practical experience in real employment situations as they go about their training and vice versa." he says, adding that the programme, having been tested elsewhere, has been found to be significantly useful in identifying gaps and mismatches that have been noted to exist between the training offered by the institution and what employers expect of the students.

The programme is described in academic circles as innovative and work-integrated learning that promotes experimental learning. Mr. Kanyadudi says working alongside skilled professionals will also encourage students to raise their own standards and performance. Also this experience introduces the student to the expectations, demands, and rigours of a real-life work environment as well as the opportunity to pick up new skills.

Companies that refuse to sign up students for attachment were told that they would lose out on fresh insights and ideas from the perspective of a young active mind, short-term manpower needs and the opportunity to identify and evaluate potential employees.

Mr. Kanyadudi attributes the success of IBL at the institution to the long industrial partnership it has had, especially with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers that facilitates students' access to many industrial plants and businesses.

- Daily Nation, 7 April 2014