We received another mail
At Kenyan Herald we are documenting stories from Engineers with regards to the Engineers Board of Kenya which has been accused of witch hunt and frustrating graduate engineers. The Engineers Board of Kenya functions are conferred to the Board by the Engineers Act 2011 some of these functions are such as Receive, consider, make decisions on applications for registration and register approved applications; Keep and maintain the Register; Publish the names of registered and licensed persons under the Act and of course Issue licences to qualified persons under the provisions of the Act.
The Chairman is Eng. Wanjau Maina. This is the man who has been frustrating graduate engineers across the Country. Here is a candid email we received from one of the suffering Kenyan graduate engineers. This is a follow up email to the article that appeared else where on Kenyan Herald titled Suffering: Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) accused of frustrating young engineers.
I am Mike*, a graduate engineer who graduated slightly three years ago. I read an article appearing on your website capturing the woes of graduate engineers in regards to EBK. I am writing to request you to highlight the issue especially to do with registration and professional engineer license. In this regard I would wish to clarify on a thing or two regarding the same.
Upon successful completion of an engineering degree (for this case an accredited course by the board),one is required to present his academic documents to the board for registration as a graduate engineer , as succinctly captured by the article featured on your blog, Kenyanherald.com, is in itself a real struggle especially due to the fact that Its quite long. Some friends of mine applied last year for registration and to date they are yet to get their registration certificates. This may partly be attributed to the fact that the board is yet to be reconstituted as the mandate of the previous board ended on March 2019,and the CS is yet to appoint a new board as stipulated in the Engineers ‘Act of 2011. With time elapsing so do opportunities pass unregistered graduate engineers, something they have no jurisprudence over. Nowadays HR professionals insist that those seeking internship or entry opportunities have to be registered with the board as graduate engineers.
Upon registering as a graduate engineer, the applicant is then expected to practice under a senior engineer who is registered with the board as a professional engineer or any other higher cadre. This period is normally three years and could be longer depending on a number of factors viz: securing employment/training opportunities, willingness of the practicing engineer to act as a ‘mentor’/supervisor, availability and suitability of projects, commitment of the board (EBK) to constitute and oversee a panel to administer the professional license exam-usually administered at a fee during a specified period of time, CPDs. While some of these factors are well beyond the scope of the board, some squarely fall on the board’s ineptitude. For instance the issue to do with CPDs, registration of graduate engineers, facilitating of graduate engineers and general failure to assign GEs relevant projects. At this juncture I would wish to define CPDs. CPDs, continuous professional development is a tool designed to assist the professional engineer achieve their current or future role more efficiently, attaining higher professional standards and remain competitive in the ‘job market’ (EBK Policy guideline, 20176,pg2). The policy statement goes further to describe the ways through which the engineer acquires the same via structured and unstructured activities. Structured activities in this regard refer to formal activities, participation, presentations, contributions to knowledge and work-based activities. In this category formal activities carry the highest; 20 CPD units. This category is designed for those working in academia and industry. Herein lies something I find grossly offensive. Short courses fall under this category as stipulated by the policy and they are not cheap. As I will attach an annex from an accredited training institution one of the courses goes for over Ksh 120000 and the training period is 5 days. While the costs covers accommodation among other costs, I beg the question, how many engineers can afford the same when It’s a known fact that engineers are not necessarily earning so much money monthly- unless they have other significant revenue streams or their employers contributes to their training schedules? Another course on project management offered by the board goes for Ksh 18000, which clearly serves to illustrate how insensitive these training packages in regards to engineers, some graduate engineers, earn less than Ksh 50000 and how they will manage to cater for the same remains to be seen. Unstructured activities constitute informal roles and these translate to 10 CPDs.
The EBK policy further goes ahead to clarify that indeed registered candidates are required to undertake CPD training for full registration with each candidate expected to document their training schedule annually. Graduate engineers are expected to accumulate at least 25 PDUs for 3 years consecutively prior to registration as a professional engineer. Other categories require the members to have a minimum of 50 PDUs annually. The board however does state that it’s not mandatory for the applicants to acquire the points something that has to be viewed with some caveat.
With examples highlight above it lucidly shows how insensitive the design of the policy statement were or in touch with the Kenyan situation where the unemployment rate is so high that the figure is itself controversial. For instance a 2015/16 Basic labor report estimates that slightly over 1.2 million people 15-34 years were unemployed. This translates to about 11% of the over 10 million Kenyans who constitute the labor force (Africa Check website, 2018). GoK estimates report a much lower unemployment rate. As of 2018, Q1 the figure was estimated at slightly over 7%. Critics however caste a much grim picture estimating the figure could be much higher. This high unemployment rate has not spared graduate engineers either, with thousands of graduate engineers jostling for the scanty opportunities that pop up once in a while. In this regard I wonder when will have a higher or global recommend engineer to population ratio with all the challenges highlighted above? The country has approximately 2500 professional engineers with over 10000 graduate engineers, a backlog that has stemmed from the challenges highlighted above.
Lastly, more is required from the board. With infrastructural projects funded by government and donor agencies the EBK act should be amended forthwith and a clause introduced which would mandate both local and foreign contractors who win tenders to allocate a minimum quota to students, graduate and professional engineers under various capacities. For instance students still struggle to acquire attachment programs yet there are large infrastructural projects in the country. I know of very many students and graduate engineers willing to work and learn, for free or at small stipend in these projects. Why can’t the board enter into a liaison with universities to ensure students/graduates are recruited into relevant attachment/internship programs? By the way I believe students in universities pay for attachment programs and varsities should do more to ensure students get relevant training opportunities.
Kindly share sir. As a graduate engineer, I have witnessed engineering graduates, forced to do very odd jobs totally unrelated to what they did in school to put food on the table. I for instance have had to write anthropology articles to earn a living. Something I totally loathe but only do so to make ends meet.
Kindly share this Bw. Mutai, and hopefully the concerned agencies will take some of the suggestions highlighted herein.
This is a follow up email from another suffering engineer graduate in Kenya. The plight of engineers is now being documented even as government authorities watch helplessly. If you wish to be published kindly contact 0706255971 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Here are board members of Engineers Board Of Kenya or at least the outgoing.