Opinion: New curriculum not a solution to Kenya’s education problems

Opinion: New curriculum not a solution to Kenya's education problems

Third, the tragedy of our graduates, is that of a majority of our learners in elementary school having to contend with deplorable learning conditions.

When many learners with huge potential of inventiveness and innovativeness, have severely limited access to career guidance resources, and to art, science and technical laboratories to nurture their talents.

We will continue losing it when our high school graduates, have to rash at the last minute to fill college placement forms with no clear direction on what they were meant to be.

One would argue that CBC is meant to address this issue. But that would be an economic overkill. You do not need an overhaul of an education system to address this issue. CBC will not automatically address these.

Address these by equipping all elementary schools with qualified teachers who are also qualified career counsellors. Equip all schools with art, craft, design, computer and other technical laboratories and theatres.

Fourth, the tragedy of our graduates, is a tragedy of the teaching profession in Kenya remaining perceived as a third class career choice for those who missed their ideal careers.

Address this by making the profession as attractive as other professions. Make teaching a first class profession.

For example, your recent policy on scrapping the Bachelor of Education degree program and substituting it with a BA/BSc followed with a postgraduate diploma in education, for me is a highly welcome move.

It will strengthen the rigor of quality of teachers. However, this will and should come with expectations.

You will need to improve the remuneration of teachers to be nearly comparable with that of other professionals.

This way, you will attract the best not only in terms of academic and professional merit but in terms of a genuine calling to teach.

I urge you to examine Finland’s education system. Teachers, are some of the highly qualified, highly paid and highly respected professionals in Finland.

In Finland, qualifying for a profession in teaching in elementary school is as hard as, if not harder than, qualifying for a profession in medicine but the reward is also attractive.

Fifth, we started to lose it, when vocationally oriented subjects such as art and craft, music, home science etc were eliminated from primary school, and woodwork, metalwork, building and construction, power mechanics, electricity were removed from secondary schools.

These vocational subjects ensured that class eight or form four graduates who for one or reason or the other were unable to continue with education were nearly market ready.

Indeed some of the most successful tradesmen and women Kenya prides of today are beneficiaries of these 8.4.4 subjects. Bring back these subjects.

Sixth, the tragedy of our graduates is a tragedy of some universities starting to fail to wear their expected universal character.

When some universities started co-existing with and situated on top of restaurants and bars.

When some universities became institutions of tribes, clans and kinsmen. When some universities started hiring academic staff largely guided by ethnic inclinations while qualifications and merit became secondary.

When some universities embarked on a rash to introduce too many programs without a proportionate increase in the number of academic staff and proportionate expansion of physical infrastructure.

When some universities started cutting corners in their admission criteria of students, faced with stiff competition for students. CBC will not cure these. Crack your whip and sanitize colleges and universities that continue to operate below quality standards.

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