How The Education System Contributes To Unemployment In Kenya

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Looking for standard employment in Kenya is considered the safest and most convenient way to a comfortable and normal life. Everyone is trying to survive. In Kenya, the employment rate stands at 40% where 64% of the Kenya youths are unemployed. With such staggering statistics, it is hard for an individual to get a job in Kenya. Unemployment in Kenya has been a key topic in the lips of many including the president, Uhuru Kenyatta who said this during his inauguration, “Dealing with unemployment in Kenya will be a priority for my government. We are committed to creating jobs and opportunities in Kenya for our people especially the youths. We will do this by creating an enabling environment for our private sector in Kenya.”

Kenyans hold education in high esteem because it is directly related to employment. Parents in Kenya are ready to be famished and even dress in rags to ensure that their children go to the finest schools. The future is bright if your children have been well educated in Kenya because it reflects what they will bring back to home and the society. Invest in your kids today and they will become the very model of the learned members of society in Kenya as well as take care of you in your sunset years.

However, this is not the case anymore; the educated in Kenya no longer accrue any value, respect or recognition to the family and the society at large. Instead, those who have gone to school continue to waste time and dally like the illiterate and semi –literate in Kenya. In the 80s and early 90s, anyone who had gone to high school was respected and people even held ‘harambees’ (fundraisings) to ensure that they further their studies in universities in Kenya. This person was prized and it was expected that he would give back to the society once he graduated upon completion of his course in Kenya. This person was a role model especially to those who were still in their classrooms.

In present day, anyone can go to the university if you have money and influence. It is not about merit anymore. Is this a necessary evil? When everyone in the Kenyan society craves education, it should be a good thing since people are getting emancipated from mental slavery. But what happens when everyone scrambles for a piece of the cake? Won’t some people starve? Should we bake more cake? Should we open more institutions in Kenya to cater for the disadvantaged, the poor, those in the marginalised areas in Kenya and those who are challenged with regard to education?

Kenya has 22 public universities, 14 chartered private universities and 12 universities with LIA (letter of Interim Authority) which is the first accreditation step for private universities in Kenya. The goal is to ensure that every citizen in Kenya can access quality education. With the increase in education institutions of higher learning in Kenya, the quality of education has also deteriorated. When we take a look at the horde of students graduating every year, it is palpable that the numbers far outweigh the job opportunities present in Kenya. The future is just about austere for thousands of young Kenyans for whom economic emancipation remains a pipe dream. They continue to languish at home thwarted and unable to practice what they perfected in theory.

Most people in Kenya have great expectations and they disregard manual and agricultural work since they have the notion that they are tailor-made for white collar jobs and formal employment in Kenya. When this does not happen, they get disenchanted, bitter and even complacent. With this comes rebellion and most form gangs who engage in illegal acts in Kenya like stealing, carjacking and killing.

A study in Kenya by USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) states that, over the last six years, the Kenyan economy has generated only 150,000 jobs, leaving hundreds of thousands without formal employment. Many of them are forced to join the informal sector while 60% of Kenyans live on less than USD 2 (KES 173) a day. The remaining 9.3 million are self-employed Kenyans.

Those who realise that the system is indeed flawed and they can’t sit back and wallow in sorrow, take the bull by the horns and venture into self employment in Kenya.

There are other reasons as to why unemployment is a topic that doesn’t wane. A key gap in the system is the fact that jobs are not offered merit-wise in Kenya. It is a matter of who you know. Some employers even hold ‘dummy’ interviews just to fulfil protocol but they already have people to fill the slot”. Even if we have tried to curb bribery in Kenya the truth is that some people pay to get into certain jobs.

There is a huge backlog of students because of university closures caused by student riots and strikes in Kenya. This has led to public universities in Kenya having double intakes, which vice-chancellors cite as the major cause of falling academic standards in the country. When standards of these institutions fall, all we get are half baked graduates who cannot deliver in the job arena.

This being considered, some people have lived through the hard times in Kenya and are thriving in the industry that they are. When the going gets tough, the tough get going on everyone in Kenya.

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