Monday, October 15, 2007

Kenyans & their degrees-bugbear

Sunny's current article chimes into a bugbear of mine. Quite simply, everywhere I look now Indians are either doing or running all the IT jobs for investment banks  and commercial banks, they are in all the top consulting firms, are starting to appear as CEOs of CFo of FTSe 100 companies (e.g. ArunVodafone) are usually doctors (and rarel;y nurses) in all hospitals and they still run all the corner/grocery/newspaper shops in the UK. Is that ambition or is that ambition? While part of it (the entrepreneurship and intelligence) is in their genes, its also a family thing. Indians mainly do arranged marriages and most families will look for a bachelor who is a doctor/lawyer/accountant/programmer. Yani they crave success built on solid foundations.

So my blood boils when you hear a Kenyan has been sent abroad by parents to study tourism, education, cookery, arts even MBAs. Kenya needs peeps who will create value for the economy. IT, scientists, doctors, engineers. 

5 comments:

Ssembonge said...

Maina,
In my place of work, 1 out of every 2 new hires is an Indian. Most are seasoned/veterans who chose to persevere in colleges with the hope that the wide academic experience/knowledge will get them into the corporate world.

I think they are good at forgoing the little pleasures of life that we wouldn't consider knowing that their pay-off is coming even if it's in their late 30's.

The majority of foreign doctors taking USMLE are from India. Same applies to dentists and pharmacists. The specialised IT support might as well be moved to India.

In banking technology Infosys and I-flex seems to be making big strides. No wonder Equity bank turned to Indian firms for technology.

It's time for Kenyans to start embracing the hard road less travelled if we are to be taken seriously.

Kim said...

A good way to look at it is: Count how many Kenyans graduated with you in High School? Next count how many completed their Bachelors, then Masters. O! how about Doctorates (exclude the fake ones). It's not just completing college but choosing best careers out of it. Career counseling should be mandatory!

MainaT said...

Ssem, many say its makaratasi, but as far as I know, this has usually happened where peeps are doing generic degrees. Most these Indians, you can't even undersatnd their English they that raw.

In your particular field, IT, in engineering, surprisingly even in law (if one is good enough), these guys will make it possible for you to get the papers you need. So part of it is also thinking about unique skillset that you can sell.
And its not just for your own good. Eventually, those skillsets will if you decide to go back home be in very high demand.

MainaT said...

Kim-it starts with parents. Many parents seem to think that because they've worked hard, their kids shouldn't have to struggle. Diamonds are made from extremely high pressure and temparature.
As a parent, you must want the best for their future lives and that can only happen if you help shape their career goals and ambitions.
Then career counselling comes in-for those who maybe confused between being a doctor/lawyer or some other kind of high-flyer.

JaclinM said...

Its quite true about career advise. More time should to go into thinking carefully before one embarks on a degree programme. I think when you hit 30, what you found interesting and hoped to be when you were 20 is world's apart.

A lot of kenyans have papers and are well educated but its a matter of what is marketable. IT, accounting, engineering as tm says can pay off eventually but science considering the input is disappointing, an area I would unfortunately advice the kids to steer clear from.