Many full moons ago, parents used to be comforted when their sons and daughters joined a university. The surest path to success was to pass KCSE with flying colours and join a higher institution of learning. There were few graduates and most of them were employed in high places, earning huge salaries and driving all the top of the range cars. Our parents would point proudly at mansions built by professors and graduates to motivate their young school-going children. For sure, education was the key to success as it provided an equalizing playing ground where children from poor backgrounds would rise and eat on the same table with those from opulent backgrounds.
Nowadays, youth study hard and pass with flying clours, join a university and graduate with exemplary grades only to count buildings and cars in cities or go back to the village to be depressed and laughed at by village mates who dropped out of secondary school because of common tenses & basic mathematics. To make matters worse, those that dropped out earlier appear to be more successful than professionals who graduated long before they could master A E I O U.
It’s a sad and cruel fact that our society and government, In particular, has failed us big time. Corruption has become so huge that connections matter more than qualifications. What you know only matters if the people that know what you know are in a position to reward you for what you know.
Countless graduates are languishing In the villages with their ageing parents. Worse still, many others continue to live below the poverty line in a society that told them to ” read more, work harder and succeed more”. Their only mistake??.. Doing what they were told?
Our brothers in Nigeria learnt this long time ago when the system failed. A young Nigerian in secondary school today goes to class well aware that there are no jobs and that he is studying so as to improve his /her communication skills in preparation for the hard life after graduation. The Nigerian society, like the Kenyan one, is no longer looking for good people. It is looking for successful people. By successful I mean wealthy people. The source of wealth doesn’t matter. In Nigeria, kidnappings, murder for hire, blackmail and other white-collar crimes, are all done by graduates. Yes, graduates that passed highly in industrial chemistry and nuclear science classes.
Should the Kenyan graduates think on similar lines?
Very soon, with our spiralling Chinese debt, life will become totally unbearable in Kenya. With over 66 universities each producing over 5000 graduates annually, and with an economy not able to produce even 10000 jobs in 2years, where are we heading to as a country?????
Something needs to be done urgently to address the unemployment crisis and the high cost of living or Kenya will become ungovernable in the not so distant future…
By Fredrick Ndege