JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO
It’s vital to restructure the management of our education systems in order to conform to the recently ratified constitution but the ministry of education should be careful about the plans of adopting the American model of education.
We don’t want to borrow an education system from any country but rather to restructure the prevailing system for improvement. The USA system is far from being perfect despite the country having dedicated teachers and being equipped with modern learning facilities.
Currently, America is struggling with poor management and underperformance in their elementary and secondary schools. Many parents are now opting to “vouchers” provided by the government to enable them pay tuition for their children in private schools after pulling them out of public schools.
Political leaders have conflicting views on the voucher programme. Those who support it argue that it gives parents freedom to choose schools for their children when they under perform in public schools. Those opposed to the programme term it as a destroyer of public schools. They strongly advocate for government support to underperforming schools through funding and retraining teachers.
Having been to college in American, lecturers opine that the standard of our education is superior based on the excellence of Kenyan college university goers. This is a clear demonstration that the model of education Kenya wants to adopt is not free of loopholes.
Firstly, the Ministry of education should focus on a plan to equip public elementary and secondary schools with learning equipments like computers to improve ICT and also facilitate the establishment of at least one library in every ten established as stipulated in the new Constitution. These will boost students’ performance.
Education is the citadel that defines the success of any nation. Leaving the sector on the hands of counties will be a grave mistake. It will be fair for the central government to manage curriculum development, hire teachers and manage national examinations the way it has always been.
Secondly, there is need to entrench new study modules in the curriculum like peace education, conflict resolution, corruption and human rights. These will give learners a good foundation in their psyche to become good citizens.
It will add value given the fact that the country has been through negative events which threatened peaceful co-existence. Regrettably, the Ministry of education hasn’t nurtured young school goers who saw the violence that engulfed Kenya more than two years a go with peace education.
To ensure that young Kenyans understand their background and heritage, History and Kiswahili should be compulsory subjects in primary and secondary schools.
In my view, to build an upright society, religious education should be compulsory in primary and secondary schools. The Bible says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This stresses the need to mold young schoolgoers with integrity while young.
Our major religions like Christianity, Islam and Hindu teaches moral values that should be taught in schools to boost the ethical values of young Kenyans.
Kenya is a very small country compared to the USA. We recently adopted a Constitution which borrowed heavily from theirs but the government of Kenya should let our education system be structured to suit our prevailing standards.
It’s unworkable to leave the management of our schools on the hands of devolved units- counties units which cannot address tackle even the rampant irregularities that the country experiences during national exams.
Finally, the management of our education system should remain the way it is today but focus should be on improvement at all levels. Let us not rush to adopt a foreign system when the existing one can be strengthened and improved to conform to the needs of Kenyans.
(Joseph Lister Nyaringo is in New Jersey, USA)