More than 450,000 candidates started their Kenya Certificate for Secondary Education (K.C.S.E) examinations this week. The media will definitely, as it has always done, not shy away from focusing on this very import milestone in the academic lives of our students.
The media will for instance highlight the plight of disadvantaged students who sit for the national exams under difficult circumstances: some under trees and others in conflict regions such as Baragoi.
This unfortunate group of candidates will be contrasted with their counterparts who have access to a myriad of facilities they need to perform well including well-equipped computer labs, enough books, expensive musical instruments and recreational facilities such as swimming and/or squash courts.
While the talk of the exams and a few other bizarre happenings like a man beheading his wife over a dispute of Sh50 in a populous slum remain dominant, we must not lose sight of the salient concern.
Kenyan secondary schools will churn out about half a million young men and women to join the world of adults, armed with a form four certificate and a national ID.
A small percentage of the new adult population will luckily be joining a workforce that has metamorphosed in ways that one could never have imagined of 10 years ago.
The new guys dubbed ‘Generation Y’ (or is it Generation Dot com?) will be sought to join varied professions. We need new ways of ensuring that the different professions attract scores of new recruits. Here are a few suggested organisations and how they would attract new recruits from amongst this sensitive group of Kenyans.
1) The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF)
In the recent past, KDF has always been considered one of the most respected arms of the government worth working for. This has seen young people throng KDF recruitment exercises around the country. With the nature of the job being so physically intense, it attracts individuals who are the best in terms of physical fitness.
In the new age, KDF should perhaps consider applying old recruitment methods that have been known to work effectively across the world to attract potential recruits.
These methods include both online and offline advertisements such as placing posters at strategic places to attract recruits. The posters would copy the US tradition of a caricatured image of Abe Lincoln pointing at the person stating, ‘We want you!’ In the Kenyan context however, the image would be that of our current President looking at the audience stating the same message, ‘We want you!’
At the bottom of the message would be the main message; ‘we want you to help us in fighting neo-colonialism and other minor evils like insecurity.
For this course, you must put your life on the line. Incentives include travelling widely, meeting interesting people and then killing them. And in a limited time offer, all recruits get free shopping allowances at the biggest supermarkets in town. Hurry while vacancies last!’
2) The Judiciary
Not everyone will be able to meet the strict physical demands of a career in the armed forces. As a result, other careers would still be at disposal for candidates who fail to secure a chance in the military.
Top among the list of possible alternatives would be a law-related career since there will always be disputes between and among different people that require legal intervention.
With the profession being so lucrative, perhaps we would be compelled to use the same mode of advertisement, the posters. In this case, we would have a similar poster, but this time with the venerable Chief Justice looking out with the same statement at the top, ‘We want you!’
At the bottom of the poster will be the offer; ‘Join the Kenyan judiciary and get a chance of meeting some of the most colourful people on the planet.
You will get a chance to see your face on TV and in the papers and become a ‘celeb’ as you defend the most well known people in our society from all manner of ills. As long as they have the right amount of money, you will be able to get them off whatever they did.
A special offer for ladies in the profession: you will be able to experience the oft spoken concept of ‘the glass ceiling.’ Many of your kind suffer worldwide if they do not play the game according to the rules of the boys’ club.
Venue Review: Hotel Accra, Accra Road
Downtown Nairobi has changed drastically in the last decade. Nothing brings to the fore these changes more than Accra Hotel in Accra Road, owned by the former Nairobi Mayor, Mwangi King'ori.
I visited the hotel on Friday and found out that it still stands in the middle of numerous activities. Like in the past, you can still identify public transport vehicles headed to the East of the City, with people queuing to board them. Also in the area are vehicles to other towns like Nyeri, Nanyuki among other towns.
This part of the town is well lit and has nice signage, which advertise different businesses offering state of the art technological products.
At the entrance of the hotel, I found a gentleman in a white cap and a coat, a kind of attire usually worn by hotel chefs. The man was shouting, “Welcome to Digital Hotel, Accra! Karibu Accra Digital!” I responded to his offer and walked up one set of stairs. Sadly, the hotel has no access facilities for disabled people.
On the first floor, I found gentlemen busy grilling Kenya's favourite meat snacks including intestines, mshikaki and the like. I went in and sat down at a table to the right of the entrance.
The table was your typical Nairobi hotel offering; square contraption covered by a green table clothe with four chairs around it. The table was overlooking the street where people were busy going about their businesses.
There was a sign giving a special offer which was stuck on the wall; a piece of bread and soup with a piece of chicken at only Sh100. When a waitress, a very friendly lady, came through to take my order, I asked for the soup and bread combo as well as a cold Tusker selling at Sh170.
When it came, I settled down to have my mini meal, which was excellent except that the chicken leg was so tough. I was left wondering if it was the one that was waking up Nelson Mandela in Robben Island before finding its way into Kenya.
The crowd in the venue was an eclectic mix of male and female Nairobians who seemed over 30 years of age. A quick recap of the venue:
Good: Centrally located, relatively reasonable prices, TVs for fans of European football leagues & clean washrooms.
Bad: No disability access, emergency exits not clearly marked.
My verdict: It’s an interesting space to have a drink in Downtown Nairobi as you wait for your transport out of town. I don't see many Nairobi residents frequenting the place though.