Africa is faced with a huge youth population that does not have the education or skills to find formal employment or participate in the global economy. At the same time companies are seeking for what they call employability skills which they say are hard to find.
Because of these reasons the education sector is undergoing a major shift as new schools emerge to teach on the job skills helping the youth to bypass outdated, theoretical content from universities to give us what the technology firm IBM has termed new collar jobs.
Since 40% of college graduates in Kenya are unemployed and unable to find employment, and only 1% of computer science majors are able to find employment in their field of study the new schools afford the trainees with the skills to employ themselves and help them employ others.
The old rigid system of education is being challenged as new specialized schools emerge to solve employers’ nightmare with targeted training.
Naturally in Kenya if you want a job with a big company like Safaricom, you need a degree, at least that has been the norm for a long time but the ground is shifting albeit quickly.
And this disruption is being led by entrepreneurs.
When Audrey Cheng, an American national showed up in Kenya 3 years ago, she saw a stark gap in computer software market. Lack of sufficient expertise in software development.
In Kenya one needed to go for a degree in computer science in order to do software development and the colleges could not just produce enough skilled personnel for the market. The period one needs to complete that training is four years which is a long time.
Figuring out that all the market needed is someone who can do job, she joined hands with her American counterpart Frank Tamre to form a software coding school now called Moringa School.
From high school
The students are taken from high school and are made to undergo a preliminary programme which is used to determine whether they are can progress to the next level and the whole training takes six months.
These new kind of skills which are neither blue collar nor white collar is what IBM calls new collar. IBM itself has embarked on a programme to train 25 million Africans on computer software. Other similar training institutions include Andela Kenya and Immobilis.
The school was started in 2015 and has since trained 97 students and some have been employed by Safaricom, Cellulant Craftsilicon, IntellSoft and many others.
“There is an ongoing disruption of Kenya’s education system, the new generation of young Kenyans want specific training that guarantees them results and not general education that prepares them for nothing,” says Fiona Kirui, operations and finance manager at Moringa School.
Kenya’s tertiary learning institutions cannot absorb all the high school graduates and therefore the new type of schools offers hope if not the teeth for the students to compete head to head with their graduate counterparts.
The cost of the preliminary programe also called Moringa prep is 40,000 while the final programme which is Moringa Core costs Sh120,000. This is way cheaper than the normal degree programmes.
The school’s chief technical officer is has worked at Hackreactor ( Top coding school in US). The rest of the instructors were also trained by people from hackreactor.