Kenya’s 8-4-4 education system strictly focuses on passing exams-good grades, proceeding to university and emphasizes on white-collar jobs.
For over three decades, this perception has blurred Kenyan youth from paying attention to the value of the informal sector.
This perception has painted the crucial industry negatively with most parents and teachers terming the informal sector as unremunerated economy.
But what’s interesting and laughable is that thousands of university graduates end up in the ‘Jua Kali’ sector due to unemployment with only 20 per cent of available white-collar job market hence unable to absorb the influx of graduates. The remaining 80 per cent of available jobs are in the informal sector.
This has drawn the attention of the national government which has, of late, been placing emphasis on technical skills. The government has set aside Sh 30 billion in the next two years to boost vocational training. County governments too are creating kitty funds from which unsecured loans will be granted to small-scale traders in the informal sector to help them turn into medium-scale entrepreneurs.
Technical, Vocational Education and Training Institutions are Kenya’s best bet to drive economic growth and curb unemployment only if the jobless graduates embrace and change their negative attitude towards the VIBRANT informal sector.
TVET colleges are not for old people who didn’t/couldn’t finish their schooling. By the time a child is in class eight and you see the normal schooling system isn’t working for them, enroll them for a specific course (tailoring, mechanic, hairdressing, masonry, catering, or even food and beverage course ). But we’ve painted such institutions as a place where the ‘not so smart’ go to. But I blame the lack of information we all have. Don’t wait until your child fails KCPE exams three times before you can enroll him/her to a TVET college.