The 7th Edition of Higher Education & Career Fair 2021 was on held on Friday and Saturday 22nd-23rd January 2021. Participants had an option of either joining in person at the venue at Sarit Centre or virtually on their smart devices. The theme for this year’s event was ‘Empowering the youth to succeed in the post COVID-19 era’. Students, parents and guardians had a chance of interacting with over 70 institutions of higher learning and education stakeholders.
Speaking during the event Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi – Vice Chancellor Mount Kenya University (MKU) noted that learning in higher institutions l is now blended; virtual and face to face. “There is need for human interaction but at the same time safety is also important. Students should be able to learn from anywhere but there are some degrees or courses which cannot be replaced by online learning like medical degrees which require students to be in hospitals.” The Vice Chancellor stated.
Prof Robert Kinyua – Deputy Vice Chancellor Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) noted the demand for online learning has triggered most universities to revamp their courses. He noted that there are courses which will continue being offered online even with the discovery of the COVID vaccine. Online learning has come with some challenges like lecturers who are not used to teaching online and students who are not equipped and are not willing to learn online. To overcome these challenges; the University partnered with Safaricom to provide affordable data bundles to the students.
The Head of Digital Products and Services at Safaricom; Fawzia Ali-Kimathi noted “when COVID happened, there was a big realization that there was huge gap between children who had internet and those without. At the beginning of the pandemic only 20% of children were able to access education.” The challenges were; access to a device, affordable bundles, access to an area that has network, and access to content. During the pandemic, Safaricom partnered with the government and The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to deliver content to learners for free. Over 5 million learners benefitted and were able to continue learning.
Dr. Njoki Chege; Director, Innovation Centre-Aga Khan University noted young people lack coaching and mentorship. She encouraged the young people to look for mentors who have walked that path before for guidance on building a sustainable business. She concluded by saying; “It is important to research your target employer and industry, know the future of your industry and invent ways to seal the gaps.” This makes one more employable
Mr. Johnson Ireri Kinyua; The Dean of Students and Director Career Services at The University of Nairobi emphasized on the need for candidates to acquire soft skills. “They are the icing on the cake; we hire for attitude and train on skills” he said. A prospective employee can be molded to be what the company wants you to be. He noted everyone has a problem; both the candidate and the employer. It is the duty of the candidate to ensure that he solves the problem of the employer thereby solving his unemployment problem. It is a give in -give out situation; our candidates are trained to align their skills, attitudes and abilities to the needs of the employer
In the last three years, the Nation Media Group has successfully hosted a series of higher education and career fairs in different towns across the country. Branded NMG Higher Education & Career Fair, the event is a vibrant marketing and networking platform for institutions of higher learning, and an opportunity for prospective students to interact with industry leaders, career advisers and human resource professionals, among other stakeholders.