Why University students don’t turn out to vote

Why University students don’t turn out to vote

Research from the Commission for University Education confirms that recent student participation in an election recorded comparatively low voter turnout.

According to the Commission for University Education (2014), Kenya’s teaching sector has 52 universities, including 22 state-chartered universities,17 private chartered universities, and 13 institutions with interim authority.


Apart from universities and polytechnics, the upper education system has a range of other institutions including government-owned and operated teacher training colleges, scientific and technology institutes, medical schools, trade and agricultural schools which are all subsidized by the government.

The university governance often provides a method and platform for college students to arrange a governance structure that enables them to air their opinions and issues. Despite these, the research from Commission for University Education confirms that recent student participation in an election recorded comparatively low turnout.

The reasons for low turnout range from social, economic to political. The unsupportive social group is the largest threat to youth participation during this modern-day politics.

Research has found that students are comfortable engaging in a variety of activism, which has become a common occurrence in campuses instead of participating in elections. Students see these as a platform to direct their anger and disgust with public sector corruption and poor service among other issues.

Although youth participation has waned over years, they continue to be socially and politically engaged through other means like social media.

They remain actively engaged in various significant processes like service delivery protests, community demonstrations, and protests on university campuses.

The students find political processes frustrating and alienating and fewer likely to yield desired results hence hindering their full, effective participation in electoral processes. Adolescents often feel disempowered by the identical political actors empowering them.

There’s an existence of mistrust between politicians and the younger generation, the youth generally place blame on the social group and see it as accountable for their misfortunes. “Why should I vote for folks that don’t care about my well-being?”, you’ll often get that from adolescents.

The best way to get them to participate in the elections is by engaging future voters that are; hiring young poll managers, expanding the electorate, recruiting youngsters to assist during elections this to them, will mean they’re included, involved, and wanted which might then cause action.

A better approach towards this could be to teach the youth generally through social media outline outreach that is; creating election hashtags, updating elections on websites. This can be mainly because youth participation in online social platforms remains active.

Political parties and electoral bodies must strive to make conditions that allow effective participation of all age groups in politics. Low levels of political engagement don’t necessarily mean that students are completely disengaged from political and civic matters.

The government didn’t give the scholars who are a part of voters a reason to participate in an election. Also, it didn’t drive them to a typical goal hence an occasional turnout during elections. The government should realize the country’s young population has lost faith in political systems and electoral processes and so imply an action.

Purity Mandu is a journalism student at KCA University

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