Many graduates not able secure employment after years of mental and financial straining in school
Practically, lack of jobs in the Kenyan employment market has forced many graduates to be artful and do odd jobs, irrespective of whether these jobs align with their educational qualifications or not which appears quite ironic.
Anyone who ever set his or her feet in school has a story to tell about their teachers and how they encouraged students to work hard at school.
However, this particular school of thought was very common on teachers’ lips: ‘Work hard now, go to the university and you’ll prosper or sleep today for you will enjoy sleep tomorrow’.
But standing wherever you are, having done as was advised by your good teachers, Looking back, there is nothing to smile about life, no sleep, more stress, more fatigue, And ”Kwa ground vitu ni different” would be the best conclusion of the day.
Kenya, among other developing countries, the economic graph has continued to slope south, with everyone losing life balance. Graduates are jobless, and sadly, those who are flexible enough to keep their eye on the north of the tilting economic compass direction have a price to pay and a crime to commit – deteriorating health due to lack of enough sleep, peace of mind and academic fraud.
Kennedy Ochoa, a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Programming graduate of Embu University,story is that of a 26year-old-man keeping his eye on the north while committing academic fraud, as his 24-hour job.
Anchorage is an academic researcher for international clients, this is after all his efforts to secure employment turned futile since 2017. His work is better known as academic or online writing especially with the harsh living in Nairobi.
This reporter(writer) caught up with him in his 1-bedroom Kahawa Wendani house, always armed with his laptop and Wi-Fi connection, he is always on toes. Sourcing and bidding for clients’ assignments online, researching, and submitting them within tight timelines.
“This is what I do day and night. I’m always receiving instructions on assignments to do. Right now I have a 5-paged assignment on a Psychology topic to submit in one hour time, I’m yet to piece it together. Yes, this job pays well but I suspect my health is in danger because I never sleep since it’s always day and night,” Kennedy hastily explained.
He sources his assignments from websites such as Edusson, Uvocorp, and WritersLab, but had to purchase his own account which is quite expensive and he’s also a very active member of Academia-Research Writer’s Facebook group.
He is paid between Ksh35-500 per page for assignments done and money paid via PayPal. So he earns more depending on the number of assignments done and completed. With 2 years experience, he says, he does 20 pages per day on average of 3,500shillings.
When this reporter visited his house, Onchora showed us two vehicles at the parking yard, one a Jeep and Marcedes Benz. “Ninjas don’t look for jobs but these vehicles belong to two of my colleagues who reside here just working tirelessly online,” he said.
“In the process, I have learned that this is a full-time job too so many graduates, especially those living in those apartments along Thika Super Highway in Nairobi, Embu and Kiambu counties”, says Kennedy.
In 2019, there was an ‘academic fraud scandal’ that rocked Harvard University when it was found that most Ph.D. theses are written here in Kenya by jobless Kenyans. This is academic fraud.
Furthermore, there are those who argue that training for low-level courses or in middle-level colleges is now better than a university degree.
Phanuel Ochieng is another graduate who is currently doing something he had not envisioned. The 27year-old, who currently lives in Kisumu City, Wathorego village, obtained a Bachelor of applied sciences in Agricultural Extension, Second class honors, an upper-division from the Egerton University in 2015. However, his tireless attempts to get better work bore no fruit.
To make ends meet, Ochieng’ now has been working as a sand miner along river beds which sustains him and his family to date.
Although this job is not in line with what he studied at the varsity Phanuel is at least grateful that he is able to put food at the table and support his younger siblings as he comes from a humble family.
However, unlike Onchora Kennedy, Phanuel has not been able to get secure employment anywhere and he’s forced to do the odd job.
“Besides, most people require bribes from job seekers, making job hunting difficult endeavors for broke graduates like me and it’s even worsened by employers who always insists on work experience from fresh graduates,” claims Mr. Ochieng’.
“The sand mining job is such a risky illegal business ,I’m forced to wake up every day in the cold at least to make enough tonnes which cost Ksh3,000. for just one lorry, which could take up to one or two weeks just mining sand under the ground and even dive in the cold waters to get sand , however one may end up being buried by the soil as many have died following sand minings,” explains Phanuel
But despite life struggles the still it’s for the best that one day he will find a well paying decent job.
According to data of the 2019 Census by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), youths aged 18 to 35 are 13.7 million. Out of the population, 1.6 million are seeking employment or conclude that work is not available.
Meanwhile, about 1.3 million Kenyans have a university education and the majority are jobless as from observation many have given up on job search.