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Youth Skills Development, Informal Employment and the Enabling Environment in Kenya: Trends and Tensions

Author: David Balwanz
Organisation: University of Maryland
Publish Date: 2012
Country: Kenya
Sector: Economic
Method: Creating alternatives
Theme: Employment
Type: Other publication
Language: English
Tags: Unemployment, Youth unemployment, Skills development, Education, Informal sector, Labor force

Youth skills development, poverty and unemployment are prominent global concerns. Pressure to expand post-basic education in countries with low to moderate enrollment and concerns of high youth unemployment have encouraged the development of a “skills for jobs” education reform discourse. The discourse argues that post-basic education focus on skills development with the hypothesis that such a focus will help reduce youth unemployment. Following post-election violence in 2007, promoting youth employment has become an increasingly important policy issue in Kenya. In 2011 nearly 40% of Kenyan youth were neither in school or working, and the informal sector accounts for nearly 80% of jobs. Despite the complex and unclear relationship between education and employment, post-basic education in youth polytechnics and skills development programs have been identified as potential solutions to employability challenges facing Kenya’s youth. This paper identifies some of the possibilities and limitations of these reforms and of the broader “skills for jobs” discourse.”
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