Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has defended the government’s decision to lower grades for students enrolling to teacher training colleges.
Ms Mohamed explained on Tuesday that the decision was based on the affirmative action law that is covered in the Constitution.
The CS noted that regional differences make it impossible to gauge all students the same way, hence the need for equity, which she said will not affect the quality of education.
Therefore, she said, learners in some regions will require D+s and others C-s for certificate and diploma courses.
Speaking at the University of Nairobi (UoN) during a meeting of the Regional Universities Forum (RUFORUM), Ms Mohamed said the government is setting a basis for injecting equality in learning, the affirmative action way.
RUFORUM is an organisation of over 100 African universities that came together to promote research and boost innovation in the continent.
“Where we don’t have quality we want to begin injecting some level of quality. In order to speak of quality, you must have a basis. Whenever somebody talks about quality of education, you need to look at the foundation that exists,” the CS said.
“Go around the country and tell me whether you think the foundation that exists allows us to have a single standard across the board. Had that been true, our Constitution would not have talked about affirmative action and our schools would not also be enrolling students with low grades on this basis."
The government's plan will affect 17 counties, including Turkana, Samburu, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Lamu, Tana River, West Pokot, Homa Bay, Narok, Baringo and Kajiado, some in full and some in part.
In the new rules, students seeking a diploma in education will need a C plain or C- in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), down from the previous C+.
Those seeking a certificate (popularly known as P1), will need a D+, down from a C plain.
Certificate courses will be phased out next year, leaving only diploma programmes for primary school trainee teachers.