Lobby backs changes in education system

Thursday February 9 2012

By JOHN NGIRACHU [email protected]

The proposed education system has won the support of a lobby group, which says it will help candidates select careers.

The system will also be better for students as they will get to know their strengths and specialise on the relevant subjects early in their school lives, said Uwezo Kenya, an education lobby.

“We have students who finish university and they still don’t know what they want to do,” said Uwezo Kenya country coordinator John Mugo.

But he said the system would only succeed if schools stopped relying on examinations and adopted other modes of assessment. (READ: Education: Major changes revealed)

Children will acquire skills and a good idea of the careers they would like to pursue by the time they leave school, said Uwezo, whose mission is to improve learning in East Africa.

Dr Mugo said the success of the proposed system would also depend on how well it is implemented.

“We could have a brilliant document but which could fail if its implementation is flawed,” he said at the launch of the organisation’s annual assessment on learning in Kenya at the Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday.

Dr Mugo is among researchers and educationists who say the current 8-4-4 system of education was introduced and implemented in a hurry, hence its failure to achieve its objectives.

The system is also criticised for conditioning learners to prepare for examinations rather than understand and learn to apply the theoretical concepts acquired in class.

According to Dr Mugo, the focus on assessing learners’ competencies and abilities would be among the biggest differences between the proposed system and the 8-4-4 one, which will be replaced next year if the proposal is adopted.

He said it would also be important to assess whether the recommended reforms paid attention to equity and whether learners were exposed to a curriculum relevant to their needs.

Started last phase

The report of the taskforce was handed over to the ministry last week. (READ: Proposed education system ‘too expensive’)

Receiving the report, Education minister Sam Ongeri said that a national conference would be held next month to discuss the report.

Uwezo Kenya has started the last phase of their assessment of learning in which pupils in 4,740 schools in 158 districts across Kenya will be tested on the skills they have acquired in school.

Dr Mugo said the study would be carried out in 30 villages in each district, with 9,500 volunteers involved in testing the pupils.

The full report will be out by the first week of July.