The young, growing population in Kenya has the potential to transform the economic fortunes of the country. For this transformation to be achieved, the quality and relevance of the skills the young people possess when entering the labor market have to be improved. This requires sustained improvements in the education sector at all levels from primary to tertiary.
A lot has been done regarding access to education. However, more needs to be done regarding the quality and range of educational opportunities. The next few years will be instrumental in determining how Kenya fares as the population of the working-age grow.
Kenya’s primary indicators have been moving the right direction incomparably. According to UNICEF data, the net enrolment has gone up to 89 %.
Let’s look at the steps that need to be taken to improve the education sector in Kenya:
- Reinventing education using powerful distance learning tools adapted to the economic, technological- intensive e-learning that is guided by actual pedagogues
The development of digital content is progressing very well at the Kenya Institute of Education. An ICT curriculum has also been introduced at teacher training level. A proposed 10-year master plan for ICT will make sure that ICT development will become holistic and integrated with all the levels of education. Citizens that will be produced will be more knowledgeable and skilled with ICT and will have the capacity to compete with the outside world as envisioned in Kenya’s Vision 2030.
A national center for ICT in education (NACICTIE ) will be established. The center will have a complete national help desk and support section.
There will be the enhancement of public-private partnership for ICT investment in education and training. The provision of school computers will be based on the ratio of one desktop per 15 learners and a laptop per teacher.
Educational broadcasting services will be launched throughout the country.
- Investing early in education
Great emphasis has been placed on early childhood education by the Kenyan Government.
More financial and physical resources are to be provided to the Early Childhood Education and Development Program. Free 2 year pre-schooling is provided for all children before they proceed to primary school. The Kenya Institute of Education has provided a comprehensive curriculum for Early Childhood Education. A modern library and resource center for ECED has been established. More resources are provided for systematic training of teachers of ECED institutions. The budgetary allocation for pre-schooling programs has been increased in a bid to make early education a sound investment. Free primary school education has been introduced to make primary education accessible to all Kenyans.
Gross enrollment has improved by over 120%. With this increase, the education sector is mired by myriads of challenges that are related to access, quality and equity in the country. All pupils are offered an opportunity for accelerated learning in their early years of schooling.
- Evidence-based studies to aid in the restructuring of education
The decision making process by policymakers at the Ministry of Education, The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, The Kenya National Examinations Council, The Teachers Service Commission, The Commission for Higher Education among others isn’t without challenges. A task force on the realignment of education to the new constitution and Vision 2030 present a report that needs to be discussed by all stakeholders before the recommendations are rolled out. Among those recommendations are the new education curriculum reforms that aim at aligning the learners’ knowledge and skills with the dynamic technology and global labor demands
- Curriculum Reforms as part of system change
A new curriculum is being developed. The national education policy on curriculum reforms is guided by the vision of nurturing the potential of all learners. The ultimate aim of the new curriculum is to equip the learners with skills that for the 21st Century. It is anchored on a global shift towards educational programs that encourage optimal human capital development.
There is particular emphasis on the learner’s ability to coexist as a responsible citizen without sectarian inclinations, patriotism, citizenship, and character. The system-wide reforms focus on school-based quality assurance, instructional leadership, improvement of the learning environment, cost-effective and quality teaching material, learning infrastructure that is standard, continuous professional development for education stakeholders and a general drive towards inclusive education.
The reforms also introduce technical and vocational training much earlier in junior secondary school to encourage attainment of academic and industry qualifications. The central focus of the changes is the approach to teaching and learning around the child. The reform process has been producing a flexible curriculum to permit parallel alternative pathways that provide learners with choices of specialization and interests.
Conclusively, quality education will be provided by injecting these steps into the system. The integration of policies aimed at disruption and transformation for the acquisition of tangible results is essential.