Can the Solution for Africa’s Job Crisis Be Found in Higher Education?

By Vera Shawiza / May 3, 2017

Education is the key to a better life so they say. Over the year, as people grew up, the slogan has remained more or less the same about education being the master key to greater opportunities in the life of an individual.

People are enlightened on a number of different areas that are critical in the development of a country and the world in general. With education, the way of thinking for an individual change and they are able to critically analyze a situation in a manner that will bring about a number of ideas that can be used in decision-making and problem-solving.

Having an idea of the impact that can be brought about by education, the question to think about is; who are these people to be equipped with education? Since time in memorial, education has been in place and there are many people around the world who have gone to great miles due to education. This is one tool that is well equipped can bring about positive change in the society, especially in Africa.

Africa is also the world’s most youthful continent. Today, nearly 50 percent of Africans are under age 15. Africa’s young people are our future leaders and will be the driving force behind sustainable growth across the continent.

Investment in education and training is essential in building an educated and skilled workforce and to encourage innovation. This young generation in Africa needs to be well equipped with knowledge that will enable them not only look forward to formal employment but being able to be creative and innovative enough in a manner that they will create jobs for themselves and for others.

According to the State of Education in Africa report 2015, Africa is expected to have the world’s largest labor force, with an estimated working-age population of 1 billion by 2040. Can this be achieved with the poor state in which our education sector is in? Despite the fact that we can proudly say that Africa has transformed greatly as far as education is concerned, we are still lagging behind when compared with other countries across the globe.

African youth have been enrolled in schools but sadly, they do not come out with the required skills that can be practically used in the competitive world which keeps changing due to technology. There are no resources to be used by young people, and by this, most of them are only taken through the theory part but not the practical part, which is needed by most employers.

The number of young people accessing higher education in Africa is also promising as it keeps increasing as time goes by. Many of them have understood the importance of going beyond secondary education. The only challenge here is that, even after the years spent in University and colleges, most of these youth still are not able to showcase what they are capable of. This is to mean that a lot more needs to be done so as to improve the way of equipping knowledge to these young generations while at the University level.

The British Council’s Going Global Report 2014 stated that there are significant shortages of academic staff in Africa adding that there are already 50 percent more students per lecturer in the Sub-Saharan Africa than the global average. Such are the challenges that need to be addressed as far as higher education in Africa is concerned.

It is estimated that it takes an average of 5 years for a university graduate to secure a job in Kenya, a trend that is worrying and needs to be addressed urgently. If at all these graduates can be made to create their own employment opportunities by being provided with the needed resourced and an environment that is conducive, then the matter can be well be addressed.

According to UNESCO, World Bank. More young people also need to be enrolled in higher education institutions though there was an improvement between 2000 and 2010 where the enrollment doubled, increasing from 2.3 million to 5.2 million. The number still needs to go up from 6 percent to reach the global average of 26 percent.

A lot of investments still need to be put in Higher education in Africa so as to improve its status. We also need to develop strong curriculums for a knowledge-based global economy. A commitment to improving higher education will give the next generation of leaders an opportunity to create a better future for themselves, their community, and their country and with all these, it will definitely have solved Africa’s Job crisis.


About Vera Shawiza

Vera Shawiza is Soko Directory’s in-house journalist. Her zealous nature ensures that sufficient and relevant content is generated for the Soko Directory website and sourcing information from clients is easy as smooth sailing. Vera can be reached at: (020) 528 0222 or Email: [email protected]

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