Survey: Kenyan Students Are More Concerned About Access to Jobs Than Climate Change

Kenyan undergraduate students are more concerned about access to quality jobs than any other country polled. It is the biggest issue Kenyan students feel is facing their generation, chosen by 46% of respondents.

 The second biggest issue is the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer (40%) followed by ensuring every child gets an education (5%).

Only 1% of Kenyan students, however, say climate change is the biggest issue facing their generation, the lowest of any country surveyed.

These findings are among those published today by Chegg.org, the nonprofit arm of education technology company Chegg.

They are based on in-depth opinion polling by Yonder (formerly known as Populus) of nearly 17,000 undergraduate students aged 18-21 years across 21 countries around the world, including 500 students in Kenya.

The Chegg.org Global Student Survey is the most comprehensive up-to-date survey of the lives, hopes and fears of undergraduate students throughout the world in the age of COVID and beyond.

The survey also shows over eight in 10 (84%) Kenyan students feel hopeful about their finances in the future, the highest of all the countries polled alongside China. By comparison, in Japan only 31% of students feel hopeful, the lowest of any country surveyed.

Over nine in 10 (92%) Kenyan students believe they will own their own home before they are 35, the highest of any country polled. By comparison, only 31% of Japanese students believe they will see home ownership by the age of 35, the lowest of all the countries surveyed.

Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters (74%) of Kenyan students say they devoted fewer hours to their studies during the COVID-19 lockdown than before lockdown, more than any other country surveyed.

Kenyan students on average say they only spent 15 hours per week on their studies during lockdown, less than any other country polled apart from Japan (14 hours).

86% of Kenyan students say If it was cheaper, they would prefer their university degree take a shorter amount of time to complete, more than any other country surveyed.

Under three-quarters (74%) of Kenyan students say their university provided online learning resources when it stopped in person teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, amongst the lowest of all the countries surveyed alongside Argentina (80%) and Mexico (78%).

The survey’s global findings show Kenyan students agree with their peers across all 21 countries when it comes to how higher education should embrace online learning.

Around two-thirds (65%) of students across all the surveyed countries say they would rather their university offered the choice of more online learning if it meant paying lower tuition fees.

In all of the 21 countries surveyed, significantly more students would rather their university offered the choice of more online learning if it meant lower fees than students who do not want the choice.

Dan Rosensweig, President and CEO of Chegg, said: “One thing that unites students around the globe is that they have experienced first-hand the greatest disruption to education the world has ever known.

This survey shows the COVID pandemic has laid bare for students that the higher education model needs to be reimagined, shorter, on-demand, personalized and provide scalable support.

Technology and online learning are a permanent part of modern education and should dramatically reduce the cost of learning and make it more skills based.

“When approximately two-thirds of students across the countries surveyed say they would like their university to offer the choice of more online learning if it means paying lower tuition fees, and when over half of students say they would prefer their university course to be shorter, if it was more affordable, we know something has to change.”

Lila Thomas, Chegg’s Director of Social Impact and Head of Chegg.org, said: “Across the world, students have told us loud and clear that the biggest issues facing their generation are access to good quality jobs and growing inequality. Addressing these challenges is more important than ever in the wake of the economic devastation wrought by COVID, and education is the key.”

OTHER KEY FINDINGS – KENYA

In Kenya, only 43% of students say their teachers / professors know how to teach effectively online, the fifth lowest of any country polled after Japan (31%), South Korea (33%), Turkey (39%) and Spain (42%). Meanwhile, 79% of Chinese students say their teachers / professors know how to teach effectively online, the highest of the countries polled.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Kenyan undergraduates have struggled with affording their living costs in the last year. 16% have struggled with food, 39% with rent / mortgage, 37% with utilities and 14% with medical bills.

Over half (55%) of Kenyan students have a debt or loan related to their university studies, the third highest of any country surveyed after the UK (84%) and Australia (67%).

Three-quarters (75%) of Kenyan students feel optimistic, the third highest of any country surveyed after China (82%) and Saudi Arabia (76%). By contrast only 44% feel optimistic in the UK, the lowest of the surveyed countries alongside Italy (47%), Spain (48%), Turkey (48%) and Argentina (49%)

Around a quarter (24%) of Kenyan students say they have received verbal abuse during the period of COVID-19, among the highest of all the countries surveyed alongside the US (22%) and Australia (20%).

KEY FINDINGS – INTERNATIONAL

Around two-thirds (65%) of students across all the surveyed countries say they would rather their university offered the choice of more online learning if it meant paying lower tuition fees.

In all of the 21 countries surveyed, more students would rather their university offered the choice of more online learning if it meant lower fees than students who do not want the choice.

Over half (54%) of students across all the surveyed countries say if it was cheaper, they would prefer their university degree take a shorter amount of time to complete.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, 48% of students across all 21 countries surveyed would like their university course to incorporate more online learning, versus only 34% who would not.

In 14 out of the 21 countries surveyed, there are more students who want their university course to incorporate more online learning post-pandemic than those who do not.

Over half (56%) of students across all 21 surveyed countries say their mental health has suffered during the period of COVID-19. Of these, 3% have attempted to end their own life, 15% have contemplated ending their life, 8% have self-harmed, 17% have sought help for their mental health and 81% say their stress and anxiety have increased.

A third (33%) of all students surveyed do not believe they live in an open and free society that supports diversity, the less fortunate, and gives everyone equal opportunities.

The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and access to good quality jobs, are the two biggest issues students feel are facing their generation, chosen by 27% and 25% of respondents respectively across the 21 countries surveyed. This is followed by climate change (20%), ensuring every child gets an education (8%), war and conflict (7%), healthcare provision (7%), and access to good quality housing (6%).

In all the Latin American countries polled – Brazil, Argentina and Mexico – more students thought their country was a worse place to live compared with five years ago than students who thought it was a better place to live.

In most Asian countries, with the exception of South Korea, more students thought their country was a better place to live compared with five years ago than students who thought it was a worse place to live.

57% of students in Asian countries surveyed thought their country was a better place to live than five years ago compared with 26% in Latin American countries, 29% in European countries and 39% in North American countries surveyed.

The three Latin American countries surveyed, alongside Russia, saw the lowest proportion of students saying their country was a good place to live.

Students in emerging economies were more likely to feel hopeful about their finances in the future than students in developed economies, with China (84%), Kenya (84%) and India (80%) polling highest and Japan (31%), Italy (45%), South Korea (46%) and Spain (50%) polling lowest.

Students in emerging economies are more confident they will own their own home before the age of 35 than students in developed economies, with Kenya (92%), Indonesia (86%), India (84%) and Brazil (78%) polling highest and Japan (31%) and South Korea (39%) polling lowest.

Jobs are the main motivation for students going to university. Across all 21 countries polled, 21% of students say their main motivation was that the specific career they want requires a degree, while 19% say it was to broaden their job prospects.

Another 19% say it was because they are passionate about their subject. Meanwhile, 14% say to increase their earning potential, 7% say they felt they were expected to go, 5% say to experience the social life of a student, 5% to network or meet contacts that might help them in the future, and 4% say there were few job opportunities available, so they chose to continue their studies.

Over half (53%) of students across all countries surveyed have struggled with their living costs in the last year. 23% have struggled with their rent / mortgage, 23% with utility bills, 22% with food, and 16% with medical treatment / services.

Over three in 10 (31%) students across the surveyed countries have a debt or loan related to their university studies. The proportion of students with debt tended to be considerably lower in continental European (11%) and Latin American countries (12%) surveyed compared with the Anglo-Saxon countries (61%).

35% of students who have a debt or loan related to their studies lose sleep over it while 21% say it makes them so anxious they have sought medical help and 38% say it makes them wish they’d made a different choice. Three in 10 (31%) think they will never pay their debt off.

African Eye Report