What the US government is doing in revamping education in America is may be just what Kenya needs now more than ever. While our education system is a pale comparison to the education systems in the northern countries Kenya’s education (like that of her sister East African states) needs a bold radical surgery in the public education.
Whereas the government of Kenya continues to grapple with insurmountable social and economic challenges, it should not be lost to us that the quality of our teaching force would always determine the quality of the product – in this case, the pupil.
Whereas developed countries like the US, even amidst the global economic crunch, can afford to pump funds into schools, Kenya has apparently run out of funds for free primary.
A few days ago, the Kenyan Education permanent secretary said that the government did not have Sh. 10 billion needed for the first term of 2009, on claims that the money had been spent to import food because of the current drought. Schools in Kenya are yet to received funds to buy textbooks and other learning materials As the head teachers ask the government to allow them to levy fees, the gains painstakingly made in ensuring free primary education are slowly drifting away
I have an impression that Obama's a "cradle-to-career" education for all Americans with promises of stronger teacher standards and a reduced dropout rate is the kind of a sweeping education reform agenda that East Africa needs right” from early childhood schooling to post-graduate learning”
To paraphrase Obama, Kenya has been out-taught and out-competed. There has been conflicting information from the top brass in the Education Ministry about the government’s ability to fund Free Primary Education.
The grim picture is seen in the fact that one school term into the year the ministry is yet to disburse tuition funds to schools. Management public finances in a prudent manner is evidently a big challenge as seen in conflicting statements education managers make in public and the knee jerk reactions with regard to implementation policy. This is made worse by the very limited political commitment to cutting expenditure in critical areas in order to give the education sector the all needed jab to provide meaningful change.