Roughly 5 percent of Kenya’s population is aged 55 and over, with only 2 percent in the elderly category of 65 years and over, thus making Kenya one of the countries with the highest population of youth in Africa.
This has brought about a need for an all-encompassing system of education that can cater for white-collar and blue collar jobs while at the same time de-congesting the clutter that has plagued our major universities. In this case that clutter would be a very large number of students studying one course then flooding the market and rendering that profession virtually redundant. This can be a gift or a curse depending on how one looks at it. For the longest time, creative individuals had very limited space to hone their craft or showcase whatever form of creative activity they did, but, fast forward to 2017 and there is more space for creative people than ever in the history of this country. Why has there been an influx of “creatives”? Well, the answer lies in the fact that with the increased ease in which people can access higher learning, the value of university degrees has been watered down. The life of an individual who lives in Nairobi with a single degree isn’t that different from an individual who just finished high school.
With the harsh political climate bringing about a fall in the country’s economy the number of individuals being laid off is at an all-time high, from the highest ranking individuals to the lowest, job security is more uncertain than ever. When one goes for a job interview for a position like a records keeper at a law firm be sure that there is another individual waiting for the same interview but with a more “decorated” resume. Whereas a KCSE certificate was a stepping stone to formal employment in most urban settings, the Bachelor’s degree has seemingly replaced it.
Entrepreneurship and the use of creativity to curve out a living is what most of the youth are looking to. Of course there are those that have gone to further their studies but if it is anything to go by, the days of “maliza shule utapata kazi” (complete your schooling and a job is guaranteed) are long gone. As important as literacy is and the also the fact that it is always a safety net to fall back on, the youth should be taught other skills that can ensure they have a means to eke out a living. Bringing back tertiary studies or arts and crafts is one way to ensure a multi-faceted individual will go into the “real world” after school and can create a niche for themselves to the point that he/she may even end up employing or inspiring others.