Employer perceptions and attitudes towards agricultural university training in Kenya
Onyango, Cecilia M
Kunyanga, Catherine N
Karanja, Davis N
Wahome, Raphael G
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Agriculture is the backbone of most Sub - Saharan African economies accounting for 40 % of the GDP and 80% employment. Yet agricultural graduates have not been able to “hit the ground running” upon graduation. This study assessed the qua lity of agricultural graduates from Kenyan Universities in terms of relevance to job market demands. A mixed method approach was used to collect data through a personal interview survey and focus group discussions involving 54 public and private organizati ons. Descriptive statistics was used to generate means and frequencies to validate the study hypotheses. Results indicated that employers’ main concern on quality of graduates were poor interpersonal (> 90%), communication (53%), practical (>90%) and chara cter (78%) skills. Further future agriculture will be impacted by competencies in practical skills (56%) and training in contemporary issues like climate change (17%). Success of agricultural production to a large degree depends on the human resources avai lable within the sector. If the quality of university graduates is poor, it negatively affects the entire knowledge chain. This research also has an implication for university administrators and policy makers in training holistic graduates that meet employ ers’ and socio - economic development needs. Integrating job market requirements into university curricula can improve the quality of graduates that directly impact agricultural productivity for economic development and poverty reduction.
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