World Bank links poor education to Kenya’s high unemployment

By Neville Otuki | Business Daily, Kenya October 12, 2017

The World Bank has pointed out huge disconnect between university education and labour market needs as a driver of high unemployment levels in countries such as Kenya.

The bank established in its survey that most graduates in sub-Saharan Africa lacked skills to perform jobs in the economy.

“TVET and higher education often have poor links to labour demand, lack diverse pathways that can allow students to build skills cumulatively, and have financing and accountability mechanisms that are not tied to results,” the bank said in its Pulse report released Wednesday.

Most graduates failed the bank’s test that gauged their productivity and employability.

Reading Skills

“In Kenya, less than one per cent of tertiary-educated adults who completed the reading skills test achieved levels 4 or 5 in proficiency (for example, synthesising or integrating information from multiple texts),” the study said.

“More than a quarter were at level 1 or below, meaning that they cannot enter personal information into a document or identify a single piece of information from a simple text, even when it appears identically in the text.”

Kenya’s joblessness has long been fanned by the view among companies that fresh graduates lack the specialised skills and experience needed to perform tasks.

The report identifies human productivity as a long-term growth driver.

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