One of the most crucial challenges presently facing Kenya is preparing her young people for the future. In this period of global economic recession, job loss, foreclosure and fear of uncertainty puts tremendous pressure on the youths and society at large. The rate of unemployment is becoming increasingly alarming. Youth unemployment is one of the most pressing social and economic problems facing less developed countries today (World Bank, 2007). Kenya, like many African countries, suffers from high youth unemployment. According to the 2005 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey, approximately 21% of youths aged 15-29 are unemployed, and a further 25% are neither in school nor working.
This is a critical problem given that individuals in this age group compose 30% of the country’s population. Furthermore, high unemployment can have adverse social and economic consequences: a recent report suggested that the majority of violent acts during the 2007 post-election crisis in Kenya were perpetrated by underemployed youth (World Bank, 2008). Vocational education is one promising avenue for addressing the problem. The 2007 World Development Report emphasizes that “second-chance” schooling programs are crucial for countries like Kenya, given high drop-out rates from primary school and limited primary to secondary school transition rates.
More broadly, international declaration and intent, such as the United Nation’s millennium development goals (MDG) plan for the youth to the year 2015 and beyond. Several Youth forums have stressed the importance of quality education and practical strategies in process of tackling specific needs of young people to prepare them for the future.
Youths who have the opportunity to go to school are forced to study longer by proceeding to a masters degree as job opportunities are becoming more and more scarce, less well paid and less secure, delaying the age at which they become financially independent from their parents. Those who do not have the opportunity to further their education choose to leave the school system due to circumstance such as a lack of finance, strike etc. tend to face marginalization from the corporate environment from which they may never recover, either as a result of lack of adequate skills or experience.
One of the ways to better prepare the youth to be competitiveness in job market and international markets, automation of industrial, entrepreneurship, commercial processes, is the use of technology to equip and expose them to knowledge that can help them gain and stay employment. Advances in information technology and communication are transforming globally, method of dispensing knowledge and presenting new challenges to all countries.
Everyone says entrepreneurship is the key, I think quality education is more important because what is the point giving out monies for start ups when the entrepreneurs wont be able to compete with the big ones, however educate (formally and informally) and they will have the ability to create employment and sustain a business. There is a need for Kenya to embrace and invest in quality education and embrace Information and Communication Technology as a tool for youth development.