Higher education and employment in Kenya: a liberal interpretation of the literature
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AbstractThis paper is an attempt to synthesize and interpret the literature on higher education and employment of the highly-trained in Kenya. The paper begins by examining four trends which characterise the labour market for university graduates in the 1980's. These trends are the, 1) Low employment generation in the private sector and the subsequent pressure on the government to provide jobs; 2) Increasing competition among graduates for desirable employment; 3) Occurrence of education or credential inflation, particularly at the entry-level; and, 4) Limited, but one-way, public to private sector movement of skilled persons. The relationship of these trends has a number of parallels with the classic inflationary spiral. The demand for education places an unending pressure on the government to expand the educational system, which in turn results in subsequent pressure to expand employment opportunities, which reinforces the demand for education (by assuring that relatively high-paying jobs are available). The government cannot maintain the increasing commitment of resources necessary to continue to expand the educational system and employ its graduates. The paper concludes with an examination of some selected policy options. The pervasive theme and intent of these strategies are to reduce the role that the government plays in subsidizing of higher levels of education and the provision of employment for the highly-trained. Changes must also occur on the individual level. Greater responsibility must be shifted to the consumer of education to be informed of available training alternatives, to assume a greater proportion of the costs of that education, to be aware of employment prospects and realities, and to be prepared to accept the outcomes, whatever they may be.
TypeSeries paper (non-IDS)
Hughes, Rees and Wahome, James G. (1985) Higher education and employment in Kenya: a liberal interpretation of the literature. Working paper no. 426, Nairobi: Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi