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(America): When Slots For Illegals Are Eliminated, America Will Have More Slots For the World's Best, Brightest, and Exceptionally Talented To Immigrate and Renew America.

How should America treat it's illegal immigrants? The Biden pick for Health and Human Services nominee wants illegals to be given Medicaid.

And this is what we think is wrong with American immigration, and one that should be overhauled. Australia for instance, processes Illegals, assylum seekers and refugees in the far off island of Papua New Guinea.

In America meanwhile, illegals are being processed at the border patrol, and it gets even worse, in the Biden administration, assylum seekers will be allowed to travel to the United States as they await the results of their assylum application.

This Biden administration move in championing for illegals, assylum seekers, and refugees has made immigrant caravans all the way from Africa, Honduras, and Haiti begin to travel by foot to the United States border.

When there are so many illegals in America, the burden will be on the American taxpayer to provide them with food stamps and unemployment benefits. Besides, illegal immigrants decrease the slots for the legal immigrants that the United States truly needs. It's why we think that immigration should be overhauled, to increase slots for the best and brightest, and those with exceptional talents that will prepare America for the next phase of growth in the industrial internet of things (IIoT), smart hardware, Fintech, carbon materials, and such fancied fields, which America is struggling to hold on to the global lead.

China and India alone produce two Thirds of the world's PhDs, China has two million engineers. That's what's at stake for America. When the illegals are eliminated, the slots for H1-B Visas, how the most talented foreign workers will be increased ten fold, of course with safeguards so that large businesses cannot use the H1-B Visa as an excuse for paying poor American workers low salaries.

To be black and be a capitalist, and a Republican, is not an anomaly. An incompatibility sort of.

We wish golfing legend Tiger Woods quick recovery in the Los Angeles accident. But here is our proposition regarding the incident.

The next chapter in the American Civil rights movement is the availing of business capital and entrepreneurship to blacks and Latinos. African Americans don't have have to make wealth in their " traditional strong fields" like sports and entertainment".

They can make wealth solving the toughest challenges that plague America and the world. They can wildly be successful creative genius entrepreneurs. The job of diversity and inclusion is supposed to make blacks be included in the former white spaces in powerful jobs, but blacks shouldn't be a tick in the box. An affirmative action hire or elite college admittee. A racial justice issue.

Moreover, the smartest blacks now don't attend historically black Colleges like Howard or Morehouse but now attend the Ivy League and Uber Private colleges like Harvard, Duke, and Yale, then go on to work in Wall Street, representing a brain drain on the African American community when a struggling black business would have needed their talents.

And since small businesses are the primary employers, it means all this black talent that is being lost to Wall Street and Silicon Valley as a diversity and inclusion issue, an affirmative action hire is going to waste in that the kith and kin these bright black youngsters left behind have no businesses to hire them.

And I know Booker T Washington, a Republican by ideology, the first African American to visit the White House, was shamed for acting white when he said that rather than confronting white supremacists directly, blacks should aim for great careers and entrepreneurship. But nothing could be further from the truth.

And another African American leader, Marcus Garvey, said blacks fail because they don't have a capitalistic system that support them. He was wealth shamed for having a publishing company, media house, real estate and a ship which he hoped would transport all black people back to Africa.

But essentially, to be black and to be capitalist shouldn't be an opposite dichotomy. Likewise, to be black and be Republican should also likewise not be an incompatibility. Because where has the freebies of the Democrats taken blacks? They are at the exact same place where the slave emancipation proclamation left them. Someone said the biggest threat of a black is a white liberal, because they act so sweet without really meaning it, and it couldn't be further from the truth.

Social Byte: Is Colorism deep among people of colour?

The simple definition of colorism is that it's where members with a lighter skin among people of color are treated better than their darker skin colleagues of the same race.

Although it's most prevalent in the black race, it's not confined to it alone. An advert in a French billboard paints a successful French parent as one where a successful black male is married to a biracial or light skinned black.

In India, you wouldn't know that half their population is darker skinned from watching Indian Bollywood movies as all the acting gigs go to the light skinned Indians and not the untouchable dark skinned dalites. 

This has of course spawned a lucrative bleaching creams as blacks, especially females want to be light skinned and upgrade their social status. 

Does Writing Really Pay That Much. Can it Be a Full Time Career, Especially in Africa.

The joke is that one of the ways for you to die a poor man or woman for that matter is to take up writing as a full time career. As a weekly columnist for the Star Newspaper in Kenya, the third in the market daily, I got paid $30 per weekly column of 350 words. Granted, one could say that pay is too much for just 350 words. But it is the quality that matters, not the word count. And I knew I had worked on my craft well, and so I felt shortchanged.

Again, I wrote a 12 page educational advertorial pull out for the same Star Newspaper Kenya, I got paid $100, even as they made $50,000 from the same pull out in advertisements.

Coincidentally, one of their former radio girls come come Group Marketing Manager responsible for those advertisements in my pull out is also dabbles up as a motivational speaker and goes around telling young impressionable girls that you have the same 24 hours as me, or as Bill Gates. So, why doesn't she start with paying people their fair dues first?

I had done much research and knew that as a weekly Columnist for the Telegraph, Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister of Britain, was getting $250,000 a year pay, that is $5,000 a week, just for scribbling a few quality words a week.

I also knew of a weekly technology columnist in The Wall Street Journal that got paid a million dollars a year for a weekly column, that is $20,000. I'm interested in that especially because I did Mechanical Engineering for my Bachelors Degree.

So, why doesn't writing pay in Africa. The reason is simply we haven't professionalised the creative scene, that is writers, singers, actors, et al. It is still a buyers market. They set the price. We follow along. And that needs to change if our kind is going to take up writing as a full time career rather than a side hustle.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Actuarial Science degree course- Is it as popular as students imagine it to be?

Actuarial science as a profession has gained increasing prominence among Kenyan students.
Many high performing high school students rank the profession among the most lucrative, alongside medicine and pharmacy. When top KCSE students are interviewed by the media, actuarial science is likely to be on the top of their list. For the regular students, one has to get top marks to be admitted to study the course. For instance, at the weighted cluster point for actuarial science for the past few years has been hovering at around 47.7. Parallel students are however lucky as they can be admitted with a grade as low as a C+.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Do University Parallel students and regular students have a grudge?

The parallel degree programs were first introduced by the University of Nairobi (UON) in 1998 to cater for a growing need in higher education.
The other public Universities quickly followed suit.  Previously, students who had missed out on joining public Universities could only join the few private Universities or universities abroad. The private Universities however did not have some courses which students perceived to be lucrative. Such courses were medicine, law and engineering. On the other hand, going abroad requires extensive financial planning, a feat that many Kenyans find hard to achieve. It is estimated that before the introduction of parallel degree courses, Kenyans were spending about kshs. 16 billion per year on educating their children abroad.

And in deed, the parallel degree programs have provided the much needed funds for Universities. The Universities are now coming up with new buildings, labs, hostels, buses and other equipment. On the other hand, the students who would previously have had their chances of advancement curtailed now have a chance to pursue their degree choices. (If they have money of course).

Friday, 29 July 2011

Radio and TV careers- Why do many young people want them?

A while back, if one asked youngsters what they wanted to pursue in life, they would have mentioned being a doctor, lawyer or engineer as the top career choice.
These days however, the careers that are top on the minds of young people include being a radio presenter or a TV anchor, being a celebrity or being a musician. In a way, ours is a generation that has been shaped by TV and radio and many of us do adore the famous media personalities.

If you ask many young people who their role model is, a media personality is likely to make it to the top of that list. Famous media personalities such as Julie Gichuru, Caroline Mutoko, Maina Kageni, Mwalimu Kinga’gi, Munene Nyagah, Jeff Koinange among others are household names. And some do in deed set the national stage.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Aptitude, Personality and Emotional Intelligence tests- Do they really measure job skills?

These days, many employers administer aptitude tests to job seekers.
The purpose of the aptitude test is two fold. It helps the employer to determine the most qualified person for the job and in the process it helps eliminate many job seekers. This makes the process of recruiting to consume less time and be cheaper.

Many people fear taking the aptitude tests. At their core, the aptitude tests are trying to gauge one’s intelligence. You will be given short multiple choice questions that you must finish in a very short time. The amount of time per question is usually in seconds.

Are the Kenyan degrees harambees?

For those not in the know, one might have heard that to get a degree from a university in Kenya (and elsewhere in the world, then one should learn to work well in teams.). In deed, it is very rare to find a student that just succeeds alone. However, the team work is both good and bad. It can teach one how to work in groups and thereby enhance their communication skills. In companies, one will be required to work in teams and come up with results for the company. And the workplace most of the time tends to punish the lone rangers.
So for instance, one person is good in a certain unit or course and will be expected to teach the rest of the guys about the subject matter.
Naturally, all of us possess different talents and some people will effortlessly execute a task that some others view as difficult.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Second Lower Class Degree Holders- Do they face bad job prospects?

JKUAT University recently had its graduation.
In many such occasions, the events mimic those of weddings. If one got a First Class Honors, they will have the privileged of having all their three names mentioned (Just as it is with the First Class graduates all over Kenyan Universities). The second Upper, Second Lower and Pass degree graduands will just get a mention of their surnames.  

Now, after the graduation, many of the Fresh graduates will be applying for jobs in Kenyan companies.  If one looks at a newspaper job advert, one is likely to see a minimum of an Upper Second Class honors degree. Entry level jobs such as graduate trainees and Management trainees will particularly find this to be a requirement. So what happens to the Second Lower and the Pass graduates? In securing the First job at least, the grades do matter. After that, one’s work experience will speak for itself and many Second Lower class graduates do eventually catch up with their First Class Honors colleagues.      

It is true that one may need to have excess persuasive skills to convince the interview panel that they deserved to be hired. Despite one’s score in the aptitude tests, the class of the degree may put them off unless they have other skills to compensate for their grades in campus. For instance, during the vetting of the Supreme Court Judges, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) questioned Judge Samuel Bosire on his Second Lower credentials. On his defense though, Judge Bosire said that he had lots of experience that was far much valuable than the academic credentials.

However, there are some creative types of Second Lower students who are mostly rebels with a cause. They are usually the campus hustlers, who would be working on their side businesses and other pursuits besides studying. When they spend time in class, their mind is probably thinking of other things and many of such types end up making good entrepreneurs and businessmen. In a way, research shows that there are two types of intelligence. The creative and the analytical intelligence. It is extremely hard for one to possess both forms of intelligence in abundance. Some students who score low grades may actually be very creative and a hiring manager may fail to recruit a talented worker by failing to look beyond the grades. Of course, I would be the first to say that not all students who score Second Lower are creative; some actually may be lazy and may not have cared much about the academic work in Campus. And it takes a keen human resource manager to distinguish between the two groups of students.    

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

First Year in Campus- A make or break Year.

The First Year in Campus, otherwise known as the Freshman year, is known to be a very intriguing year.
Freshers, as First Year students are known, usually shed off their naivety in a very short period of time. So here are a few experiences of what First years are likely to encounter.

The first experience is that unlike high school where one probably waited up to Form three to get serious, In campus, your final graduation mark starts from the minute you do your First CAT. (Continuous assessment Test). In some Universities, the score for First year doesn’t count for much, but it is still is taken into account. For instance, in Moi University, the First Year probably accounts for between 5 to 10% of the Final grade. At University of Nairobi, the First Year mark is also small. At JKUAT, all the years are the same, so you might want to work hard right from the start if you are going to enroll there.
Private Universities mainly use the GPA grading system and so the years(and some courses) might be weighted . The GPA system is just like the one used in KCSE where each mark corresponds to a certain grade. For instance, if you score between 70% and 100% , that would be an A. Public Universities on the other hand use the numerical grading system, where the average mark for the total number of Units is calculated. If you get over 70%, then you have a First Class Honors, If you get between 60 and 69%, then you have a Second Upper Class Honors, a score of between 50 and 59 % is a Second Lower while a score of between 40 and 49% is a Pass grade. So much for explaining the grading system.

Then there is what is known as Gold Rush. This is where the male students will be dumping their third and fourth year girlfriends for the First Year Students. This is viewed as a competition of sorts for the male students and whoever gets the most beautiful Fresher gets the bagging rights. And on the lifestyle front, there are those who will immerse themselves in the Christian Union, there are those who will immerse themselves in the library while others will be party animals. Still, some others will find a balance between different activities. Handling money also proves to be a challenge to some students, since many Freshers have not usually had to be given lots of money to manage on their own. If you went through Campus or are still in campus, you share your experience in the Comment section below.

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Monday, 25 July 2011

So what happens if you get a course that doesn’t interest you?

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.Now, the Joint Admissions board has released a list of 2010 KCSE candidates that will have to revise their courses for the second time. The second revision will take place at the University of Nairobi (UON) Main campus. At this point, some of those going to revise their degree choices for the second time must be feeling that they are getting a raw deal, since they are choosing something that was originally not their first choice. In fact, some might be tempted to skip campus altogether and opt for a middle level college.

However, I wouldn’t advise someone to skip campus entirely just because they didn’t get the course that they so much desired. It is better to get a degree in any discipline that not get a degree at all. And let’s face it, even a majority of those that have chosen their degree choices have done so for so many reasons. One of the reasons could be pressure from parents and society. And even for those that were very sure of the course that they would have wanted to pursue, they may start the course and realize that after all, the course is not as glamorous as it was meant to be.

And quite frankly, the undergraduate degree is just the stepping stone to what one wants to pursue in future. You will get to know your strengths and weaknesses during the four, five or six years as an undergraduate student. Thereafter, you can pursue whichever career matches your talents and interests. Much learning happens in class as outside class. Just the interaction with students from various backgrounds is in itself a great learning experience, sometimes even more than one will ever get to learn in class.

And finally, employers do hire from a variety of courses these days. The skills that the employers are looking for can be acquired from a variety of disciplines. Such skills as communication skills, analytical thinking, problem solving and creativity can be acquired from a variety of courses. What is most important is that one excels in the course that they have selected. For the first job at least, the grades do matter.

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Engineering and Bcom graduates- Who makes a better manager or CEO?

Let’s first state the obvious. A great manager can be from any academic background or discipline.
Having said that, I will just choose to concentrate on the two groups of graduates. Bachelor of commerce graduates, otherwise known as BCOM, and Bachelor of Engineering. Both groups of students have fairly developed analytical skills and it is also true that many managers and CEOs have a background in these two disciplines.

Some examples of CEOs that have a background in BCOM include Linus Gitahi, the Nation Media group CEO, Adan Mohamed, MD of Barclays Bank for East and West Africa. On the other hand, some CEOs who have a background in engineering include Mugo Kibati( a former CEO at East Africa cables and now the Director General of the Kenya Vision 2030, Nation media Group chairman and former CEO Wilfred Kiboro, and Kenya Airways MD Titus Naikuni and Peter Njenga, the CEO of the Nairobi stock exchange.

So, what exactly distinguishes these two groups of managers? By its very nature, engineering tends to be very analytical and long term. That’s why many engineers are sought after by various companies to take up non engineering positions. For instance, in an interview some years ago, the founder of Kameme FM, Rose Kimotho, said that she mostly hired engineers because of their deep conceptual skills. On the other hand, BCOM graduates (mostly Finance and Accounting in this case), have been trained to crunch up the numbers for shareholders. In a nutshell therefore, the very nature of their training prepares them to be short term since various stakeholders want to see results here and now. They may be suited to companies that have already stabilized and all they are needed to provide is stability and continuity. Their ideal management strategy may be cut costs. It doesn’t matter whether workers are retrenched or laid off. CEOs with an engineering background on the other hand thrive in companies that are undergoing rapid growth and need more long term planning.

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Sunday, 24 July 2011

How does a Journalism graduate cope with today’s competitive media industry?

Kiss FM Big Breakfast Presenter Caroline Mutoko.
The journalism profession in Kenya has undergone some major changes in the past decade.Due to the liberalization of the media industry in Kenya, many radio and TV stations opened up. The number of publications that serve various niche audiences have also increased. It is perhaps for this reason that many journalism colleges have sprung up in major towns around the country. Journalism is among the professions that young people love the most to pursue. One of the reasons that the profession is popular among Kenyan youth is that it is considered a glamorous profession. The opportunity to hob nob with public figures, celebrities, being seen on TV everyday, your voice being heard on radio, your article being read in the newspapers is something that many youth relish. The downside is that a mere pursuit of fame can make one to be quite narcissistic.

It comes us no surprise that top journalist rake in a lot of money and are seen driving flashy cars. For the purposes of this article, a news anchor, radio host and writer are all considered journalists. It now appears that for one to join the profession (TV and radio especially), they must have released a song, be a comedian, participated in a celebrity talent search among other similar pursuits. If you need to be hired as a news anchor, then beauty is becoming a strong gauge, and being light skinned can prove to be a great asset if one wants to be a TV anchor.

And the examples are quite telling.
Many of the current TV and radio personalities do not have a background in journalism. For instance, Caroline Mutoko, the no nonsense KISS FM breakfast presenter, has a background in economics. She can however be excused since her employers have invested heavily in her training. Capital FM former owner, Linda Horst, reportedly took her abroad for further grounding in journalism, and when she switched over to Kiss FM, there was a protracted legal battle between Kiss FM and Capital. Eric Omondi, a comedian, is now a presenter at Radio Jambo, Sanaipei Tande was a TPF contestant and she eventually ended up getting a job at Kiss FM. Angela Angwenyi (Easy FM) participated in a  talent search , Jalang’o (Kiss FM) and  Cleopas Awinja( QFM) are comedians. These are just some examples of presenters that do not have a background in journalism.

One of the disadvantages of the profession  is that it is very hard to restrict the barriers of entry. Professions such as medicine and law are closed professions and without a valid certificate, you won’t practice. With the coming of the internet these days, anyone can start their own blogs on areas that they feel they are an expert at. One aspect that can make the profession regain its image is to possibly make it a postgraduate course. For instance, if you wanted to report on health matters, then you would have to pursue a medical related profession before enrolling for a journalism course. But this will only change if the employers are willing to try out new talent. At the moment, the recycling of the news anchors and presenters goes on unabated as if there is no new talent that is coming up. And many journalists across the world are in deed trying to raise the level of journalism to be as respectable as literature; which is considered a cousin to journalism. Hopefully, the state of journalism in the country will change to reflect this perspective. 

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Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) formerly Joint Admission Board (JAB)

The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) was previously the Joint admissions board (JAB).It is the admissions body that conducts the admissions to the public Universities, private universities, and mid level colleges.
So, here’s a small explanation of how the KUCCPS
(formerly the Joint admissions Board ) conducts the admission process. Just after the KCSE results are released, KUCCPS sits and sets the cut off points. The cut off points for the 2013 KCSE candidates was a B for male students and a B- for female students. The lower points for the female students is considered to be some form of affirmative action to increase the number of female students enrolling in universities.

 After the cut off points have been announced, the KUCCPS uses what is known as the weighted cluster points to select the candidates to the various courses. The weighted cluster points is a derivative of the overall aggregate points and the raw cluster points required to pursue a certain course. The raw cluster points are made up of the individual subjects that are required to study for a certain course. For

Weighted Cluster Points.

This is just a small follow up article on the Joint admissions board.
If you had a look at the JAB article elsewhere on this article (then you will probably not need to read this article). The weighted cluster point is an aggregate of the overall aggregate points and the raw cluster points. The overall aggregate points is the points that you get for all the seven subjects taken in KCSE. Of course some candidates do more than the seven subjects but only seven subjects are required for the overall aggregate points. The aggregate points are written on the results slip. For instance, Grade A starts from an aggregate of 81 points.

The raw cluster points on the other hand are the four subjects that are deemed the most crucial for the study of a course. For instance, if one wanted to study electrical engineering, then the raw cluster points would be made up of Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology/ Geography or any of the group subjects. The maximum raw cluster point is 48.

Now, the weighted cluster points are derivative of the overall points and the raw cluster ones. If you scored an overall point of 84 and you got a raw cluster point of 48, then your weighted cluster point will be 48. The weighted cluster points then begin dropping as your overall points and the raw cluster points keep on reducing. Due to the high competition for the limited courses, the weighted cluster points needed to enroll in courses has been increasing over the years. For instance, if one wanted to enroll for a degree of medicine as a regular student, they would have to score a weighted cluster point of about 47.7.

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Why the craze for the MBA degree?

The competition for the best jobs in Kenya has gotten increasingly tight.
Many employees are doing everything possible to ensure that they rise to the top and hopefully occupy the CEO’s corner office. The journey to the top is certainly not for the faint hearted. There are so many strategies that workers are using to get to the top.

One such strategy is going for additional academic qualifications. When you look at a job advert in a newspaper, most state that a candidate must have a bachelors degree. If it is an entry level job, then you can be sure that most employers will insist on a second upper bachelors degree. What is stated on the job advert is simply the minimum qualification. However, it is a fact that far many people apply for any one position. The hiring manager will then look at the next thing to use to sieve off the applicants. Those with higher academic qualifications will then be given a preference to those that don’t have the academic qualification. A masters degree then becomes an added advantage and it is now easy to see why many workers have gone back to school.

The MBA( Masters Of Business Administration) is easily the most popular postgraduate degree.Many business schools in Kenyan Universities certainly make lots of money from the MBA students. The MBA is  popular since anyone that has an undergraduate degree can pursue it. It was originally intended to prepare junior level workers for positions in senior management. It gives a general management grounding. In deed, many Kenyan companies have used the possession of the MBA degree as the sole criteria to use for promotion up the academic ladder. And in deed, in some cases, experience is thrown out of the window in favor of the MBA degree.

However, human resource professionals wonder whether the MBA degree really transforms one from an average worker to a superstar one. True, it inculcates in one some knowledge of finance, HR, strategic management and planning. However, can such qualities as flare for strategic decision making, creativity, motivation and snap decision making under pressure really be taught? Perhaps, this whole debate points out to the age old question of whether great managers (leaders) are born or made.

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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Do Companies have time for interns?

In almost every course in a Kenyan University, one is supposed to go for internship during the course of the study.
Some call it attachment, but it nevertheless refers to the same thing. The year in which a student goes for internship varies depending on the course. For instance, many students pursuing Bachelor of Commerce and IT go for theirs at the end of the third year. Engineering students on the other hand go for theirs during the end of the third and the fourth year. The period of the attachment is between eight and twelve weeks. So, the Kenyan Campus students really learn anything during this time?

But do the Kenyan companies really have time for the interns.Do the workers in a company appreciate the role of interns? Or are they merely used as the helping hands in an organization? Some workers do automatically state that they have no time for interns. They view the interns as being a drain on their time and energy. Some others are happy, knowing that they now have somebody running the errands. N deed, there have been tales of students whose job description was to be sent for airtime, buy newspaper for the boss and fill in the diary besides other errands. So, how can an intern make best of that period?
For instance, you might want to pitch to the boss new projects that you think will be beneficial to the department and the overall company. So, here are a few things to do.

1. Take Charge.
Make the boss’s life easier and figure a way to help them implement a project. Show how you could fit in a specific role and be ready to it the ground running on a particular task. Showing the manager what you can specifically do is most often a better line than saying that “I’m excited to learn and do whatever you ask me to do”.

2. Use your strengths.
Since you are more savvy in technology than many of your managers, you could suggest a plan to help the company use social media to market themselves, or promote their brands.

3. Be strategic.
For instance, if John is your manager, you could approach him and say.
"John , I want to be as helpful as possible so I've thought about a few areas where I can jump in and help out. Would you like me to start pulling together materials for next week's meeting, compile results from last week's polling data, or do more research on the data?”

Then suggest to the boss two or three ideas that you could help o. The manager may agree with you or pursue an entirely different strategy. But he will surely involve you in the new project.

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How does one spend the gap year before joining Campus?

Many high school students look forward to finishing school so that they can be finally free and get to explore the world.
The freedom that beckons after school is something that many of them relish. However, soon after finishing school, they find that they have too much time on their hands. Since the double intake strategy is yet to be implemented by our Universities, many students usually stay at home for close to two years before joining campus.

During this time, if one doesn’t have anything to do, they may be bored to death. Some parents are very forward looking and devise strategy to ensure their young adult child is fully occupied. Some do enroll in computer, French and Foreign language classes. Some others spend time running their parents businesses and in the process they get to learn great business skills. If one doesn’t have anything to do, then watching TV in the sitting room may be a favorite pastime and in some cases, this may run into conflict with their parents. Regardless of what one does, being idle is a definite no no.  

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Friday, 22 July 2011

JKUAT graduation- How does a fresh graduate step out into the world?

Next week, JKUAT is holding its graduation ceremony.
The graduation will take place on 28th and 29th July. This in itself shows that the number of graduates from JKUAT has been increasing at a rapid rate. JKUAT was formally recognized as a fully fledged University in 1994. Right now, the fresh graduates to be are organizing events and parties to commemorate the occasion. 

It helps to remember that graduation is just the end of one step of life and the beginning of another. Many graduates will look back at the number of years they have toiled and thank God that they may it this far. However, some of the graduates will soon forget everything about education and their only contact with knowledge will be through newspapers and magazines. Perhaps, this is why the US Universities use the name commencement instead of graduation. For the difference in the names is revealing. Graduation looks backward, recognizing the work that one has already completed, while commencement looks forward to the adult life that one is now about to step into.

During this time, the graduates will be catching up on who has the hottest job and who is luckiest among the lot. Naturally, if someone hasn’t gotten something to do yet, they begin feeling insecure. It also helps to remember that this is probably the last pocket money that one will get from the parents. If you ask for any money from the parents right now, they will willingly give it to you. However, immediately after the graduation, the parents will have expected that you start sorting yourself out. The unrealistic expectations that many graduates had of working only in blue chip multinational companies will in due course in time are replaced by the need to survive and pay the bills. Therefore, many people actually do not get to choose the first job, they merely pick a job that will help them pay the bills and hopefully make a career out of it. 

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Thursday, 21 July 2011

How do Campus students make the extra shilling?

Going into campus is a life changing experience for many. Many people do come out of campus changed in one or another.
When one graduates from a Kenyan Campus, many do end up as rounded individuals unless they of course spent their whole day in the library. There are also many other groups of students. There are obvious party animals and those that literally spent their whole time in the Christian Union (CU).

One way in which campus students have learnt to adapt is how to make the extra shilling. In common slang, this is known as hustling. When the Helb enters the bank account, many students do celebrate. However, within a few weeks, many students do find that bank account balance is approaching zero at a very first rate. Some students also use the Helb money to settle fees arrears and after that they are not left with a lot of money.  

One way that many students survive is to use their rooms for photocopy, printing and selling other stationeries. Such students do bring their relatives from home to help in the running of business when they have class sessions to attend. The room is usually so squeezed that you will wonder how many student customers fit in the room. The students make a killing when exams are approaching and students need to have notes and assignments printed and photocopied.

Running of campus shops is also a favorite investment decision for many students. However, this sometimes requires that one is connected to the student leadership. Once you get a license to operate the shop, then you are almost guaranteed of business since students usually have a way of finding money. Equally, almost all students shop inside the campus. 

Of course, the students that do manage to run side hustles are awash with money and usually attract girlfriends like bees to honey. The only other group of students that manages to attract attention are the student leaders. If one goes broke, then they can always cook in the room and have to do with the constant meal of Ugali, Sukuma Wiki and avocado (USA). Some students will also bring maize flour from home in a bid to cut costs and survive the long campus weeks. Some of the businesses churned out of campus do manage to become fully fledged businesses outside. For instance, Zetech College was started at the University of Nairobi dorm rooms and it is now almost becoming a University.
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Scholarships- How can Kenyans obtain them?

Just a brief interaction with many Kenyan students and one of the many questions that pops out is how to obtain a scholarship.
True, there are thousands of scholarships out there although many people do not know of the scholarship opportunities available. In this article, we’ll explain scholarships in both Kenyan Universities and scholarships abroad. Unfortunately, we haven’t as yet profiled the scholarships available in middle level colleges.

Scholarships in Kenyan Universities.
Obtaining a scholarship to a Kenyan University may be a hard task in deed. First, nearly all government sponsored students are on some form of scholarship from the Kenyan government. One can also apply for a bursary from the Higher education loans helb (Helb). This is in addition to the loans that Helb usually advances to the University students. While the helb loan has to be repaid back, the bursary doesn’t have to be repaid back. These days, even students enrolled in the parallel degree programs and Private Universities can also apply for the Helb loans.

The rattansi fund also gives out bursaries to needy students. Another scholarship source is the USAID scholarship that usually sponsors a student for the whole undergraduate duration. World Vision is also a reliable source of scholarship. The EABL/ Guinness foundation scholarship can also be applied for. The scholarship covers the tuition fee for the whole undergraduate years. You will however need to study for certain courses in order to be given the scholarship. The degree choices are; Bachelor of commerce, Bachelor of business information technology and bachelor of information technology which are tenable at Strathmore University. You can also pursue a five year bachelor of engineering scholarship and a bachelor of Food Science scholarship tenable at a Kenyan Public University.

Scholarships offered in Universities abroad.
There are many scholarships offered in Universities abroad. For instance, the Ivy League Universities in the US are known to offer generous scholarships to students. You will however need to have outstanding grades or have some athletic, sports or extra curricular talent. In many of the elite Universities in the US, you will not be charged any fees if your family receives an income of less than $60,000 per year.( Less than kshs.400,000 per month.). At Yale University for example, you even get an air ticket to and fro home once per year. The elite Universities in which one can obtain a full scholarship includes Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Smith college (women’s only college), mount Holyoke college( women’s only college), Williams College, Middlebury college, Vanderbilt, Swarthmore College, Duke, Xavier University, Rice University etc. You will also need to complete the steps needed to be accepted into these Universities. For instance, some of the steps include submitting the results of the SAT exam, the TOEFL exam, completing the online application process, submitting the teacher’s recommendations and submitting the application essays. It is actually easier to obtain an undergraduate and a PhD scholarship than to obtain masters scholarship.
One can also apply for scholarships in some other Universities as Ritsuimekan Asia pacific University in Japan, which offers a 100% tuition reduction scholarship to deserving students, the Chevening scholarship for masters students wishing to study in the UK, the Rhodes scholarship for masters students wishing to study at Oxford University.
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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Why do employers love good grades?

You always see it on the newspaper job adverts. “A minimum of Second Class Honors Upper Division needed.”
So why are employers so fixated on good grades? Does having good grades automatically mean that one is a star performer? Does the countless number of As in the transcript indicate that one is going to perform beyond expectations. Isn’t this the reason why many University students will do anything in order to get an A in a certain unit or course? Cheating or hiding the mwakenya on the thighs, biro, window, inside the answer sheet are just some of the tricks that the students use to get around the system.

When one is a fresh graduate from University, there is not much that an employer can use to measure their skills apart from the grades. Good grades indicate that the job applicant is brilliant, and can be a hard worker. Because, lets face it, there are countless things that a person could do in campus rather than going to the library. Essentially, those who scored second Lower and Pass grades are somewhat disadvantaged when applying for the first job. However, many do quickly recover and enroll for additional courses that help to offset for their seemingly weak grades. In fact, for some unknown reason, many average performers in campus end up occupying plum positions in companies. The ones who got a First class Honors probably end up being too comfortable and in the process end up being complacent.
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Bachelor of Commerce degree – Why is it among the most popular courses in Kenyan Universities?

As soon as a college expands to University status, the first course that the college offers is usually the bachelor of Commerce degree.
The other popular course is the bachelor of Information technology. As the business landscape throughout the world keeps on changing, many Universities have merged the two courses. For instance, JKUAT offers a course on Business Information technology (BBIT), while other Universities offer the Business Information systems course.

Bachelor of Commerce (BCOM), is popular due to a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that every company is first and foremost a business. The business has a profit motive and this doesn’t matter whether it’s a manufacturing outfit, medical or a hospitality company. BCOM essentially enables a graduate to pursue such careers as marketing, accountancy, financial analyst, investment banking, and other related careers.

In many Universities, one will pursue a general course in the first two years. You will get to learn skills on abroad range of the above topics. In the next two years, you will specialize in marketing, finance, accounting, and other related careers. In some Universities, you can pursue the program without ever taking a long holiday, only a week between the semesters. If you pursue such a type of program, you are likely to spend just two years pursuing the course. It also helps for someone to pursue some other related professional courses such as CPA (certified public accountant), ACCA, CPS (certified public secretary), CFA (Certified Financial analyst) etc.

The fee charged by the universities vastly differs. If you enroll for the regular program, you will just pay the fee that regular students are charged. This can be anywhere between kshs. 27,000 and kshs. 60,000 per academic year. The parallel degree courses cost about Kshs. 120,000 per academic year. The fee in private Universities may be anywhere between kshs. 100,000 per academic year to kshs. 300,000 per academic year.
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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How does one select a course to pursue in University?

Going to College or University is one of the greatest investments that one will ever make.
The freedom to make choices, the opportunity to work and set one’s timetable is something that many young people cherish. Many young people also long for the day that they will get out of their parents watch and make their own decisions. And of course we cannot also fail to mention that some young people view college as an opportunity for endless partying. And it is true to some extent. In short, a na├»ve young person usually goes to university and after four years, most will have changed. Some for the better while others for the worse.

Anyway, so what should one look for when selecting a course to pursue in University. One of the things that is most important to select a course that matches your personality and interests. If you are an in doors person for example, courses such as accounting, will be a good fit, since you can stay behind a desk for long hours before getting bored. If you want to pursue engineering, then you should enjoy dismantling and assembling objects, and also have great conceptual skills. You should also take into account your abilities. For instance, if you are not good in math, then it makes no sense to pursue a career in accounting or engineering.

If however, you do land a course that was not what you had wished for, it is advisable to just take up the opportunity. After all, half a loaf is better than none. In fact, many young people do not have an idea of what the depth of the course they are going to pursue. It is only when in college that many of them begin to know their strengths and weaknesses. Besides, these days, many employers hire from a variety of courses. The skills that many employers look for can be acquired from many disciplines. The skills that many employers are interested in include problem solving skills, analytical skills, creativity, and the ability to work under pressure. These skills can be acquired from a variety of courses. And besides, one can always use the first degree as a stepping stone to pursue something that they have always wished to pursue. This information is as true as for those who are admitted through the Joint admissions board and the students admitted through the parallel program and Private University students. 
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Friday, 15 July 2011

Kenya/Africa losing its best and brightest brains-Why?

Zambian economist, Dr. Dambisa Moyo
There are many African professionals that work outside their home countries. The World Bank estimates that about 30,000 African PhD holders work outside the continent. The reasons why such brains leave are many. One of the reasons is the low pay and working conditions in most sub Saharan African countries. Many nurses, teachers and doctors earn pitifully low salaries that make them want to explore options outside their home countries. It is for example, estimated that there are more Malawi doctors in Manchester than in Malawi.  Proponents of brain drain argue that such professionals bring back foreign exchange to their countries of origin. The money remittances that they send home helps to kick start economic activities at home. Remittances in deed act as the chief foreign exchange for many African countries. It is however never acknowledged that much of the remittance is used for consumption and not for productive economic development. Additionally, those left behind are likely to be dependent. Just like aid, remittances serve to make the recipients non-proactive.  In her book, Dead Aid and why there is a new way for Africa, Zambian economist Dr. Dambisa Moyo argues against such aid, which she believes forestalls development in the continent.
Some small brain drain should in deed be encouraged. Since the African professionals will have been exposed to the outside world, they tend to come back with new perspective.  Some African professionals have in deed
Patrick Awuah, Founder of Ashesi University in Ghana
come back home and set up worthwhile ventures. One such example is Mr. Patrick Awuah, who founded Ashesi University in Ghana. While still a teenager, he won a full scholarship to pursue studies at Swarthmore College, an exclusive private College in the US. He went on to work for Microsoft and was one of the thousands of multi 
millionaires churned out by Microsoft. Afterwards, he enrolled for an
MBA degree at the Haas Business School of University of California, Berkeley. Using his capital and that of fellow partners at Microsoft, he was able to found Ashesi University in Ghana, with a start up capital of about half a million dollars. The College now attracts some of the sharpest minds in West Africa and beyond. Recently, the University opened up a state of the art campus in Africa.
Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX)
Another returnee, Ethiopian Eleni Gebre-Medhin, holds a PhD in Applied Economics from Stanford University. She worked for the World Bank, and the International Food research Policy in Washington.  She returned in Ethiopian to help found the Ethiopian commodity exchange (ECX) in 2004.
It’s a first of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa. The Commodity exchange acts as an exchange of sorts for agricultural produce. Modeled after the Chicago mercantile exchange, farmers use their produce as a store of value, and in some way dictate the price at which they are willing to sell their produce.Farmers are now able to get a better return of investment for their produce. Of course, their have been critics, with some alleging that the exchange is being used by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to hold a grip on the farmers.As the above two examples demonstrate, expertise is what really Africa needs, and not the remittances. For even a trillion dollars poured into Africa would amount to nothing without any intrinsic value.
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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Will Kenyan techies create a silicon savanna?

The silicon savanna, was a headline in one of the articles appearing in the Time
Magazine on June 30. The article basically asked if Kenya was on the brink of a technological revolution, akin to the Silicon Valley one. The article pointed out several factors for this assertion.
For instance, when Google was looking for a headquarters for its operations in Africa, it didn’t go to South Africa, Africa’s economic powerhouse. It instead came to Nairobi, Kenya to set up its shop. Similarly, when the world’s superpower was looking for a solution to the Haiti earth quake disaster, it used ushahidi, a disaster monitoring website. Similarly, M-PESA, the mobile money transfer service was first unveiled in Kenya by Safaricom and Vodafone.
The mobile revolution in Africa has caught many analysts by surprise. In Kenya, there are about twenty million phone subscribers. In fact, Safaricom, the most profitable company in East Africa is a mobile service provider.

It dethroned such firms as EABL and Bamburi as the most valued company at the Nairobi Stock exchange. It is now valued at about 3 billion dollars. And just last week, the government unveiled an internet portal, which will make government information available to ordinary Kenyans. It may be too early to celebrate, but the signs are already there.
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Monday, 11 July 2011

Strathmore Business School ranked best business school in Kenya.

Strathmore Business School
Strathmore Business School has been ranked the best business school in Kenya and the third best in Africa, by the africabusinessreview magazine. This is a major achievement for a school that was started just some five years ago. The business school has cut a niche for itself in the executive business education where it has invited some prominent personalities in business and academia to give executive business talks. University of Nairobi business school as well as USIU business School also made it to the list of the top ten business schools in Africa. According to the magazine, the top ten business schools in Africa are:
1. University of Cape Town
2. The American University in Cairo
3. Strathmore Business School
4. The University of Nairobi
5. The University of Dar es Salaam
6. The United States International University
6. The Management College of Southern Africa
8. The American University in Cairo
9. Universityof Stellenbosch
10. Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)

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Sunday, 10 July 2011

University double intake- Will it give regular students an advantage?

Egerton University, which hopes to implement a double intake in future.
Many 2010 KCSE candidates have been asking whether a double intake is going to be implemented this year. The suggestion of the double intake has been fronted for several years now. Currently, KCSE candidates stay at home for close to two years before they enroll for their degree choices. This of course applies if one is going to enroll in the regular/government sponsored program. If you enroll for parallel degree courses, you can join the University as soon as the KCSE results have been released. Many students are indeed joining campuses right after the release of the KCSE results. Some institutions will even offer one a conditional acceptance provided they did well in the Form four mock exams.
By the time the regular students are joining campus, their former classmates who are pursuing parallel courses are now one or two years into their studies. Furthermore, some Universities such as JKUAT allow for parallel students to enroll for a program without taking any holiday off. For instance, students pursuing the IT and BCOM courses just take a week off between their semesters. Such students will be through with their studies in just two years. This is the time that the regular students will have taken before joining the University. Now factor in the issue of strikes and you see that the regular students are at a real disadvantage. In most of the public Universities, the parallel students continue with their studies even as the rest of the students go home. Hopefully, the double in take will be implemented even though the underlying concerns of each of the stakeholders must be taken into perspective.
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Kenya’s economy shifting to the service sector-Why?

Safaricom, East Africa's most profitable company.
According to recent media reports, the economy of Kenya is shifting towards the service sector. The service sector is now the key driver for jobs as opposed to manufacturing and the agricultural sector. This trend has been on going for some time now. For instance, the telecommunications sector has really grown. There are now about 20 million mobile phone subscribers. In an article on June 30, Time Magazine described Kenya as the ‘Silicon Savanna’. This is simply because of the innovations spewing out of Kenya. Chief among such innovations is MPESA, the mobile money transfer platform that was pioneered in Kenya by safaricom and Vodafone.

It is a fact that one will have to be truly innovative to compete with imports from China. The imports are very cheap and a manufacturer will have to be very savvy to compete with them. The agricultural sector on the other hand has simply been neglected. Young Kenyans view agriculture as not been cool enough, and even students pursuing the subject in University do not want to dirty their hands.
Even though the service sector is in deed growing at a rapid pace, many countries have used manufacturing and agriculture as the stepping stone to prosperity. A factory in a town certainly creates hundreds if not thousands of jobs in the area. Even those who are not highly educated can get a job as wheel barrow pushers, carrying loads etc. However, the service sector mostly favors the highly skilled employees. What is a standard eight drop out going to do at safaricom? Even as the service sector is continues to explode, manufacturing and agriculture should not be left behind.
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