Too many degrees are today regarded as useless solely because students aren’t aware of their own skills and experience, or what different jobs require.
Universities are the highest institutions of learning anywhere in the world. But over the years, we’ve heard university academic awards being questioned and some institutions blamed for churning out half-baked graduates.
This begs the question, is the university education in Kenya still the same? And, if not, is it working towards improvement?
“The quality of Kenya’s university education is on its death bed if not ICU.” This is a comment from a graduate student of one of the Kenyan universities.
If anything, this indicates that the quality of education offered in our public universities is no longer the same. It’s dropping and deteriorating every single day.
University degrees aren’t highly regarded like in our parents’ time. Too many degrees are today regarded as useless solely because students aren’t aware of their own skills and experience, or what different jobs require.
There were days when going to the university was a real achievement. Not just for the sake of it. And the universities offered real education. The level of provision and the programs implemented is below par.
The major culprits are those offering outdated and unmonitored courses with a lot of emphasis on theory. What happened to the part where we go to the universities to acquire the skills? How then is one supposed to acquire these skills without practically doing it?
This is the reason why unemployed graduates are roaming the streets or doing odd jobs that don’t match with their professional careers. And for those who learned on the theoretical part of a course, when it comes to handling things practically, they fall short and remain almost perpetually incompetent.
Imagine going to the university to study for a four-year course that is entirely irrelevant in the existing job market. It’ll be a complete waste of time and money.
Currently, there are so many graduates regretting why they even went to the university in the first place. They feel wasted and often wish they had joined a college or an institute instead because of the hands-on learning experience they offer.
It doesn’t come as a surprise to hear someone call your degree garbage. However bad it may sound; there’s some truth and it is high time parents know what is really happening to their investments.
Public universities have become business hubs where a student’s needs and hunger for education are no longer catered for. While it is upon the student to go the extra mile to better their performance, having good lecturers and a curriculum that supports them is paramount.
Of course, we understand it’s an adult “thing” up there and there is no pushing, but students need direction. Otherwise, there won’t be a need for education systems if they already knew what they are going to learn in school.
Meanwhile, the issue of unmonitored courses is still on the rise and most students continue to choose disciplines that have been phased out in the industry. Few of them receive career guidance and they end up picking courses that are not worth it.
It’s high time our universities start changing this trend or the public universities will end becoming useless and dead for good.
How Can Universities Help?
With the current trend of unemployment, especially among young graduates, it is time for a serious talk on career choices, and universities are better placed for the task. Higher learning institutions should ensure that their career advice is more accessible and meaningful.
Graduates have often picked up the soft skills that employers are looking for – but they just don’t know it yet. As such, a system of sensitization needs to be put in place where a student can effectively learn how certain skills and attributes match with workplace scenarios.
In their career advice, Universities should help students think about how certain skills acquired through a course applies to them and the best approach to overcome practical problems. This will make them aware of the skills they already have, and the ones they’ll need in the workplace.
In a nutshell, students need better career advice that will help them define their skills and attributes – and understand how these match different career options. Universities should also help them find out which skills they’ll need to break into certain industries – particularly in sectors that aren’t good at diversifying their recruitment, or when they have no “connections” as is the case with most people that get jobs through preference.
Article by Lynnet Okumu