RECARP which stands for RE-asonable CAR-eer Path is a tool that matches high school graduates to suitable college courses based on their KCSE/mock performance inspired by the fact that 80% of students who graduate from tertiary institutions usually switch to new careers that they never studied.
Joe Okatch, the founder says this is a worrying trend in our country because information is not readily available for students in a way that can be used to make the right choices. Therefore, RECARP presents a lot of synthesized college information in a simple way so that decision-making becomes very fast and easy.
“Everyone probably knows a friend or relative who wants to enroll for college, but they are torn amongst multiple course options and are mostly guided by what their friends or relatives studied or are studying in college,” Okatch told TechMoran. “This sets up most people up for failure at a very early stage. Many students in universities and colleges are enrolled for courses just to ‘finish’. Saddest part is, they still have to pay back the student loans at soaring interest rates.”
According to Okatch, jobs and courses are two fundamental challenges that Kenyans face. He strongly believes that people who study courses they want end up living a very successful purposeful lives. However, most students lose direction at the course selection stage. This sets them up for a raging battle to find a job once they graduate. Recarp is simply using a different approach to solve the existing job problem, right at the inception.
At the moment Recarp is focused on helping students get into local tertiary institutions before it thinks of adding an international module.
The platform works simply. A student enters his/her KCSE results then Recarp processes and lists courses matched to the subjects by performance using our algorithms. It takes one a couple days to refine a search to the preferred course including discussing with guardians on the merits and demerits.
Step two, once a student is satisfied with the course they have selected, the platform will show them a computed ‘employment score’ which ranks them against other students across the country using our algorithms. This helps one to keep up with the job market even as he progresses through college.
Finally, the platform offers alternative career paths in case a student cannot decide on their own. For example, if one has a B+, the student is less likely to qualify for a degree such as Computer Science via the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) however much they love it.
”Option one would be to just accept a course I least prefer for instance Bsc. Environmental Science, BA. Geography etc, and accept and move on. Option 2, which we advise, is that I’m better off enrolling in a diploma in Computer Science, spend less time in class and working my way up to a degree. I might spend 1 extra year by the time I get a degree in this path, but I’m are fully set to enjoy my purposeful career, a career I have a say in. We basically provide a reasonable career paths to anyone career,” says Okatch.
Recarp has premium plans for parents and students that want extra information and extra career-paths. Though there are various websites listing courses and colleges, Okatch says Recarp is different from them in many ways.
”We differ in the kind of data we offer to students and parents,” he says. “We only need a students’ KCSE grade, then we’ll do the rest. We go further, we offer alternate career-paths. I feel this is our strongest proposition. Because if I can use this to gauge my ‘employability’ when I graduate from college/university then I know what I improve on before job-hunting begins.”
Away from Recarp, Okatch feels people in Kenya are using tech, ever more keenly and ubiquitously to solve their daily challenges, though much of it remains undocumented arguably because such information does not sell compared to gossip columns.
“I strongly believe small businesses are thriving on tech, and rightly so because I have seen some really awesome products churned out the last couple of years,” Okatch told TechMoran but added that he was leery of how some of them make money.
“On the other hand, I know how hard it is to run a small business, to make the first sale, to raise capital etc. Some businesses do an excellent job in awareness creation but then run out of fuel or poor foresight forces them out of survival. So in this case, it’s pure incompetence and Darwinism, but still counts as hype. I believe one mistake we make is to use stats from developed nations locally not considering that developed markets are a very mature markets, with a higher purchasing power. It takes considerably longer to grow a venture in Kenya and that needs time as much as ten years,” Okatch tells TechMoran.
For hype, Okatch says, on one hand, truth is relative. People believe whatever you tell them because they want to and because we all have inherent biases. Therefore, it’s easy for say, an investor or customer to believe you if you say you have a new and good product and you can show the wrappings of the said product, even if it doesn’t exist yet. Even easier if you interact with the popular and influential who spread the word for you. That he says counts as hype. But he also believes truth asserts itself and DNA does not lie.