We are stuck. We need to admit before seeking remedial measures.
The education system in Kenya is groping in the dark due to lack of a singular vision for the sector.
We are engaging in a lot of motion but no movement and we have been lying to ourselves as a nation that this is good enough. We compare ourselves to the region and lie that we are ahead of our compatriots.
Our education sector compass is broken. Since independence; we seem to have tried so many concoctions of things that promised quick remedy and eventually never worked but we seem still disinterested in stopping to assess what the real problem is.
We have juggled by increasing investment in the sector since independence but money does not seem to fix the problem.
Expanding access and opening up more spaces for learners has not helped either.
Our harambee spirit and CDF improvement of infrastructure and the latest facade of quality is yielding no result.
What lacks however in the singular national vision is an agreement on what our national education system should look like.
Every person given an opportunity to make an investment decision deals with the problem in their locker in a silo approach, as the start and destination of their decision making for investment.
Out of our disjointed initiatives, we are now presiding over a broken system and killing the dreams of our children one day after the other as we sink more money into a bottomless pit.
Our national psyche is not directed at making the education sector work. We lack the requisite national focus and willingness to make it succeed.
We are a country of quick-patchy-fixes and we get excited and enthralled by the adrenalin rushes that take us on a fake ‘high’.
Anytime we see our feet off the ground; we get to some imaginary dreamland and we see ourselves flying over the Trans-Atlantic.
We chest thumb and call ourselves the biggest economy South of the Sahara-North of the Limpopo.
The continued disinterest in fixing the rot in the education sector by the sector mandarins and bureaucrats has ensured the allure of the sector has vanished.
The little remaining glow is now being taken away by the ‘Sonkonisation’ of our lifestyles through the new cool definition of what success looks like for the young and not so young.
This has ensured that the once highly rated sector, educationists and teachers have had the ground they were standing on slowly but gradually get grabbed.
As we speak, the solid ground is all but gone and they now stand on quick sand of riparian lands.
Our children no longer want to train as teachers or lecturers in our learning institutions. They say the sector lacks the glamour and the money.
Do you need to be glamorous to be an educationist? No. The opinion shapers of this world and the academia were and have only been armed with passion and the singular dedication to make a difference.
The Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission on the other hand think that those who scored D+ should produce the next generation of our teachers.
We lack purpose for the sector … but we have the temerity to complain that the country is not progressing.
We will not develop as a nation until we reclaim the lost glory of the education sector.
Our children should get an education that makes them citizens of the world and not puppets to generate private solutions to public problems.
We have an opportunity. The time is now. We need to be strategic. Invest our scarce resources to our greatest challenge which is the lack of quality instruction at all levels of education.
There is the urgent need to recruit teachers from the top 20 percent of our KCSE graduates.
Train the teachers well and purposefully aim at developing a new generation of teachers who will have the capacity and wherewithal to guide learners to become functional citizens of the 21st Century.
It is time for us to go back to our dining tables and get the conversation right.
The attitude and the general disdain in which we hold education in this country must change before we realise the education dividend and support our children to attain it though the investment we make to it as a household.
Parents in Kenya need to be particularly and singularly involved in the education of their children.
Paying fees, making technical appearances during visiting and education days is not enough.
SAVE INDUSTRY FROM COLLAPSE
As a nation, we need to re-define our values and what success means. Money has become our bane.
Our definition of a successfully good life has been limited to money and raw wealth.
This definition needs to come with decency, diligence, hard work and pride with which one wears after sweating for something-earning it rightly.
This is the moment to rescue this nation. We are at our lowest ebb and something new, more focused needs to be done to lift the national psyche for us to reclaim our fast fading glory.
Education is the silver bullet if we aim it at the right target. It has to be now.
Mr Wesaya is an Education and Strategy Expert at Tathmini Consulting; [email protected]