By Vera Oreti, Campus Ambassador (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
Kenya is a country that holds onto education as one of the key pillars towards the achievement of Vision 2030 and also the realization of the Millennium Development Goals that go in line with the same. The system of education here is majorly the 8-4-4 although there are several international schools that offer IGCSE among other International systems.
The core objective of students is to acquire academic excellence. Because of this, Kenyan students have inculcated the value of hard work in them. This is evident in the brilliant results posted every year with the mean score rising each passing day. The wide gender disparity gap that was there in the past is now declining because female students now shine, making them realize that all people are equal. Female students now excel in the fields of study that were previously stereotyped to belong to men. Such fields include engineering, medicine, law, architecture and sciences.
The competition evidenced here depicts a culture that keeps everyone on their toes and enables them to work extremely hard.
In Kenya, the students are taught to be independent and as such, many of them engage in part-time job activities if they do not have a tight schedule. This enables them to grow up into mature and responsible citizens that will shape this country to turn from the “The Kenya we have” to “The Kenya we want”. This is especially common with those who are in tertiary institutions. They look for internships and attachments so as to earn an extra coble.
There are opportunities for young people on Campus, but at the same time these opportunities are limited and very competitive. For one to get a chance to practice what they are learning in campus, they have to be exemplary in their fields. Jobs are limited in Kenya and there is a high level of unemployment, and for one to get to where they want they have to put in a lot of effort. These opportunities can be found online, in the newspapers or during career fairs in the institutions of higher learning.
Students’ competitions are not very common in Kenya the way they are in developed countries. Universities in Kenya do hold symposiums once in a while and students from various universities get to meet and learn from each other. Online student competitions are not common in Kenya. The common competitions between institutions are mainly sports activities whereby one university can visit another for sports.
In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, much will have to been done to our education systems and more especially to have the students in our Universities and Colleges more involved so as to bring the change we want.