Kenya sets up taskforce to revive Utalii College

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The Kenyan Government has constituted a task force to review the operations of Utalii College as part of an effort to improve standards in the tourism sector. The task force which is made up of representatives from the private sector, mainly from the hotel and tour operating industry, are expected to make inputs towards the revision of the institution’s curriculum and training infrastructure.

Speaking on the VA Tourism Podcast, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife, Najib Balala said “we need to audit the curriculum, have partnerships, modernize our hardware and bring new software and technology. This is based on engagements with academicians, government and private sector stakeholders who all agree with the reforms”.

Kenya Utalii College (KUC) is a leading African hospitality and tourism training institution. Established 47 years ago the College has trained over 60,000 graduates from around the world who continue to serve in the local and international hospitality and tourism industry. The College opened its doors in 1975 and was established under the Hotels and Restaurants Act, (Cap. 494, Laws of Kenya) which has since been replaced by the Tourism Act, 2011.

Najib Balala- Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife

Mr. Balala however believes, though Utalii produces very good students, they still need to be refined before they finally settle in the job. “refinement can be out of the experience, re-training, or exposure. These are the things the task force may be asked to think about. All this is about investment, partnerships and producing students who are going to be appropriate for the industry” he said.

There are also discussions about a possible partnership with the private sector for the management of the institution which is currently solely run by the government. It has also been suggested that waiters, front desk officers and kitchen staff and others who work in the industry be given the opportunity for re-training. According to Najib Balala, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife, “they are the face of the sector and this is where the big numbers are in the hotel and tourism industry so those are the people who need to be given the opportunity to study”.

The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife established a Task Force on Reform and Re-engineering of Kenya Utali College to undertake an institutional assessment of the Kenya Utali College in relation to its mandate with a view of identifying opportunities to leverage its future, review the global landscape of hospitality training and identifying the current trends and practices as well as models of training adopted by the public sector, receive views from hospitality, academic, tourism-related stakeholders and other related persons as to options of the future model the KUC should adopt, and to make recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary on the Institutional model around which KUC should be reformed and re-engineered.

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