USIU-Africa celebrated its 41st commencement over the weekend, with a total of 1,340 graduates across various programs. The graduates included 948 undergraduate students, 373 graduate students, and 19 Doctorate students.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Vice Chancellor noted that the commencement was a testament to the excellence that USIU-Africa has nurtured over the past 50 years, even in the face of increasing challenges in higher education.
“This great fete comes at a time when the higher education sector has been facing increasing challenges over the last couple of years. Globally, challenges such as institutional supply, budget cuts, shortage of qualified faculty, poor institutional governance, poor learning infrastructure and unequal internationalization are increasingly on the rise. These challenges affect the quality of education offered at institutions of higher learning and eventually affects the quality of education,” he said.
“These challenges are not likely to end, and therefore universities must raise their standards and ensure that they adequately prepare the next generation workforce. Failure to address these challenges will be evident in the quality of graduates,” he added.
Numerous reports indicate that university graduates suffer from high levels of unemployment and underemployment, sometimes higher than for primary and secondary graduates. A study conducted by the Federation of Kenya Employers indicated that employers spend between Kshs. 20,000 – Kshs.100, 000 in retraining fresh graduates. A large proportion of this fresh training is centered on work and occupation basics, customer service and basic knowledge about the organization.
With the UN estimating that the number of youth in Africa aged between 15-24 years will be more than 250 million by 2020, the guest speaker, Dr. Vimal Shah, urged the graduands to chart their own paths and become job creators as opposed to job seekers, noting that those who did approach life differently with results visible within a very short time.“The workplace globally is already experiencing significant shifts and economies across the globe must adapt to that change. A majority of jobs being created are in emerging fields, particularly in the IT sector.
According to the World Economic Forum, four specific technological advances—ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet; artificial intelligence; widespread adoption of big data analytics; and cloud technology—are set to dominate the next four years as drivers positively affecting business growth. As more young people continue to enter the job markets, these key areas must innovate in order to stay relevant.
These shifts are going to change how we do business in the next five to ten years and we need to invest in these areas,” said Dr.Shah. He pointed out that disruption and innovation will be the enabler as is evident in the global online hailing taxing Uber, the Kenyan based M-Pesa service, the online store Jumia and lots of other e-commerce and e-service platforms.
To date, the University has graduated over 19,300 students, drawn from 73 nationalities. It is the only university in the region with dual accreditation in Kenya by the Commission for University (CUE) and the United States of America (USA) by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).