Education stakeholders want students trained in entrepreneurial skills

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Players in the education sector have underscored the need to train students in entrepreneurial skills in line with the government’s quest to produce job creators rather than job seekers to bridge the youth unemployment gap.

Stakeholders from the sector including officials from the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) convened at a workshop to deliberate on prospects of incorporating the Wavumbuzi- an educational concept and entrepreneurship skill for aspiring high school learners.

A statement to newsrooms indicates that this comes ahead of a follow-up session that will bring together key stakeholders in the Kenyan education sector to forge the way for better institutionalizing Wavumbuzi in secondary and high schools in the 2024 academic calendar and beyond.

The workshop dubbed “Substantive Ecosystem Contribution through Capacity Enhancement of Quest Development” was characterized by intense brainstorming and in-depth discussions into the different upcoming thematic areas – referred to as Quests – within the next edition of the Wavumbuzi Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Speaking during the session, Dr. Roselyn Marandu-Kareithi, Wavumbuzi’s Kenya Country Lead said that the workshop signifies a pivotal moment in the journey to redefine and reshape entrepreneurial education for learners.

“Can you imagine an Africa where young people and their communities understand the importance of being an entrepreneur and know that being employed in the future is not the only option?” She posed. “That is what Wavumbuzi is all about; it contributes to all these dreams and targets being actualized.”

She noted that the collective brainpower and expertise present during the session gave valuable insights that promise to drive the Wavumbuzi mission forward of being a sustainable intervention for young people in Kenya.

Dr. Kareithi added: “Wavumbuzi is dedicated to a long-term vision of intentionally preparing our young people, from an early age, to be problem solvers, and value creators, and to inspire them to become job creators instead of job seekers.

To realize this vision, we have developed what we call “Quests” – thematic areas in emerging fields of the future,” she said. “Various entrepreneurial competencies are embedded in each Quest and are designed to stimulate thinking about potential opportunities in these thematic areas, fostering entrepreneurial mindset and aspiration within secondary/ high school learners throughout the country.”

Wavumbuzi Entrepreneurship Challenge has recently seen a significant increase in the number of schools participating with the latest edition having 973 schools from the previous 254. More than 20,300 learners registered for the Challenge and the Challenge submission increased to 531,000 from up 113,000 in the previous edition.

For the very first time, learners from grade seven in Junior Secondary School (JSS) also participated, and more differently-abled learners also participated. This is thanks to the partnership with the Ministry of Education, where in Wavumbuzi was authorized to roll out the Entrepreneurship Challenge nationally.

According to Njoki Riguga, the Wavumbuzi Program Manager, Wavumbuzi seeks to recognize and celebrate the outstanding performance of secondary/ high school learners, teachers, schools, and counties. She notes that since its inception, Wavumbuzi has expanded to incorporate Wavumbuzi Clubs in schools and mentoring top learners, over and above the commonly known Wavumbuzi Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The entrepreneurship challenge is a free annual six-week online Entrepreneurship Challenge that focuses on developing the entrepreneurial mindsets and aspirations of secondary/ high school learners across Kenya.

Learners are introduced to key concepts through a series of challenges and activities, allowing them to engage with community issues, think critically, and propose solutions.

“Next year we are looking at two things; In the first term, we will have learners engaging in a service learning activity whereby they will collaborate and practically solve a problem in their society, while in the second term, the next edition of the six weeks online Challenge will run. This is open to all secondary/high schools in the country,” she has said.

Wavumbuzi aims to build the entrepreneurial aspirations of 1,000,000 young people in Eastern Africa by 2030. It is a pipeline-building program of the Jasiri High-Impact Entrepreneurship Program; a sister program to Wavumbuzi.

“I recommend other schools take part very strongly in this program because it complements the curriculum as well as what the government’s trying to do with getting people to take the initiative to become entrepreneurs and create jobs for themselves rather than seek for employment,” she said.

The workshop delved into a comprehensive overview of the Wavumbuzi Club structure and goals, integration of real-world challenges into the learning process, and coming up with a detailed roadmap detailing the next steps and strategies for the Wavumbuzi.

The culmination of the workshop marked the beginning of an enhanced phase of Wavumbuzi – that is Wavumbuzi Clubs in Term I wherein secondary/high school learners will collaborate to solve a problem in their community through a Community Service Learning Activity; and in Term II, the next Wavumbuzi, Edition 5; and finally at the end of Term III, monitoring of the top performing learners – with all participants looking forward to its promising future.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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