Extra tuition robs learners of freedom to be children
Posted Saturday, August 4 2012 at 17:08
Last week, the minister for Education, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, opposed extra tuition that has come to define the teaching and learning process under the 8-4-4 system of education.
What perhaps the public doesn’t know is that the Basic Education Bill, 2012, which is about to be presented in Parliament for deliberation and enactment, outlaws extra tuition because it will be illegal for schools to impose any charge or sent away any student for not having paid for extra tuition.
The educational fraternity had better take the minister seriously this time round.
Some of the schools have brazenly imposed astronomical charges for holiday tuition in contravention of a ministry of Education circular in 2008 banning holiday tuition/or charges.
They must now take the ministry’s policy position on this issue more seriously in view of the penalties that are likely to be imposed upon those who violate the envisaged law.
Extra tuition after hours and or holiday tuition may serve a purpose when a school targets weak students who need remedial teaching and/or learning. Or it may make sense for examination candidates to allow them to revise undistracted by noise associated with many homes.
However, this is not the case in many a school across the length and breadth of this country.
School authorities attributed the provision of tuition outside the school calendar or outside official teaching hours to the heavy workload that the curriculum occasioned.
The ministry of Education has, over the years, trimmed the primary and secondary curriculum to a level where extra tuition – whatever hour it is administered – has become questionable.
Extra/holiday tuition is based on a system of education that turns students either into robots or passive learners.
This kind of education cannot produce the learning and thinking nation that the government wants to transform the citizens into so that they can forge a stable and cohesive nation and also provide the necessary human capital for the realisation of Vision 2030.
The country needs to produce people who can think for themselves as citizens, as skilled people in an area of knowledge, and as researchers. Educationists should not see the minds of students as empty vessels into which knowledge is poured from January to December.
We need to let go our hold on young learners so that they can have the freedom to be children – to grow into all rounded children to allow them, in the words of Mr Kilonzo during the Vihiga Education Day at Chango Secondary School: “to visit their grandparents during holiday, allow them to climb mango trees and fall, allow them to cry.”
Kennedy Buhere, Nairobi.