Stop Blaming University Graduates for incompetence; find a cure to the cancer that is corruption in your Organizations

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The recent report by the Inter-University council for East Africa (IUCEA) that half of East Africa graduates are half-baked have reincarnated a debate of the quality of graduates universities are churning out yearly in this ever shrinking job market. The report may have given a true picture of the reality on the ground but it has failed to highlight measures that should be taken to fill the gap between graduates and the corporate world. Not surprising, the report painted a disturbing picture Of the Kenyan graduates. According to the report, more than half of Kenyan Graduates are unfit for jobs. With thousands graduates continuing to be churned out of public universities, who is to blame for this current state of affairs? Is it the institutions’ offering these courses, the Kenyan Education system or the graduates? Most of these surveys have put weights behind corporate world and deliberately ignored to check with the graduates.
While it may be fine to blame defenseless graduates for their lack of employ-ability skills, technical mastery and basic related capabilities, a sharp focus should be redirected to the very institutions’ that model them for the job market. Attention should actually be focused on the Lecturer to student ratio, duration of these courses and their practicality in the job market.
Students taking practical courses like Engineering, Computer Science, Statistics, Communications and Design and Arts do not have enough time to leverage their classroom experience into the real world. Time factor and huge enrollment are some of the factors to blame. Majority are forced to sit for long hours in class to crack outdated mathematical formulas and hands-outs to go through before the onset of cats and examinations with little time left for practical lessons. This goes on amidst complaints of outdated syllabus whose concepts have been passed with time. 
Believe if it or not, majority of organizations have closed their doors for students seeking attachments or internships at their premises. The few who manage to get attachment positions are met with employees who are either still studying to acquire degrees and are unwilling to train them or reluctant to  train and give them the relevant skills required by the organizations for fear of competition . Worse of, some students are forced to work as messengers or photocopiers in the name of loyalty to the organization. The three months training period ends with nothing to smile about. Students always feel duped as they have spent so much in their upkeep with nothing to show for it. Many from far off areas are forced to rent houses, pay rent only to end up gaining nothing from their three months training but haunted by huge budgets that they could have used resourcefully in other ventures.    Majority of students spend their days idling in the offices, gossiping, taking photos and posting them on social sites. In fact, they end up knowing office secrets more than the experience they came to acquire.  The irony is that, most of these organizations end up decorating their certificates with experiences they were not even taken through.
Others who have made it to reputable organizations are used as profit machines with little time for proper training. It is true organizations need profitable graduates who can go beyond their comfort zones to excel in their areas of specialization but they should not blame it solely on graduates. Every organization have their way of going about their business most of which are not universal. This is why it is posing a challenge for graduates to blend well in most of these companies with their little experiences from attachments.Furthermore, there are so many Kenyans whose certificates were issued under questionable circumstances while others' certificates are not genuine at all. We see these cases more often from our leaders. Cases are still pending in courts. We have heard cases in Kenya where leaders are issued with degree certificates few months to general elections yet they never even attended lecturers. NSI is still investigating these cases. Despite all these, we still continue to blame fresh graduates and generalizing their incompetence.
The purpose of Education is to open one’s mind and make them creative, productive and resourceful. Test us on these skills and you will be surprised. It is either the selection process for most companies are flawed thereby opening floodgates for incompetent fellows who find their ways into these organizations through corruption, nepotism and favoritism or they are expecting too much from graduates with little or no experience from their trainings.

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