December 11, 2018

Diploma holders more marketable than university graduates

8th graduation ceremony at the Kisumu National Polytechnic [standard]

Diploma graduates are likely to get jobs compared to university graduates with degrees, a new Labour Force report prepared by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows.

The report indicates that while just 13 per cent of graduates from middle-level colleges are unemployed, 26 per cent of university graduates are jobless.

The statistics are an indication that technical skills possessed by diploma holders are in more demand in the current job market and that the number of graduates churned out by universities are more than the market can absorb.

The reality on the absence of technical skills on the ground could not be much worse than Kenya having to import artisans such as welders from China and India while thousands of learned Kenyans languish in unemployment.

Last week on Friday, Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani expressed shock upon learning that possession of basic technical skills by Kenyan graduates is below average.

“We are saddened to hear that in some areas, we are not able to raise these kinds of skills and we have to look beyond by importing labour from India and China. That should not happen,” Yattani said according to the Standard.

He was on a tour to the National Industrial Training Authority in Mombasa. The authority is tasked with ensuring there is adequate supply of technically trained manpower.

Last year when Dr. Fred Matiang’i was the Education CS before he moved to the Interior Ministry, he asked Kenyans to stop their “obsession” with university degrees and embrace middle-level college training.

Economist Dr. XN Iraki said employers look for skills in whoever they employ and that diploma holders have been found to be more skilled and marketable.

“The solution is to make degree courses more market-oriented, read skill-oriented, not prestige-oriented. We can borrow a leaf from America’s community colleges,” said the economist.

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