Is our education sector at crisis?

Posted: July 24, 2013 in Politics/Current issues


Our education sector has been on the spotlight in the recent days for all the wrong reasons.  First it was the teacher’s strike which paralyzed learning in all public schools for nearly four weeks. The strike finally came to an end after the teachers reached an agreement with the government on their demands for a salary and allowance increment.

Then came a shocking exposure of how university students have found ways of acquiring fake degrees.  The exposure, done by one of the leading media hoses in the country revealed how  university students were paying people to work on their final year projects before graduation.

A more shocking educational report was one by Uwezo Kenya which revealed how some pupils in standard eight cannot solve class two level mathematical division questions.  The survey, which was done by Uwezo, a civil society group that monitors achievements in education indicated that a massive 70% of children in class three cannot read class two material.

More shocking according to the report is the fact that 11 percent of those in class eight, who are expected to sit for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) national examinations at the end of the year cannot solve a class two mathematical problem.  Another seven percent, the report says can neither read nor comprehend a simple story in either English or Kiswahili.

This revelations in our education sector begs the question, is our education sector at crisis? Our country has always been labeled as one of the countries producing the best human resource in Africa fresh from University. These new reports are painting a very ugly picture of our country.  

When former president Mwai Kibaki entered into office, the number of enrolment in primary schools increased drastically who all wanted to enjoy the introduction of free primary education.  However, these gains have continued to reduce daily.  The Uwezo report titled ‘’Are our children learning?  Also shows how cases of teachers’ absenteeism have become rampant in the country. On average, according to the report, 10 percent of the teachers are not in school at any one time. These are the same teachers who should be held accountable. They should not only be in class but also in class supporting learning.

This should be a wake up call to the government and all the stake holders in the education sector. The Jubilee government which has promised to improve the education sector in the country really has a lot of work to do. These are the same pupils which the government has also promised to give laptops come next year January. How are these kids going to use this laptops if they cannot even read or write?

The rate of unemployment has also been on the rise every year. If these opportunities are even available, how will the human resource deliver of they are using cheap and uncouth ways to acquire their degrees?

As a developing country keen at achieving its vision 2030 goals and also its Millennium Development Goals, we should invest greatly in education. All the stakeholders in the education sector should ensure education is taken seriously especially from primary level which natures these children. With the teachers strike now over, the teachers should ensure the deliver. Reports of teachers’ absenteeism should now be a thing of the past.  

The Cabinet Secretary in charge of education, Jacob Kaimenyi should now know he has a huge task ahead of him in stabilizing the education sector. We want a country that produces graduates who can deliver when they enter the job market and also pupils who can read and write.

Nixon Kanali, Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC)

  1. Nixon Kanali says:

    This piece was also captured in today’s Daily Nation and the Standard newspapers

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