University graduates are not clerks

Universities all over the world do not produce clerks, carpenters or tailors but they produce graduates of sound academic grounding in their various fields of specialization. The university in other words is “the foundation of knowledge”. Higher level academicians such as Michael Porter, the famous Havard Universitu professor, for instance have always created knowledge which others have used in life.

Others include Fahy (2000) Resource-based view Theory and Peters et al (1982). With their Human- Resources based theory all such theories have continued to shape the field of Strategic Management in organizations today.

According to Professor Barret (1997), “a university is not a trade school for the production of plumbers”. According to the good old professor, legal education is a good model where both academic study is recognized in addition to vocational training, all taken as separate stages on the route to professional qualification.”

In my own view and experience universities and middle level colleges for training technicians should co-exist so that manufacturinh companies in their day-to-day activities can have a rich choice of staff to successfully complete a given project or operation as engineers or managerd do not work alone. They require the back up of middle-level manpower to accomplish specific tasks. Whereas artisans (certificatr holders) are expected to have almost hundred percent practical skills with little or no theoru at all, engineers and managers are expected to have a global understanding of all aspects of the job meaning they should be rich in theory. In some cases, however, managers may have the practical skills to some extent.

In conclusion, the universities existence in their own ivory towers is a myth. What is required is for industry and the widet society to clearly understand the role of universities as fountains ablnd creators of knowledge. More so industry should move closer to academia and strive to make use of the various research findings authored by respected scholars from the academic world. In so doing the findings by these researchers will become useful to industry to boost both their commercial viability including uplifting the economic standards of the Citizenry.

Industry should also sponsor research projects proposed by members of the academic community in a kind of private-public partnership arrangement in order to benefit both parties in this mutual relationship.

There is urgent need for these scholars in academia to share their ideas with a wider audience including making use of the print media from time to time. This is in addition to what they have been doing by publishing the papers in refereed journals which may not capture the interest of all the stakeholders.

The Government of Kenya’s recent initiative to increase funding and enrolment in the middle level colleges is also the best way of increasing the number of middle level manpowerin thw country. This is because the job market requires more technicians than engineers or managers. The flipside of this is that the Ministry of Education needs to increase not only the research funding to the universities but also to provide adequate learning resources in the universities including the teaching staff component which is either over-utilized at low pay or no pay at all.

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