Broaden debate about mass exam failure
11 months ago, 30 Dec 22:52
The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination results released last week have ignited heated debate, with some people calling for investigation into what they call “mass failure”. Others are concerned that girls seem to have out-shone boys — or that boys’ performance has nose-dived. Debate about performance in national examinations should be encouraged because, if well handled, it can lead to improvement of education and, ultimately, the lives of generations ahead. While discussion about performance at national exams is still hot, it is important to broaden and deepen its scope. Given that technology is a critical catalyst in revolutionising almost every part of our life, more women should be encouraged and supported to study technology courses. TECHNOLOGY Currently, there is a huge gulf between men and women in technology, both in school and in employment. Job statistics show that the world over, women are severely under-represented; they hold only 26 per cent of all tech jobs in the world. Technology is disrupting the status-quo and, in its wake, leaving millions of people jobless as it creates new ones. When technology takes away jobs and creates new ones, only a fraction of those who lose jobs get new ones, partly because they lack the needed skills. In this job loss-gain calculus, the scales tip in favour of men. Globally, for every 20 jobs that are lost in disrupted industries, only one female gets the newly-created jobs. For men, that ratio is a much more favourable one-to-four. CREDIBLE DATA This situation is predicted to be painfully disturbing in developing countries, although credible data to back it up is hard to come by. If the current industry gender gap trends persist and the labour market transformation towards new and emerging roles in technology continues to outpace the rate at which women are currently entering those types of jobs, women are at risk of losing out on emerging best job opportunities. Data on male-to-female ratio for tech-jobs in local companies is unavailable or unreported. If data from global tech-leading companies is a good barometer, the situation is bad enough to call for urgent action. As of 2016, it was reported that 17 per cent of Facebook’s engineering staff were women. Google had 19 per cent and Twitter, 15 per cent. If this trend is not halted, not only do women risk missing out on tomorrow’s next great job opportunities, they also risk a more worrying decline in societal influence. Worse, women will miss the chance to affect the massive economic and social changes the tech disruption will bring. JOBS Many technology jobs require staff to be in the office for long hours and also to be available on a short notice, and sometimes at odd hours. This can be a difficult call for women, especially those with young families. However, this should never be an excuse to deny or discourage young woman from joining the technology train. Employers should find a way to accommodate qualified women in technology jobs. Not only is it good ...
Category: oped opinion