For Online E-newspaper
The East African : October 21st 2013
2 OCTOBER 19-25, 2013 CELEBRATING KENYA@ 50 #WeAreOne The EastAfrican TWO DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF EAST ASIAN COUNTRIES EDUCATION SYSTEMS WORTH NOTING: THE EGALITARIAN IDEAL AND THE ZEAL FOR QUALITY EDUCATION DRIVEN BY COMMITMENT TO ENSURE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL – REGARDLESS OF STATUS THE DIFFERENCE By OKWACH ABAGI Special Correspodent K enya has placed considerable impor- tance on the role of education in pro- moting economic, political and social development since Independence. As a result, there has been a rapid expansion of the edu- cation system, especially at the secondary and tertiary levels to provide qualified personnel to man the coun- try’s growing economic and administrative institutions. The government, parents, non-governmental organisa- tions, the private sector and donors have invested large amounts of resources in the education sector. Today, Kenya can boost of having a robust education system in the region if the quantitative expansion of ac- cess to basic and higher edu- cation is anything to go by. The country has the largest education system in East Af- rica, with more than 28,000 primary and 7,000 second- ary schools, more than 60 universities and constituent colleges. In short, Kenya is a re- gional hub for education and training. The milestones achieved in the education sector are largely attributed to the implementation of recom- mendations of various com- missions, committees and taskforces on education and training. These include the Education Commission Re- port of 1964 (also known as the Ominde Commission), which sought to decolonise inherited education system from colonial government to make it more responsive to an independent Kenya’s eco- nomic and social needs. The National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies (NCEOP) of 1975 (The Gachathi Report), fo- cused on relevance/quality of education and attempted to refocus the goals and objec- tives of education in the light of the challenges posed by the rapid expansion of education system following Independ- ence. The 1981 Report of the Presidential Working Party on the Second University in Kenya (Mackay Report), that led to the establishment of the second public university and also the establishment of the 8-4 -4 system of edu- cation. The Report of the Presiden- tial Working Party on Educa- tion and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Be- yond (The Kamunge Report), 1988, focused on improve- ment on education financing by introducing cost-sharing between government, par- ents and communities. The Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2005 on education, train- ing and research, led to edu- cation reforms through a Sec- tor Wide Approach to Plan- ning (SWAP). And of course in the Task Force on the Re- alignment of the Education Sector to the Constitution of Kenya 2010 (The Odhia- mbo Report), led to the Ses- sional Paper No, 14 of 2012 – Reforming Education and Training Sectors in Kenya. The Constitution of Kenya (2010) Articles 43 (1)(f) and 55(a) makes education a right of every Kenyan. In the past 50 years, the expansion of education- al opportunities has been phenomenal. Enrolment in primary school level has grown to about 9.5 million at present, from 892,000 pupils in 1963. In secondary schools, enrolment has grown to over 1.8 million currently, from 30,000 in 1963. The increase in school enrolment across the country is attributed to policies such as the Free Pri- mary Education (FPE) and Free Day Secondary Educa- tion (FSDE) programmes im- plemented in 2003 and 2008 respectively. The enrolment at Technical and Vocation- al Education and Training (TVET) institution is at over 83,000, while enrolment into university stands at about 200,000 currently. With regard to expansion in secondary education, the harambee (self-help) phe- nomenon in the years after Independence deserves a mention. In many areas, es- pecially, where opportunities for secondary education were poor, communities mobilised to raise funds and started harambee/community sec- ondary schools. This commit- ment has continued to date, with positive results. The reforms in the educa- tion sector laws are also a major milestone. For, exam- ple The Education Act 2012 sought to align national edu- cation to Vision 2030 and the Constitution, especially the right to education to all Ken- yans, the children’s right to free and compulsory educa- tion, and the devolved struc- ture of government. In terms of education man- agement, the sector is to be transformed from a central- ised to a devolved system and inclusive participation of parents and communities. If effectively and efficiently implemented, the education system will have the National Education Board to advice the Cabinet Secretary, the de- partments of education, and other structures on promot- ing standards in basic edu- cation and training. Another structure is the County Edu- cation Boards to advice and coordinate education pro- grammes at the county levels. The Parents Teacher Associa- tions, the Teachers Service Commissions, and the Kenya National Examination Coun- cil, and the Kenya Institute Pupils in class: Primary education has seen the biggest expansion in enrol- ment since Inpendence. Pic: File Expansion of education ove≥ the yea≥s Kenya has the largest education system in East Africa, with more than 28,000 primary and 7,000 secondary schools, more than 60 universities and constituent colleges How other countries did it East Asian countries like Singapore, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia have often been cited as successful case of human capital development and fast economic development. Just in the 1970s, social infrastructure, including schools, in these Asian countries were the same as those in Kenya. However, because of political will and sound policy choices and innovations, education was turned into an “engine” for growth. These countries have been able to accomplish 100 per cent coverage in primary and secondary education. Besides, they have tertiary (higher) education sector that is large and as competitive as those in the West. With popu;ation growth, today Kenya has more almost 9.2 million pupils in primary school.
October 12th 2013
October 26th 2013