Have you ever thought of studying abroad , and if so , what were your reasons ? Last year , I was among the thousands of Kenyan Students who went to take the dreaded SAT. To my surprise , there were so many other students who took the test at my testing center which was at Brookhouse . Other SAT testing centers throughout the country were similarly full to the brim . Before I dig deeper , let me define some terms so that you do not get lost.
SAT is the standard Amplitude Test , offered by an American Testing Company called The College board. It tends to standardize all students throughout the world , in spite of the differences in the education systems. Other standard exams are ACT and IETLS . Many universities abroad , especially those that offer scholarship ( financial aid) and are extremely competitive put so much weight in this standard tests , as they help them weed out the excesses .
Students take so many months in preparation to this tests , as they are often a matter of life and death . Example , if you get anything below 1400/1600 in the SAT , chances of ever attending an American University are dull.
So then , why do Kenyan scholars prefer to go through this intense pressure and hustle . To be more precise , this students are usually the top creme in the Kenya National exams , hence they are assured of the best courses in Kenya universities .
To get some statistics rights , Kenyan students are among the highest in number in various foreign universities. In the US , there are 4000 Kenyan students in the various schools , especially the top liberal Art colleges and the coveted Ivies . Kenya’s number is third in the Sub Saharan Africa , after Nigeria and Ghana . The situation is pretty much in the UK and Australia which are other countries that Kenyan students find homage for their Undergraduate Degrees . So why is this the case wheareas our country has so many institutions of higher learning ?
The first and the major reason is the employment market in Kenya . Trust you me , the employment opportunities in Kenya are so shrinked that only a few graduates find a place in the job market . Majority others are left to wallow in abject distress and poverty . Of course once In a while , you will be accused of not being creative enough to start a business , but a business niche is not for everyone .
Look , most students ,who are smart , but are from a poor backgrounds see the opportunities of studying abroad as a step towards getting out of poverty. For exmple , I have a buddy who just graduated from Harvard with a Degree in Computer science , and right now ,he is already an Engineer at Facebook. While an equally talented graduate in a Kenyan uni , let’s say Jkuat , has no any formal employment. This kind of stories drive smart ass Kenyan students crazy ,and are willing to do anything to get that coveted financial aid and leave Kenya for good . Yes , you are better a successful immigrant , that a suffering native .
The other reason is the quality of University education in Kenya . Let us be honest here , the quality of education offered at our Unis are crap . There is a little difference between the lectures offered for a campus student and those offered to a highschooler . Both are theory rhetorics with little application. Yes , truth hurts , but Kenyan Unis dont train one for the job market , but rather teach . Many students attend classes , but rarely learn . It is this factor , and need for a good Degree that has pushed many serious Kenyan students to pursue education elsewhere. And it is amazing. I have a friend at the University of Columbia , New York , and trust me these guys are taught . Apart from the robust academic system , there is a proper and rigorous extra curriculum schedule , leadership classes , language classes , social interaction skills boosters …and many more. To say the least , a student is moulded into an all rounded person , in body ,and mind . But for us here in Kenya , the school is only concerned with you during the lectures , the exams and the graduation , not forgetting when you are paying fees.
The above factors have continued to push students out of Kenya . This has fuelled up brain drain as most students don’t return back to the country upon graduation. And indeed Wallstreet and silicon valley are full of Kenyans . The runaway students are building up the economies of the already developed worlds .
To give my two cents on the matter , I would advise anyone to run with an opportunity to study abroad . Go for it! And if you get a job over there ,do not come back . Kenyan system does not appreciate talent at all.