The burning of academic certificates by a graduate of Mount Kenya University (MKU) sparked a wide range of reactions among Kenyans on June 10th. According to reports, the young man was driven to this extreme act out of frustration after failing to secure a job.
The documents destroyed in the video included the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), and other related papers. This act triggered a mixed response from the public, with some expressing their dismay at the young man’s seemingly irrational behavior in the face of real-life challenges.
Critics argued that since the graduate had only completed his studies in July 2022, it was premature to expect immediate employment, given the prevailing tough economic conditions and high unemployment rate in the country. They also raised concerns about his lack of work experience, as employers often demand evidence of years of experience, accumulated skills, and professional recommendations.
“Is it reasonable for someone to burn their certificates just one year after graduating? Patience is key. Can he handle the pressures of the workplace?” read one comment.
Others blamed the government for fostering an environment that is unfavorable for educated graduates, thereby forcing them into a state of despair. In response, fresh graduates were advised to maintain an open-minded and patient attitude while waiting for employment opportunities.
“University education is meant to broaden your horizons, develop critical thinking skills, and enhance problem-solving abilities,” advised one commentator.
Furthermore, they emphasized the importance of acquiring technical skills that could help graduates pursue their passions and provide for themselves while waiting for suitable job opportunities. However, some skeptics questioned the authenticity of the act, suggesting that the burned certificates may have been mere copies.
“I doubt those are the original certificates. If they are, this individual needs to change their attitude and learn to be patient,” commented one user on Twitter.
On June 2nd, 2023, President William Ruto delivered a speech at the Kenya National Drama Festival State Concert held at State House in Nairobi. During his campaign as the Deputy President in 2021, Ruto had promised to create over four million jobs for the youth if elected President. One of the strategies proposed by the Ruto administration to address unemployment was to empower the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in the country.
“We now have a deliberate, coherent, and credible plan to organize our economy in a way that generates job opportunities for our youth,” Ruto stated on May 21st.
According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the unemployment rate in Kenya decreased to 4.9% between October and December 2022, marking a 0.7 percentage point decline compared to the same period in 2021.