“Don’t let Schooling get in the way of your Education. ~ Darrow Miller”
If you have been brought up in a Kenyan home, am sure you know your parents never stopped to mention education is the key to success. Yes, that is true. We have all heard that line “Maliza shule, upate kazi, ununue gari” No one ever mentioned that you can be successful without schooling. And without it you were termed as a failure and nobody in society. This in turn led Kenyans to strive to be better educated individuals, by getting a degree.
In the recent years there has been a huge expansion in the higher education sector in Kenya. There were 5 public universities in 2005 but as per now the number has increased to 22. This means that more students can successful transition from high school to university.
Young Kenyans and their families go into debts. They strongly believe that a university degree will help them in the job market. It is a shock that 82,000 Kenyans hold Sh.8.2 billion worth of HELB loans. Does higher education itself offer that benefit or are the people who earn a bachelor’s degree already positioned to get higher paying jobs? The youth have the highest rate of unemployment at 67%. The expansions of the university sector have fed into perceptions that many graduates joining the labor market are failing to obtain jobs. A whooping 50,000 students graduate yearly.
Did you know that it takes a university graduate an average of 5 years to secure a job in Kenya today? And if this isn’t enough, many of those in employment are not engaged in jobs they are qualified for. If future income was determined mainly by how much schooling people receive, then you would assume some higher education will be better than none. It’s a cruel irony that a university degree is worthless to people who most need it: those born into poverty.
It has been found that Kenyans who are born into middle class families, a university degree does appear to be a wise investment. Individuals who received a degree in the middle class earn 162% more over their careers than those who didn’t. But for those born into poverty the results are less impressive. This shows that students from poor backgrounds have less access to very high income jobs in technology, finance and other fields. We appear to be approaching a time when even for middle class students, the economic benefits of a university degree will be dim. Part of the reason is over supply. Technology increased the demand for educated workers but the demand has been consistently outpaced by the number of people prepared to meet it.
Employers demand for a degree for jobs that don’t necessarily require them. This is because they can. It is not necessarily that university gives people the qualification to build a better working life; it’s that not having a degree reduces that. For most of us it’s not our education that determines our employment trajectory but rather where the education positions us in relation to others. Just take these CEOs for example: Steve Jobs former CEO of Apple,Bill Gates former CEO of Microsoft, Richard Branson CEO of Virgin Group, Mark Zuckerberg CEO facebook and Bob Collymore former CEO of safaricom. These are 5 amazing CEOs, leaders and even founders of the most notable companies in the world. These businessmen rose to the top and conquered their own empires — all without a college degree. Full testaments that you don’t need to have a degree to be a success but be educated through other various means.
Having a university degree is good but not having it doesn’t make you less competent. I have met individuals who have no degree but are the best CEOs. In my opinion having a degree doesn’t guarantee a successful future. But having the right mindset and vision can take you to heights that schooling never will. We therefore have to consider Kenyans who might never wear a cup and gown, them to deserve a chance to prove themselves worthy of good work and good life. Education is a life-long process and can happen anywhere rather than inside a classroom. Just don’t let the quest for a degree interfere with your getting important education on other aspects of life that could actually make you successful.
Education is a life-long process and can happen anywhere rather than inside a classroom. Just don’t let the quest for a degree interfere with your getting important education on other aspects of life that could actually make you successful.