The Jubilee government should invest heavily in education, as it promised

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One million children are out of school in Kenya two years to the deadline set by the government to realize universal primary education by 2015. This is according to a report launched by UNESCO, ‘’ Education for all monitoring report 2012’’ These revelations come when the Kibaki (now retired) administration was bragging of the achievements it had made after introducing the Free Primary Education which was launched back in 2003. The introduction of this free primary education was to ensure the country realised a Universal Primary Education by 2015 which is in line with the millennium Development Goals (MDGs) According to the report, even those children who are lucky to access basic education, primary education is not of enough quality to ensure that all the children can even learn the basics. Among young men between 15-29 years who had left school after six years of going to school, 6% were illiterate, and 26% were semi-illiterate. For young women, 9% were illiterate while 30% semi-illiterate after being in school for the same period of six years, which is more worrying. The most affected areas are the arid areas where there are no schools and where they are there is lack of basic facilities like classrooms, desks, and even teachers. The country now has a new government under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. Uhuru’s government during the campaigns promised to increase enrolment in schools by 1 million children a year. Their manifesto has so many good promises for the education sector. They have promised free laptops for every pupil entering standard one in public schools, a move they say is to transform Kenyan students into a digital world. It also promised to increase the number of teachers in school and the infrastructure. The Jubilee government should however brace itself for tough times ahead as it comes to face to face with the challenges facing the education sector in the country, especially the free primary education. To start with, the Free Primary Education in Kenya is not constitutionally protected making its implementation subject to political interference. Some schools have also experience over enrolment since its introduction putting a very serious strain to the limited available education facilities. Teacher shortage in many schools, inadequate learning materials, corruption and many more are just the things this new government should address. Teachers’ strikes are also one of the major challenges facing the education sector in the country. Since the year 2009, teachers in public schools have downed their tools three times agitating for better pay and increased number of teachers. The Jubilee government has promised to increase the number of schools in disadvantaged areas, restrict class sizes to a maximum of 40 and recruit 40, 000 more teachers. This could just be a breath of fresh air to the teachers if implemented.  These strikes have always affected the quality of education in the country. In September 2012 for example, the teachers strike lasted for a good 23 days forcing schools to postpone their examinations. Under their manifesto, the new government promised to increase the education funding by one percent every year so that by the year 2018, it will reach it will have reached 32 percent of the government spending. Education is very key to any growing economy like ours and the new government as envisaged in its manifesto should invest heavily in it. It should ensure that the affordable, quality and competitive education promised Kenyan children is achieved. This is the only way to ensure that these children are made competitive players in the world economy. Nixon Kanali, Nairobi        

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KanaliSpeaks is a blog that focuses on current issues and all things governance.

kanalispeaks

KanaliSpeaks is a blog that focuses on current issues and all things governance.

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