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Machogu underscores critical role of career guidance in skills development

Owalo (L) and Machogu (R) in Rarieda

Lack of adequate and professional career guidance has been blamed for low transition rates of secondary schools’ students into institutions of higher learning in the country.

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

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

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 per cent during the 2023/2024 placement cycle.

Much more ominously, the Economic Survey indicated a transition rate of only 30 percent from secondary to post-secondary education over the last few years leaving a substantial 70 per cent 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 per cent compared to the national unemployment rate of 12. 7 per cent.

“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 on the robust energy of its youth, this picture does not inspire hope,” Observed Machogu.

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

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