I read a story in one of the dailies headlined, ‘Magoha warns on course duplication’ with interest. More interesting was a reader’s rejoinder the following day saying ‘There are no useless degrees…..”
Education stakeholders are yet to fully understand the place of career guidance and its journey through the life of every individual. Today, if you asked students of careers they know of, they struggle to count to 10, yet colleges and universities offer over 200 courses!
What has lacked is information on the courses which makes students opt for what is familiar. Question to ponder, do colleges and universities provide the necessary information early enough to help students to make informed choices? Experience shows that often choice of courses is restricted to what students have heard, what their parents know, their friends and loads of speculation about careers that may offer them status and money about all the courses!
In my opinion universities have not come to the realization that it’s not like yester years when there were few universities and so they filled their capacity very fast. Besides, students had fewer choices of courses to make from. In an era where there is an explosion of universities globally, our Kenyan universities will either have no students choosing their universities and their courses.
Think of a place in USA!They have over 3000 universities. How do students make choices? As early as 1920’s research findings show that colleges and universities in USA go to the students to explain to them about their courses, what they are all about, their benefits and support services they provide.
They have further invested in marketing of their courses to other countries. What with the international career fairs that clutter the country every year! Kenya is one of the destinations that is popular with UK, Canada, USA, Malaysia. Every January to March these universities camp to look for students and further,they have agents who represent them when they return home. They come with goodies and scholarship to top students. Soon our local universities will start crying foul that these universities are taking their top students!
Our universities must wake up and smell the coffee! They must go to the students. They must go where their clients are and not their clients coming to them. In order to have fruitful discussion on the grounds, the universities should invest in equipping the staff who go to schools to be trained on how to create an experience on their courses in the students mind with relevant information. In this way, we can pre-empt and reduce incidences of courses not attracting any applicant.
Also, it’s time to think out of the box! It’s not about the teaching of the course but also strategic linkages with the industry, the employer, looking at the gaps that employers have, reviewing their courses, infusing courses with 21st century trends, placing students and making their transition to the world of smooth!
We are now living in a global economy and we are not only training for the local market but internationally.