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Check Out Our Youth Unemployment in Kenya Essay

Since its independence, Kenya has experienced a steady population growth which has been characterized by the increasing rates of unemployment among the youth. Large proportion of the Kenyan population consists of the youth, where more than 70 per cent of this population is below 30 years of age. A study that was conducted by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics in 2008 (posted on the East Africa Standard), the population of youth was estimated at 15 million with a projection of hitting 17 million by the year 2012. Among the unemployed population in Kenya youth constitute about 67 per cent. These high rates of unemployment in Kenya are directly related to the low rates of absorptive capability of the Kenyan economy, lack of appropriate skills, poor implementation of the projects that are youth oriented, and at some point job selectiveness. Kenyan population is faced with several unemployment challenges, greatest among them being lack of employability, low absorptive capacity of the economy, poor entrepreneurship tradition and biased distribution of the available opportunities (Otieno, 2010). In Kenya more than 70 per cent of the youth lacks the appropriate skills that can afford them employment opportunity. This is also coupled with lack of necessary training and skills that are demanded by the job market. Similarly, there are many insecure jobs which offer poor terms and discouraging work conditions. Most of the opportunities that are there, they come with tag of experience of more than 10 years, making it impossible for youth to secure such jobs. There is also a lack of workable frameworks for industrial internships and attachments where young people from tertiary institutions can gain needed experience or as they work as trainees. Employers who choose to employ youths direct from college, incur extra cost since they have to re-train them. Most of the institutions of higher learning are capitalizing on class based curriculum, giving little attention to the application of the class work. Though, there is some form of industrial attachment it lacks proper integration into the education system. Efficient coordination and integration between the training institutions and industries are significant in development of skills that will eventually improve employability among the youths. The development of skills should be in line with the labor market demand. The Kenya syllabus has remained rigid for more than two decades, with little accommodation of new ideas in terms of technology. As a result, this has created a technological gap in development of the economy. Most of the Kenya graduate’s certificates can be likened to a cruise-map in the middle of Sahara desert; the graduate’s location and map are not related. Kenya’s job market is characterized with two parallel sectors, informal and formal sector. The informal sector is growing rapidly while the formal sector is experiencing a subdued growth. Though the formal sector has a higher preference among the youth, the opportunities are few compared to the demand. The Kenya government has initiated some structural changes designed to support formal sectors. Some of the plans are to review the tax imposed on goods and services which are in line with the formal employments. Though there are some improvements as a result of these policies, effect has not been satisfactory. Poor entrepreneurial culture and biased distribution of resources are related to the above mentioned factors that affect employment among Kenyan youths. Kenya has a developed Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMSE) sector. This is supported by international private investors who have opened opportunities to Kenya youth to start their own businesses. However, with the current education system, the exploration of this sector has experienced an up-hill. It is until the Kenyan policy makers appreciate the role played by youth in the growth of economy that the solution for unemployment will be found.

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