, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12- The government has developed a national plan for civic education dubbed the ‘Kenya National Integrated Civic Education’ (K-NICE) Programme, meant to educate Kenyans on the provisions of the Constitution.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo said the plan was critical in facilitating the much needed public awareness, as the country heads towards the next general election.
He noted that the programme would help ensure that Kenyans understood the benefits and contents of the Constitution with respect to its full implementation.
Kilonzo also called for an integrated national approach towards civic education bringing together both state and non state actors in order to ensure sustainability, consistency and national coverage.
“Civic education is essential in reorienting the national psyche for the new dispensation and engendering robust public engagement in the implementation process,” he said.
The Justice Minister further explained that the government had formed an inter-ministerial coordinating committee, with 12 government agencies and nine non state actors, to spearhead the programme.
The Permanent Secretaries in the ministries of Finance, Local Government, Education, Communication, Public Service and the Office of the Prime Minister together with officials from the Office of the President, the Solicitor General, Director General Vision 2030 and the Kenya Institute of Education Director will represent the government side.
Civil societies enjoined in the venture include Jukwaa la Katiba, the Supreme Council of Muslims of Kenya, National Muslim Civic Education Consortium, Religious Organisations Ecumenical Centre for Justice and Peace, Uraia, the Disability Sector, Youth Agenda, Kenya Private Sector Alliance and Maendeleo ya Wanawake.
Moreover the government has invited other qualified non state actors, interested in the provision of civic education, to apply with the Justice Ministry.
Kilonzo added that the committee’s agenda would also focus on simplifying the Constitution for Kenyans before it is eventually rolled out.
“The Programme is currently developing core civic education materials like the curriculum and facilitators’ manual. Thematic modules will include elections and representation, the Bill of Rights, land, devolution and public finance,” he explained.
The Chairperson of the now defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission, Isaack Hassan, has in the past stressed the need for voter civic education in preparation for the upcoming polls.
“We need to educate Kenyans on the next elections and what qualities political aspirants should carry with them before qualifying for the positions. Kenyans will be voting at more than three different levels and they need to know about these posts,” he said.
The National Council Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has also called for speedy civic education with a view of demystifying the Constitution.
Justice Assistant Minister William Cheptumo added that the programme would help Kenyans keep the government in check with regard to implementing the Constitution.
“Foster a system that ensures governmental responsiveness to its citizens and the citizens’ responsibility for keeping the government on track,” he said.
Justice Permanent Secretary Gichira Kibara would help the government become actively engaged in shaping the society’s processes.