REFORMS

Revise curriculum to reflect changes in labour market

As of 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate stood at 2.64 per cent

In Summary

•Producing university graduates with degrees without skills or with limited practical use (if any) in Kenya’s job market constitutes a massive waste of time and money.

•Students in most of the universities only study for exams without a long-term goal of equipping themselves for the job market.

Education CS George Magoha during the release of 2020 KCSE results on May 10, at the Mitihani House, Nairobi.
Education CS George Magoha during the release of 2020 KCSE results on May 10, at the Mitihani House, Nairobi.
Image: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha earlier this month released the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education results.

This saw 143,140 students qualify to join university. The number increased by 17,641 compared to 125,499 in 2019.

The likelihood of these students getting quality education in universities remains in question given the number of unemployable graduates in the country.

The Commission for University Education should conduct a revised quality assurance process to protect the stakes of the students.

Producing university graduates with degrees without skills or with limited practical use (if any) in Kenya’s job market constitutes a massive waste of time and money.

As of 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate stood at 2.64 per cent.

As economist David Ndii once wrote, Kenya is a cruel marriage. It’s increasingly a country at war with its youth.

This situation is not only a result of the limited job market but also owes to the unemployable population that flows annually from institutions of higher learning in the country.

Students in most of the universities only study for exams without a long-term goal of equipping themselves for the job market.

Most of their assignments and term paper submissions consist of documents lifted from the internet with impunity.

This horrendous trait breeds on the fact that most lecturers and professors do not verify the source and credibility of the submission.

The predicament also owes to the poor interpersonal skills which is the ability to communicate or interact well with other people.

This shortcoming is prevalent among students who even if well-endowed with skills, they fail to strike good relationships with people.

These skills entail active listening, teamwork, responsibility, dependability, leadership, motivation, flexibility, patience and empathy.

The blame can however not be mounted on students alone but as well on the institutions.

Whereas Kenyan universities seem to be training for jobs in the formal public sector, the environment has changed and more jobs are available within the private sector.

This calls for curriculum reforms geared towards entrepreneurial skills and jobs in the private sector.

The universities ought to open partnerships with the private sector which has replaced the public sector as a major labour market for graduates.

Universities, with the help of government, should also mobilise the private sector to promote graduate employment by emulating the South African Graduate Employers Association, which among other things advances graduate recruitment through workshops and surveys.

These workshops should also be geared towards sensitizing students on the need to develop themselves and rise to the occasion to perfect their pursuits.

This as well should extend to their interpersonal skills for a skilled rebel can never be an asset.

 

Roy Mwangi

The writer is a communication student at Multimedia University of Kenya