State employees age at work as tech savvy youth waste away

Friday August 14 2020

In government offices, storage methods are still archaic and filing systems have not been updated for decades. FILE PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH


Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989 and in just over 30 years there have been so many improvements on his invention.

For young people, it is hard to imagine a world without the internet when it comes to searching or sharing information.

It is also hard to imagine how people communicated before the internet even in this mobile phone era.

And in recent weeks, Covid-19 has expedited the push toward more advanced technology.

Children have adapted to online classes, and participate in sports and Sunday school lessons via the internet. This means that the young generation adapt more quickly to using technology devices — phones, tablets and laptops. Children today can have friends on social media networks or gaming platforms that they have never met, yet maintain a bond that they consider friendship.

But these friends can be anybody, hiding behind a profile because social media allows one to create a persona, which for older generations is quite difficult to understand. How can you be friends with someone you have never met? Or how does someone have 500 friends or more on a platform?


This is already creating a different kind of future, which will define with their everyday life.

A recent report revealed that out of the 860,000 civil servants in Kenya only 17.4 percent were young people. This is worrying considering that a recent census shows that 75 percent of Kenyans are below the age of 35 years.

How can we get easy access to public information? Can websites be updated regularly?

Technology has made access to information much easier. However, one of the most difficult tasks in the civil society world is getting information from the government. Storage methods are still archaic and filing systems have not been updated for decades. This practice is difficult to change.

And when it comes to large state agencies, bureaucracy makes change ever slow.

With global census showing that developed countries will struggle with dwindling populations, in developing nations it will be the opposite. There will be an increase in population and most governments are unaware of how to handle this massive increase of people.

Unemployment will be a major issue and communicating with these people will be difficult. One thing is for sure, when majority of public servants hardly use a laptop, hence there will be a transitional gap in the future of civil service if measures to attract young people and change operational mechanisms are not considered.

Managing a large workforce can only be assisted by technology, which aging public servants will be forced to adapt.

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa, executive director, Siasa Place @NerimaW