Do away with moribund courses

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BY Albert Mwazighe

For a long time now, our country has experienced the same old cycle of people who, after going to school, start the tedious journey of looking for a job in their field of study. I hold the view that there is no problem with gaining an education; the elephant in the room is the lack of job opportunities for skilled youth!

As an about-to-graduate youth, I reflect on the bad year-in-out reality with a heaviness of heart. How can the government, through its Council for Higher Education (CHE), continue to allow the teaching of obsolete courses which have been surpassed by technological advancement, especially where its core mandate is to “…ensure the quality and relevance in all aspects of university education, training and research”?

Technological advancement has created new opportunities for the youth, although its real reach to thousands of youth has been hampered by an archaic attitude by a leadership steeped in old ways of doing things.

The shift from natural intelligence (as displayed by humans) to the use of artificial intelligence which emphasizes creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans is steadily becoming the norm in nations keen on moving with the mood of the new millennium.

Indeed, media tech companies such as Google are more than ready to bring on board anyone with even a morsel of a creative idea on how to improve artificial intelligence.

And there’s no doubt that there is proven developer talent in technology in Kenya as proved by the opening, in April, of Africa’s first software testing centre as well as the recent opening by Facebook of the first community hub space in Africa. And these global tech giants are pumping millions of dollars to tap into this youthful talent.

A Disrupt Africa Report shows tech start-ups across Africa raised over $129 million in 2016 (a 17% increase on the previous year) with Kenya attracting the second highest investment after South Africa. That government is not moving in tandem with this changing trend and helping to tap the 75 per cent youthful population into this rare opportunity is an open secret.

The new opportunities for young people, which couldn’t have been imagined a few years back, are a call to a change of individual, collective and official, mind-set on what we ought to do in order to make the youth become owners of capital not victims of it as is the case now.

There’s truth in the assertion that politics, indeed politics of poverty, has frustrated the much-needed university reforms that, if adopted, will certainly do away with all those courses that do not measure up to the realities of the times.

We cannot continue to live in a country where doctors and engineers hawk all manner of merchandise to feed themselves, or where unemployed architects end up venting their anger by drawing graffiti on public places or where security analysts end up as watchmen! CHE and other relevant departments need to start the culture of auditing their work to institute requsite reforms. 

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