Kenyan universities need enterprise as a common course


The Kenyan education sector has undergone a number of reforms in the recent past like the ongoing gradual phasing out of the curriculum and the turning of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) into hubs of skills training and innovation.

However, the ministry should continue with the reform agenda by introducing teaching of entrepreneurial skills as a common course in universities and colleges as one way of helping the youth join the job market while studying and after graduation.

The higher education system has been offering more arts-based courses, raising questions about the slant. However, according to the recent placement of students who sat the national exam KCSE to universities and colleges, this is changing gradually as the number selected to pursue courses in science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) has increased by 20 per cent to 28,135 compared to 34,716 who will join various courses in humanities.

Limited skills means the bulk of the graduates are not prepared for the job market.

That is why all students should enrol for entrepreneurship as a common course.

This is important because by the end of their studies, these graduates will be able to achieve a number of things in the course of professional life.

First, they will become self-sufficient. Graduates will no longer have to rely on a salary to satisfy their financial needs. Well trained, they should be able to come up with products or services that will earn them an income.

Secondly, graduates will greatly boost the country’s economy. The entrepreneurs will come up with creative and great businesses ideas to suit market demand.

This will in turn generate more jobs, leading to higher tax revenue and eventually increase the GDP. Irrespective of sector, that is the talent required to attain the Vision 2030 growth targets.

Thirdly, they will steer societal change; entrepreneurs normally don’t conform.

Entrepreneurs are also extremely technologically savvy, creating one app after another.

What they may be lacking is the entrepreneurial skills to make these apps accessible.

The government and other organisations have offered funds, incentives and rewards for free enterprise as a way of encouraging more people and especially the youth to plunge into entrepreneurship.

Some of these include import incentives given to manufacturers. The government gives them a reduction on import tariffs on any kind of machinery. Exporters also get incentives.

The government has also put in place policies that favour trade and industrial development. Since 2010, SMEs have been listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange to encourage sustainability.

Opportunities for entrepreneurs in Kenya are limitless, so trainers ought to tap hidden talents in young people. With right training, the young people should drive innovation and economic growth.

Perminus Wainaina, CEO and managing partner, Corporate Staffing Services Ltd