How professional career guidance can drive up transition rates

Inadequate professional career guidance is to blame for the low transition rates of secondary schools’students into institutions of higher learning in the country.

The same is also to blame for the skills deficiency currently being witnessed in the country’s labour market, where there is a mismatch between the skills that employers are looking for and the training and experience that school leavers possess.

According to Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, many young people in Kenya enter the labour market without adequate skills mainly because they were not exposed to proper and professional career guidance from the primary school to university level.

An elated Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu after being conferred a Honorary Degree in Humane Letters by Taita Taveta University at the institution’s 6th graduation ceremony

Quoting the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS), Machogu noted that the transition rate of secondary school graduates (2022 cohort) to vocational training, technical institutions or universities stood at 32% during the2023/2024 placement cycle.

Much more ominously, the Economic Survey indicated a transition rate of only 30% from secondary to post-secondary education over the last few years leaving a substantial 70%unaccounted for.

Machogu noted that the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms reported weak structures for career guidance in schools, and recommended a review of the frameworks for implementation of career guidance.

 In a speech read on his behalf by Dr Meshack Opwora, the Director -TVET in the ministry, the minister said the low transition rates to vocational training, technical institutions and universities had exacerbated youth unemployment in the country, which currently stands at 67% compared to the national unemployment rate of 12.7%.

“Young people in Kenya face a monumental challenge of employment. Industry reports show that the youth unemployment rate is 67 percent compared to the overall unemployment rate of 12.7 per cent in the country. For a country that has pegged its development onthe robust energy of its youth, this picture does not inspire hope,” said Dr. Opwora.

Machogu said that professional career guidance will assist learners in all stages of transition within CBC from Junior school, Senior school, Colleges, TVETS, Universities unto the world of work school, to tertiary to the world of work.

He was speaking during the 2nd National Career Guidance Development Conference at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD). The conference, organized by The Career Development Association of Kenya (CDAK) brought together local andinternational experts, stakeholders and thought leaders to deliberate on therole of career guidance and development as a strategy in enhancing lifelong transitions and youth employability amid the ongoing education reforms inKenya.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Leveraging on Career Guidance and Development to Enhance LifelongTransitions and Youth Employability amid Education reforms in Kenya.

Research conducted by CDAK on careeralignment revealed that 66% of respondents believe they are in the wrong career. Only 7% believe they are in the right career, while 27% don’t know.  

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