Focus on Bushiangala Technical Training Institute.
Written by John Kabaka
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Bushiangala Technical Training Institute was started in 1991 as a skill upgrading centre by Voluntary Services Overseas under the support of the European Economic Commission. The main objective of the Institute was to upgrade skills for youth Polytechnics graduates, instructors and managers.
The voluntary service overseas group withdrew from the Institute in 1993 and it was taken over by the Ministry of Labour.
The Ministry introduced Artisan and Craft Courses in 1995.
The Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology formally took over the running of the institution in 2008.
BTTI is on a parcel of land of 8 acres off Sigalagala-Bukura road, but more is being sought out in the neighbour hood as CDF allocation.
BTTI has a two storey tuition blocks which is being erected and once completed will house eight lecture rooms , two science laboratories, computer lab , library , staffroom and six offices for departmental heads.
A ladies hostel has been completed and it will accommodate a capacity of 48.
The institutes vision is, “To be a Centre of Excellence in Technical and Scientific Training for Socio-economic development”, with their mission being, “To provide quality scientific and technical training, to train and produce knowledgeable, skilled, innovative graduates and to inculcate adequate skills in the trainees for the dynamic market and industry.”
Courses offered at Bushiangala Technical Training institute are based on the guidelines of TIVET by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, include:
Diploma in Business Administration Accountancy,Diploma in Supplies, Procurement Management,ATC I & II , C.P.A Part I and II and Community Development.
Diploma in Building construction, Diploma in Civil engineering and Land survey.
Diploma in Biology, Certificate in Science laboratory Technology.
Others include, computer and information communication technology, clothing and textiles technology, automotive and mechanical engineering.
A section of the ultra modern administration block that is still under construction. The building will cost Sh.36 million. Photos / John Kabaka
BTTI has begun the sojourn transformation to catapult her to a unique college-industry in the Western Kenya region combining training, innovation research and manufacture with the expected installation of two production units of mechatronics.
This navigation should not have come at an opportune time for an institution that has endured official neglect after the withdrawal of the Voluntary Service Overseas Group; a European Economic Commission team, two years after establishing it as a skills upgrading centre for youth polytechnic graduates, instructors and managers in 1991.
That neglect is unfazed in the face the new multi-million shilling edifices that are steadily creeping up, to tHe point of edging out the two humble brick-walled structures, a prefab and a wreckage of an old Land Rover that have withstood the test of adversity and served genre of grade-test craftsmen and women who horned their skills at this institution in the past.
Yes, this makeover began in 2008 when the Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology replaced the Ministry of Labour as custodians, phased the short term training programs, replaced the manager with a Principal as head and reviewed the curriculum introducing the diploma, certificate, artisan and craft courses.
This phase also covered infrastructure upgrade to meet the challenges of industry-mechatronics, funded by the government at a cost of Sh.75 million under two vote-heads; the economic stimulus and the development fund under the ministry of higher education.
As part of the preparation three members of BTTI staff including the college principal visited Beijing last year and toured a mechatronics systems and engineering cybernetics industry. The tour was to provide hands-on experience and to learn to handle and operate the mechatronics systems.
These two will work alongside a team Chinese engineering specialists drawn from the main areas of mechatronics; mechanical engineering and materials science, Electronic engineering, Computer engineering, Computer science and Systems and control engineering expected soon.
BTTI Principal Clerkson Barasa (above), says physical infrastructure upgrade at the institution was headed for completion adding the consignment from China, which reported docked at the Mombasa port in December would be heading to Kakamega South district soon.
In the past three years Ikolomani Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and higher education ministry have spend millions of shillings in a compensation scheme for land for families displaced as a result of the college expansion.
“The institution had two acres of land only but with dozens of projects to carry on such as the integrated sewer line and septic tank, recreational fields, ICT, science and engineering laboratories, mechatronics workshops, tuition, administrative and departmental offices,” Observes the principal,
But it is the delayed completion of construction work on the laboratory complex that is key to the successful launch of the mechatronics system at the institution, which is driving the principal nuts.
The complex estimated to cost Sh.39 million when complete and should accommodate four science and engineering laboratories and seven classrooms and is funded under the Economic Stimulus Program (ESP).
A second production unit for mechatronics, says the principal, will be accommodated at the multi-storey tuition and administration block that also has two Information and Communication Technology (ICT) laboratories and two drawing chambers (Technical engineering) which cost Sh.36 million.
“The ministry has undertaken a massive infrastructure phase-lift here to prepare ground for the institution’s new roles of offering training, research and applying innovations. This investment project the future line of technology for this region”, the principal notes.
Defined as a multi-disciplinary field of engineering that combines, mechanical, electronic, computer, software engineering, control engineering, and systems design engineering to design and manufacture useful products, mechatronics systems largely remain film fiction in this part of the world.
The expected consignment, a product of bilateral ties between the Chinese government and Kenya has landed a set of seven different mechatronics machines and accessories that work efficiently in harmony. The estimated cost is put at well over Sh.500 million.
The system include, but not limited to a set of Rapid Prototyping Machine; the RMS 600, the RMS 400 and the IDSS also referred to as Photogrammetry used for scanning tool and parts for data to be fed into the SPS 600 for production through the use of resin material and the CPS 350B machines that also applies resin plastics but would used for training purposes.
Others are CAXA Ironcard Software for computer design work. A set of Rapid Moulding Machine and accessories; the Vacuum Moulding and Curing machine used to make moulds out of models produced by the SPS 600 machines should complete the resin plastics production unit, according to records.
The installation of the motor vehicle body work machines unit; the Metal Spraying Machine and the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine both used in making presses. Also accompanying the machines is a 600 KVA generator.
But even as the institution prepares to install the system, fears abound that the state of the art technological machines would push dozens of Jua kali artisans out of employment by perfecting on their trade.
Barasa however, disagrees with that notion and argues the system is meant to complement the jua kali sector by making their work easier and more efficient. “Our main focus is on industries located west of Nakuru. They will provide the bulk of our clients.”
He says the institution will continue to offer craft and artisan courses alongside recently introduced diploma courses in applied biology, ICT, electrical and mechanical engineering as well as diploma in building, civil and structural engineering.