In Summary
  • One other issue worth considering, particularly in areas with a Muslim majority, is introduction of a faith-based school system.
  • Counties such as Garissa, Mandera, Wajir and pockets of the coastal region with higher Muslim populations could benefit from having schools built on their faith.
  • Not equipping or funding schools denies many youngsters a lifetime of opportunities.

In the week that we are told the Ministry of Education failed to spend Sh10 billion allocated to it, I wondered how many schools were failed in the country.

This article is not about the Sh10 billion, however, but more about wondering whether we need to think of ways to create equal standards across public schools to give children a level playing field in the job market.

If there is that kind of money not having been used in the face of crumbling schools, then I wonder what exactly is amiss in our education system.

The bone of contention between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and ministry in the recent past was whether grades to the teacher training colleges needed to be lowered to D+ to address a chronic shortage of tutors.

PERFORM POORLY

It was also a way to give counties that perform poorly in education a quota so that their residents can be absorbed into TTCs despite scoring lower grades.

The intention seems to be well founded, but it is a self-defeating exercise. All it would do is flat-line literacy levels in perpetuity in the areas that desperately require radical reforms to improve education standards.

Garbage in, garbage out. Unless the teacher with a lower overall grade has something exceptional to offer, it would be a case of recycling failure.

I do understand that some people reach higher acumen plateau with experience despite lower achievements in school, but it is a gamble that is not worth taking for the sake of our children’s future, and not in the competitive global market systems.

CURRICULUM

Standardisation does not begin and end with school curriculum. Education must consider school environment as well.

This is to ensure that buildings meet an acceptable standard of habitation. What we have is schools that operate in diverse systems: You have schools in one area that are well resourced to have extra swimming pools and buses and state-of-the-art laboratories and others which have children studying in mud-walled classrooms with leaking grass-thatched roofs, stones for seats and toileting in the grass!

Standardising education would mean all schools meet basic acceptable standards in which children can learn well.

There is no need to pan to political interests to just pop up schools that are unfit and unfair for children to learn in. There are schools that have never even heard of a science lab, let alone have one.

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