For generations, the prevailing wisdom has been getting a good degree, and you’re set for life. Growing up, every child is constantly being reminded that they need to work extra hard to secure direct university placement. The notion has always been that once they earn a degree, they will be able to free themselves plus their families from shackles of poverty.
The hard truth out here, however, is a University degree no longer earns anyone a well-paying job or a successful life. Gone are those days! Millions of Kenyan youth remain jobless despite having what could be known as ‘the best degrees.’
Recent research showed that the number of students graduating from degree programs every year has increased from 23,523 in 2012, to 49,020 in 2015.
Several human resource persons have acknowledged that they prefer diploma over degree holders citing that they are more resourceful. The debate about diploma holders having the upper hand in the job market has sparked conversations severally.
They are mostly highly-skilled, which is what employers are on the lookout for when employing. University students are highly knowledgeable but hardly have any skills, a scenario which explains why most hands-on jobs like railway construction and road works are done by Chinese instead of millions of educated young people who idle around.
Kevin Ochieng, first-class honors graduate from the University of Nairobi is among the thousands of graduates who have been jobless despite giving their best in school.
His depressing story was recently highlighted on Citizen TV. Kevin is a former student of Maranda High, a secondary school rated as national that churns out one of the best performing students annually. He scored an A in KCSE before he joined Nairobi University, where he studied Actuarial Science.
His parents ensured he went to school, and they hoped that he would end up being a savior for the family, having come from a humble background. On clearing his degree where he managed to raise his school fees through bursaries and a Chinese scholarship, he applied for jobs in several places.
“I applied to Central Bank and other top firms but ended up in vain. This frustration weighed up on me until I contemplated suicide,” he added.
“I was frustrated and went to live in the streets for a year after failing to land a job. It’s better living in Mathare than lying in the streets. Back home, they all believed that I would be the saviour,” he stated.
But after his story was aired on National TV, Kevin has received several job offers from various companies.
Kevin has so far received 14 offers from State corporations, county governments, and top private companies. Some of the companies willing to have him on board include: Jamii Bora Bank, the Kenya Red Cross, UAP Old Mutual, TripleOKLaw Advocates, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Centum, Naivas Supermarkets, Vivo Energy, Nairobi County Government, and the Kenya Forest Services.
While most of these companies have come out to support the graduate who became homeless, questions have been raised on whether these companies are genuinely offering the jobs or simply riding on publicity to market their firms.
Another story of Ruth Rono, a first-class honours Economics graduate was highlighted earlier this year. Hers was also a sad story as she was forced to return home to do manual jobs to provide for her siblings and ailing mother. She applied for so many jobs without sucesss and eventually opted to go back and get involved in blue-collar jobs to provide for her family.
Ruth’s story, which was first shared on social media got wide media coverage, and it attacted several job offers. Kevin’s scenario has also been widely publicised, which explains the many jobs offers he has received. Notably, he did mention that some of the companies that have offered him jobs are among those that he sought before and was not given a chance.
Are these firms then being sincere with their job offers or simply out here to leverage on the publicity to market their brands?
Featured Image Courtesy: Twitter