Are we enslaved in the Kenyan education system?

This is a riddle that even some of the most intellectual minds in this country have failed to solve. The country’s education system has received great criticism for the past few years; but no one really goes down to the facts that affect the current generation that feels the disadvantages entailed. Away with the criticism, let’s face the facts.

This week, the education cabinet secretary launched the placement of 2017 high school graduates into universities across the country. This was a moment of joy to only a handful of youth out there trust me. This is because only a handful got the courses they dreamed of even though they had the grades. This is courtesy of the so called Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS). Data from their servers shows that nearly half of the public universities failed to fill at least 50 percent of the slots that were declared open.

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This has created a deficit in universities and not because students lack the grades to join those courses; but because they are enslaved to a system that someone else is left to decide their future. It’s an immense kind of pain that students undergo knowing that they struggled for four years to get good grades… and then some computer algorithm somewhere shuts the door for them. The question is… who is supposed to fill that deficit if not us students?

However much KUCCPS has nowadays become every teenager’s nightmare, I must say the education system is to blame. First of all, the education system has come up with a lot of courses that do not attract the millennial youth of today. This has raised the competition that is there in the few attractive courses. This often leaves many students who initially qualified for these courses disappointed.

Such students often end up getting courses that they claim are an insult to their grades. Honestly speaking this is true. There is no way that a student that has good grades and has passion for medicine is placed in an accounting course; this happens a lot. How do you expect such a person to deliver fully in the course or even in that career path? That’s why employers end up complaining that the country lacks skilled labor. Youth have degrees but they cannot perform in those careers they have pursued.

You might say that one is able to maybe choose another different course. Okay, that is possible for those who are financially-able; but for the average students, they will have to pursue what the government has set for them since they depend on the government for school fee loans.

When you see students posting memes related to KUCCPS on social media platforms, it’s not because they are idle but it’s because they are victims of those memes. Those memes tell what actually happens to youth out here. So, for those who received their dream choices, congratulations! As for those who fell victims, take heart and hope that the government listens and considers our plight. How I wish our grades would decide our futures and not some government system. All in all, we are still enslaved in a system that decides our future for us.

By Emmanuel Otieno