Saturday, November 2, 2013

Senate pushes for village polytechnics to be given new names

Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki.  Prof Kindiki said the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission failed to have an impact because the country was targeting mature people who had fixed minds on issues. PHOTO/PHOEBE OKALL/FILE

Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki. Prof Kindiki said the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission failed to have an impact because the country was targeting mature people who had fixed minds on issues. PHOTO/PHOEBE OKALL/FILE 

By DENNIS ODUNGA
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The Senate is pushing for change of names to restore confidence in village polytechnics.

Senators said the current names make the institutions appear inferior, and county governments should re-brand the institutions by coming up with names that are unique to their regions.

The senators also recommended a standardised curriculum to promote the quality of nursery school education instead of the current situation where each school has its own mode of teaching.

“The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development should fast-track standardisation of the curriculum to ensure children get the right foundation,” said Senator Joy Gwendo in a motion before the House.

The motion sought to have the House adopt the report of the Standing Committee on Education, Information and Technology following visits to Kisii, Kisumu, Kakamega and Vihiga Counties.

Senator Daisy Nyongesa, who seconded the motion, said in some schools visited, pupils enrolled at different levels of kindergarten were making it difficult for learners to concentrate. She said the county governments should also invest more resources in recruiting teachers and repairing delapidated classrooms.

Majority leader Kithure Kindiki early education is not doing well, and the country is not assured of dependable citizens in the future unless proper intervention measures are put in place.

“We need to review our children’s curriculum. We are teaching them complicated stuff very early at the expense of building patriotism,” said Prof Kindiki. He said children should instead be allowed to play, sing, read and network at that level.

Prof Kindiki said the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission failed to have an impact because the country was targeting mature people who had fixed minds on issues.

“We think we can teach the old to be united in their diversity when in reality, it is difficult. Such lessons should best start with children,” he said.

Prof Kindiki agreed there is a need to revamp village polytechnics, adding that the curriculum followed at the institutions had not been reviewed for many years to match the emerging needs.

“The facilities are in disarray. They stand a risk of disintegrating due to clamour for universities. But in terms of moving our country forward, we need technical skills from middle level colleges. Otherwise we are headed nowhere,” he said.

Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said county teachers deserve better pay.

He advised county governments to start by improving learning facilities for the young learners, which is under their mandate, before pushing for an expanded mandate to handle primary and secondary schools that is under the national government.

Bomet Senator Wilson Lesan said the government should also ensure disabled children were not kept at home when they are supposed to benefit from the free primary and subsidised secondary education.

West Pokot Senator, Prof John Lonyangapuo said nursery schools and village polytechnics are under county governments, and should be improved for parents who cannot afford to send their children to private schools.

“In the majority of nursery schools, children sit on stones or improvised seats” said Prof Lonyangapuo.

The children, he said, are taught by untrained teachers as long as their availability is guaranteed. He urged counties to liaise with the national government and Teachers Service Commission and come up with standardised salaries for nursery school teachers instead of leaving it to the management of individual schools, to decide.

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