Kenyans forgo food for better education, but to what end? : The Standard


Education CS George Magoha during training of teachers on the Competency Based Curriculum at Kakamega High School yesterday. [Duncan Ocholla, Standard]

For most Kenyans, education is the beaten path to success. Not just any education, good education.

That is why every morning, Ruth’s mother squeezes Sh100 into her tiny palm and sends her to a tin-shacked, informal school in Korogocho slum, Nairobi.
For Ruth’s mother, who ekes out a living from washing clothes, the Sh100 daily school fees does not come easy. And when she does not get it, there is no learning for Ruth.
“But I always look for every way possible to ensure she does not miss class, even if it means borrowing,” says the mother, who, however, did not want her name revealed.

SEE ALSO :Why biryani should be our national dish

She is among millions of Kenyans who, although living one paycheck away from poverty, can still afford to squeeze a few shillings for their children’s education. Education, to most Kenyans, is the silver bullet to incorrigible poverty.
A report by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD), found that education is the leading life-goal for Kenyans, regardless of their income group.
The 2019 FinAccess Survey states that 35.5 per cent of Kenyans ranked educating oneself ahead of every need, including putting food on the table.
The need to educate oneself was more acute among poor households such as that of Ruth’s mother, according to the survey. Among those in the low-income group, 37.3 per cent ranked education as the most important goal in their lives.
“It highlights how Kenyans view education as a means to access opportunities (upward mobility) and social status,” reads the report.

SEE ALSO :Good policies needed to attain food security

Huge loans
It is only among Kenyans with no education that putting food on the table ranked ahead of education as the main goal. But even among this group, the quest for learning was sizzling.
To secure better jobs, or even get promoted, most Kenyans have sold their cows or taken huge loans to better their education.
Moreover, while most Kenyans tend to save for their day-to-day needs and emergencies such as burial, most try to put aside some cash for education.
Thirty-three per cent of respondents said they were saving for the education of self, child and sibling in 2019, up from 21 per cent three years ago. Realising the importance of education in reducing poverty and narrowing the ever-widening gap between the have and have-nots, the government has made access to basic primary and secondary schooling free for every child.

SEE ALSO :February inflation falls to 8-month low

The World Bank notes that while Kenya has remarkably improved access to primary and secondary education, Kenyans are still functionally illiterate. In other words, they lack the literacy necessary for coping with most jobs and many every day situations.
“Even amongst those with tertiary level education, less than 25 per cent achieve functional literacy. But the labour market requires more than just education; skills also matter,” said the World Bank.
The skills Kenyans have been getting from institutions of higher learning, reckon the government, are not the kind of skills that the industry is yearning for, a mismatch that has seen graduates endlessly toil for work.
Suddenly, education is not catapulting Kenyans into next socio-economic level, fuelling a feeling of despondence that has seen graduates take up low-productive jobs in the jua kali sector.
This has added to the unemployment crisis, especially among the youth, which experts have described as a “ticking bomb”.

SEE ALSO :Twiga Foods: The disruptors in the ‘mama mboga’ market

According to the World Bank, between 2015 and 2025, the working age population will increase, on a net basis, by nearly nine million people.
“One third of them, or three million, will be made up of young people, between ages 15 and 24,” reads the World Bank report.
The government does not want to be caught flat-footed.
In the 2010/11 National Manpower Survey Basic Report (NMS), the Labour ministry blamed the skills mismatch on the conversion and/or takeover of middle-level colleges, and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions by universities.
The conversion, noted the NMS, was being done without the matching establishment of vocational training institutes. The result is a reduction in the out-turn of technicians and other middle-level personnel, with Kenya churning out more business managers than scientists.

Register to advertise your products & services on our classifieds website and enjoy one month subscription free of charge and 3 free ads on the Standard newspaper.

FoodEducationKNBSCost of living


Source link