CBC won’t shoot economy up while corruption thrives

Youths have skills to make a living but powerful cartels beat them to successful enterprises

In Summary

• State needs to provide jobs as it promotes education so graduates don't spend their lives looking for employment. 

• Majority of youths who lack jobs are from low-class as those born rich have connections and influence, get jobs even before they graduate. 

A Jua Kali artisan inside his furniture workshop in Nyeri town
'SECTOR FOR THE POOR': A Jua Kali artisan inside his furniture workshop in Nyeri town
Image: FILE

In the wake of the sustained debate pitting the Kenya National Union of Teachers and the Education ministry on which system best suits the country’s needs, Education CS George Magoha decried the lack of plumbers in his village.

While his outcry was aimed at emphasising on the need to shift from the memorisation of concepts that defines 8-4-4 to skills-based CBC, it is bound to promote classism where the rich and upper-middle-class continue being policy makers as the rest of the society serve as their labourers.

Such a society cannot realise its full potential because perpetual confinement of the poor to the informal sector gives aristocrats the leeway to develop policies that only grow their own empires while casting the masses to the periphery of national discourses.

Those who want the country to have as many plumbers, welders and carpenters as possible say the Kenyan job market is flooded by thousands of jobless graduates who lack the requisite skills to earn a decent living, but they conveniently ignore the fact that it is the children of the poor who remain jobless.

What this means is that successive Kenyan regimes have created a nation where what matters is the family you hail from as opposed to the skills and the grades you have. Thus, the argument that having many people with practical skills is the silver bullet to our economic woes is false.

Thousands of skilful people work in the informal sector–Jua Kali–but struggle to make ends meet because an economy run down by endemic corruption cannot support their enterprises.

The unemployment crisis should not be a reason confine the poor ambitious child to the informal sector against his will.


Freelance journalist and writer