“Certificates of Doom”: Where Do You Stand?

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February 4, 2015

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Photo credit: Niaje

Photo credit: Niaje

While the phrase “Certificates of Doom” may not have meant much to you when you woke up this past Sunday morning, but by the end of the day, it carried the weight of hard proof that Kenya’s education systems are flawed. An expose airing Sunday night with a follow up on Monday saw NTV’s Dennis Okari reveal the alleged rot and corruption in a local Aviation College’s issuing of degrees. “Students” who had never attended a single aviation class at the institution, and in some cases had dropped out of primary or secondary school years before, received certificates in such delicate matters as aeronautical engineering for a nominal fee of even KES.3,000. Naturally, the footage is free to view online here.

Since airing the first part of the expose, students of the college in Nairobi have made their displeasure known in protests that included an impromptu redecoration of the Nation Media Group offices, which were pelted with stones as the protesters allegedly chanted Okari’s name. Students in the Kisumu campus have since boycotted their classes, citing that the administration had so far done nothing to allay fears that their hard work in school would be negated by assumptions that their own certificates were bought and paid for as well. While senior officials in the school have since come out to decry the investigative piece as a witch-hunt, Kenyans’ reactions have been largely homogeneous: shock, horror, disappointment and anger that such fraudsters have been let to continue tainting the job market with sub-par “graduates” and exploit innocent parents and students caught in the crossfire.

For us in the logistics industry, the matter of education and legitimate certification is just as important and unavoidable as in any other line of business. Aside from specialized qualifications such as those offered by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, there are also more mainstream approaches to logistics certifications, such as the locally available Bachelor of Commerce, Procurement and Supply Chain or Logistics Management.

Photo credit: Working Voices

Photo credit: Working Voices

Of course, white collar employees in your logistics empire are required to have basic qualifications that differ from company to company. Some of us ask for degree holders, others diploma graduates and others simply require proficiency in computer skills and certifications to prove the same. Certainly at every level of the business, there are positions for each of these, provided of course, they weren’t purchased in a dark corridor of the city.

Employers concerned with the wellbeing of their staff can also put measures in place to help them grow and develop academically. This can be as simple as making it easy for staff to take time off for exams, and offering in-house training programs or as invested as providing education loans or offering to pay for gifted employees to get to the next educational level in return for a specific commitment to the company.

All in all, this scandal, no matter how it plays out is a sad reflection of a reality on the ground that affects us an industry and the country as a whole by stunting our workforce and reducing employer trust in local graduates. Where do you stand on this debate?

Wishing you all an honest week.


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