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First congratulations to all the 63 Kenyan universities for being ranked among the world’s best universities in the recent 2015 global report. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change much on the May 2014 Ministerial Conference Report that places Kenya at an appalling 67% unemployment rate. It actually brings to question the effectiveness of the current system of education and tutoring culture amongst learning institutions.
I believe that for the rate of unemployment to reduce, the government and learning institutions must come together and support innovation and self-employment initiatives through changing the current teaching culture used by our very own learning institutions from an early age.
Since the adoption of the British 8-4-4 system of education in 1985 in Kenya, our learning institutions have always produced graduates to wok in industries. Primary, secondary and Tertiary education were therefore established to provide enough competent workers to work in industries thus grow the Kenyan economy. The prime objective of education was not to develop scholars to challenge and redefine the current industrial status quo , but produce a competent workforce that would maintain and optimize it.
Fast forward 2015, there are few emerging industries, more graduates, and still our learning institutions continue teaching students to respect the old system of looking at things, expecting a different economic outcome. That is why after completing education, the first thing most university graduates think of is looking for a job and not creating one. Is this really what we need?
What we Need
Seth Godin’s 2012 book/manifesto “Stop stealing dreams” challenges the current teaching culture as outdated. He recognizes that the needs of the post-working economy have changed. No longer do industries need more workers to enhance productivity, but more artist and creatives of new ideas and industries. Therefore, the government, lecturers, teachers and institutional unions need to note this imperceptible fact immediately and change the mode of teaching in schools, because no longer is there adequate room to absorb the backlog of university graduates.
Parents must also, at an early age start encouraging their children to have more self-reliant dreams than industry-reliant ones.
Our education system also needs to change its core culture to match that of the demands of the 21 century economy, and not the other way around. We no longer need to comply with the pre- teaching methods that centered on obedience, compliance to facts, and passing exams because though important, compliance and shear competence in systemic processes in today’s world is simply economic suicide.We must realize that our responsibility is to raise a new generation that is restless and ready to take on the county to a new course never been explored before.
Students must therefore be encouraged from an early age to want to challenge facts thus come up with more effective and dynamic ways of solving problems. Because the current economy dictates a need for more inventors, scientists, explorers and artists for this are the people that open doors for others. President Uhuru Kenyatta has in fact realized this subtle fact and thus invested more in the youth enterprise and Uwezo fund among other self sustaining initiatives , though this wouldn’t fully solve the unemployment problem.
To the Education Ministry
The Kenya Ministry of Education needs to change teachers, and societies outlook of schools as factories of producing competent students that fits particular job groups, to providing transformational education that is centered on leadership, passion, ethics and inquisitiveness. This will encourage students to want to learn not because there are exams, but because they are passionate about providing leadership and innovation in their respective careers. In the the long run, children will acquire the verve to make their personal dreams come true and bolster economic growth ans sustainability as needed.
From an early age, children must be taught the purpose of learning as not to get good jobs, but to provide more dynamic leadership than exists in humanity; to be artists and leaders of new non-existent industries. This will encourage children to have self-reliant dreams that are not solemnly focused on what is there, but what might be there.
I am sure if you knew why you were learning subjects like chemistry and mathematics at an early age, you would invest more time and effort in learning them yourself thus provide more leadership and contribution to whichever field you are in now. Your life would be better off by now as you would be in a better position to contribute to the current evolutionary challenges of the 21st century economy.
That said, Its still not too late to change the teaching culture as we a;; need to ask for more from our learning institutions.