I like it and infact everybody likes it most that by now at least a bigger majority of the Kenyan children have the right to education. As a nation this is a good indicator that we are headed to the right direction for only education id the key to good life. Kudos to the former government that lauched free primary and secondary education and now we have the famous buzz for laptop programme in public schools. On a wider scale the free education programme has been somehow successful and most school aged children in Kenya go schooling. We can equitably equate this to the the now reducing illiteracy levels among the society. Furthermore, the launching of free primary education saw most of the street urchins kiss the street goodbye for school. What a commendable positive change!
The major concern lies especially at the secondary school level. There are many secondary schools countrywide. A big majority base on the 8-4-4 system of learning approved by the ministry of Education. Initially these schools were professionally classified as to either National, Provincial, District or Harambee schools based majorly on the level of performance, results posted over time and the level of infrastructural advancement explored among other criterias. Its the reason most people speak of Big schools and Small schools! Then one wonders why the two worlds? The bigger and the smaller world all in one country! I wonder too.
In Kenya, and on a yearly basis, thousands of candidates; who possibly went through secondary school for minimum four years; adequately prepare and sit for a national examination uder the umbrella body KNEC (Kenya National EXamination Commission). Its obvious joy for each and every candidate as they hand over the last paper to go home and anxiously wait for results having concluded a journey. Lets say the the end of the beginning! The tragedy sets in when finally the results are out. I took time to study results for some counties with special intrest in the upcoming Harambee schools. A common trend with such institutions that is indeed shocking is that most of the schools barely manage to produce compitent students to join University through JAB (Joint Admission Board) selection. In most cases their pacesetters would maximumly score a B that lies short the set aggregate points by JAB! Indeed one or two schools would pass the test and advance one or two students and the story ends there! Most of these schools are small in size and thus lack adequate capacity to enable adequate knowledge pursuit.
The students we are talking about obviously scored good marks at the O_level but would not manage fees for their dream schools. read “big schools” They finally opted as a matter of last resort to attend the day schools next to their homes where fees is probably fair. School requirements and overall shopping is also zero-rated. We have left out those who called it quits with school at this level! When finally the students in question at the end of four years in highschool can not attract sponsorship for higher learning, it goes without saying that they will also not be able to raise funds for college. This is a poverty striken zone! “Again lets call it quits” they decide.They are great minds but end up unutilized. Talk of dreams shrinking underway. Then the education system becomes quite wasteful. They got a chance to go to school yes. but they have not fullfilled their childhood dream! The trend cuts across the nation. Then my friend John gives our 8_4_4 system an arithmetic outlook to mean 8_4_4 =O (8 minus4 minus 4 you get nothing).
On the other hand a potential (read “big” school) boosts in majority if not all of its students making it ti public universities with quality grades. Its commendable yes but am upholding for striking a balance across the divides. A big wall of difference is thus built in between. then comes Big and Small schools syndrome. The common phenomenon is that the big schools are meant for the rich while small schools are a preserve for the poor who cant stretch their financial muscles equitably! Its quite visible that indeed this upcoming schools are small in size. they lack the capacity to perform since they do not have enough resources. Teachers are scarce with huge student population and student teacher ratio is laughable. Students due to lack of fees regularly miss lessons thus the expectation of poor grades. We are not out to crucify them neither can we afford to do away with them. They are meant to leave long and grow BIG. The government should thus come in to fast-track their improvement and reinforce their efforts to fruitition. Furthermore, sustainable alternative measures should be put in place in the mean time to cater for the affected students. Such measures may include among others, concerted efforts by The Government of the day, Corporates, NGOS, Faith -based networks and other well wishers to do local sponsorship arrangements for them to study short term courses or equip them with life/employability skills. The scenario highlighted previously has led to games of push and pull among the “small” “big” schools. Its the reason some people confidently suggest that some schools are supplied with examination leakages which is not and should not be the case at all! Its all about marching resourses to results. We can save the situation before its too late for its never late untill its finished!
Another source of conflict within the academic cycle is the consituency development fund (CDF)initiated by the former regime meant to fund needy students. Still it was good news to the needy as the government opted to help with fees settlement. It had worked well over some time but confusion toot over shortly. For instance in a given constituency, a number of students are chosen for the scheme and some money allocated for a given calender term. For the successive terms some of the selected students may never fall lucky for the funding and thus being un able to raise funds on their own they go for the easiest option; dropping out of school!
In my own opinion, it would be sustainable enough to select a lesser number of extremly needy but bright beneficiaries and fund them through the entire level of learning. In this case the funds output will be small but boldly visible unlike fragmenting the funds only to create more corruption loopholes. Such an approach will see great minds revived through school. They will thus be in a good position to help those with whom they sail in the same boat when they finally make it in future.
If only we Countyrmen can sort out our differences and correct on our unfairness in quality sevice delivery, there shall be synchromisation that will drive success. Our focus and commitment to one goal therefore matters most. Least said soonest made.