Evolution of Education System in Kenya
Evolution of Education System in Kenya. The government of Kenya vowed to combat poverty, ignorance, and sickness when the country gained independence in 1963. Its development agenda’s priorities were established by this.
The first national development plan, 1964–1970, made clear the measures to address these issues and prioritized education as the means of a developing state’s social, economic, and political development.
Following independence, the task of governing the country passed to Africans, replacing the colonial administrators, public servants, and corporate leaders. As a result, there is an urgent need to develop a pool of qualified human resources to drive the economy.
A new paradigm was necessary since the nation was emerging from the experience of colonialism, during which money had been seized and consolidated in the hands of a small group of European and Asian elites, while Africans had been disempowered and their cultural traditions had been denigrated.
It was essential to design a new, revolutionary school that would provide Africans the necessary skills for a contemporary economy. So, in order to provide a blueprint for the nation’s educational system and related policies, the government established a commission of education in 1964, which was led by Prof. Simeon Ominde.
Europeans and Asians attended elite schools that provided them with the knowledge, skills, and aptitude that allowed them to pursue rich careers and prominent positions in the government during the colonial era.
Africans, on the other hand, went through elementary school with a focus on the so-called Three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as a focus on practical skills to prepare them for labor.
The Ominde Commission had seven overarching goals, including mobilizing resources, creating national unity, and promoting African cultural norms and principles.
Ezekiel Machogu, cabinet secretary for education.
It issued broad suggestions, which the administration followed. The group offered important suggestions, chief among which were calling for a consistent educational system and doing away with racial school clustering.
As a result, the Ominde Commission suggested the 7-4-2-3 educational system, which the nation adopted and used until it was replaced by the 8-4-4 system in 1985.
In contrast to the tradition during colonial rule, where teachers were employed by many groups, including churches and municipal authorities, it also advocated for the establishment of a single employer to gather all teachers together under one administration.
Additionally, the Commission suggested offering free primary education for Standards One through Four, which was ultimately implemented in 1974.
In response to the recommendations, the government launched a significant initiative to increase the number of schools and train instructors in order to accommodate the needs of eligible youngsters seeking education. Within the first ten years of independence, the development of schools and the exponential rise in student enrollment became tangible signs of growth.
Gross enrolment in primary schools was 891,553 students in 1963; however, this number sharply increased to 1,428,000 in 1970 and doubled to 2,881,000 in 1975.
Similar patterns were seen in secondary school enrollment, which increased from 30,000 students in 1963 to 126,900 students in 1970, and then doubled to 217,400 students in 1975.
At the university level, there were 370 students in 1963, 2,300 in 1970–1971 academic year, and 5,140 in 1975–1976 academic year. In fact, this established the course for the nation’s immense expansion at all levels, which has continued to this day.
The rise of the nation’s economy was reflected in the tremendous growth of enrollment and school expansion.
Kenya saw average yearly economic growth of 6.6% from 1963 and 1972, which is known in economics as the “golden years.”
Economically advantageous circumstances spur educational advancement. Resources are easily accessible to help teaching and learning, and chances for employment and company ownership are guaranteed for graduates of schools.
The oil shocks of 1973 and later 1979, which saw prices soar astronomically and plunge economies into chaos, however, tempered the happy years. Kenya experienced a nasty shock like other nations. Plans for the economy had to be revised.
The largest burden fell on social sector services and education.
Kenya was obliged to reevaluate its educational system in light of these facts, as well as other realities like the emergence of globalization’s problems and geopolitical realignments.
In response, the government established the National Committee on Education Objectives and Policies in 1975, under the leadership of Peter Gachathi, who was serving as the ministry of education’s permanent secretary at the time.
Its comprehensive duty was to assess national educational goals and policies, harmonize them with contemporary reality, and offer recommendations on the finest educational system for the nation. In October 1976, the Committee completed and turned in its report.
Reorganizing the educational system was its principal recommendation; it suggested a nine-year basic education cycle and a four-year senior school.
This required extending primary school from seven to nine years, with the final two years serving as junior secondary school and providing instruction for upper-level courses.
On November 11, 2022, in Eldoret, members of the public express their opinions to the head of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform, chaired by Prof. David Some.
Forms Three through Six made up the four-year senior school, which was designed to offer both academic and vocational topics. The latter were designed to enable students who did not meet the requirements to enroll in university to conclude their education at that point and gain immediate access to the job market.
The Gathathi Report, though it was never put into practice, is nevertheless used as a standard by education researchers. Even so, several of its suggestions, such Junior Secondary School, were included in the Competency Based Curriculum currently being used in schools.
Similar to how its recommendations for expanding higher education were adopted by commissions that followed it, they were implemented years later.
Notably, the suggestions of the 1981 Report of the Presidential Working Party on Second University, led by Collins Mackay, led to the establishment of Moi University in 1984.
In fast succession, the Commission for Higher Education was founded in 1986 to oversee university education, and Kenyatta University College, formerly a part of the University of Nairobi, was improved and transformed into a full-fledged university in 1985.
The Gachathi Report essentially laid the groundwork for future advancements in education.
But it wasn’t until the early 1980s that Kenya’s educational system underwent a significant overhaul.
Presidential Working Party
President Daniel arap Moi, who had taken office in 1978 when Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the country’s founding president, passed away in August of that year, created a group to advise the government on higher education in 1981.
Its primary responsibility was to provide advice on pursuing higher education. It was known as the Presidential Working Party on Secondary University Education in Kenya and was presided over by Canadian scholar Dr. Collins Mackay.
The 8-4-4 system was introduced in 1985 as a result of the Presidential Working Party’s recommendation to restructure the country’s educational system, which went beyond what it was originally asked to do.
The goal of the 8-4-4 was to make students marketable by providing them with information and practical abilities, such as technical and vocational competencies.
The goal of the curriculum was to move students away from white-collar employment and toward a more practical focus by assisting them in developing practical skills and competences that would enable them to become self-sufficient. The curriculum was comprehensive but overly burdensome, which proved to be its downfall because sooner rather than later it became apparent that students were unable to keep up, necessitating its revision.
The curriculum was substantially loaded throughout the range of disciplines at the basic and secondary levels, according to two reviews undertaken in 1995 and 2002, which ultimately resulted in significant revisions in the content.
The 8-4-4 lost its appeal because these reviews had the unintended consequence of making the curriculum insufficient to meet the needs of a country on the cusp of an industrial and technological takeoff.
Charles Ringera, CEO of the Higher Education Loans Board
After the unveiling of the new university education funding model on May 3, Higher Education Loans Board CEO Charles Ringera took questions from the media at State House in Nairobi.
The need for curriculum change has been supported by international programs like the Sustainable Development Goals and Education for All (EFA).
In order to provide advice on a new educational strategy, the government established a new taskforce in 2012 under the direction of Prof. Douglas Odhiambo, a former vice-chancellor of Moi University.
Competency Based Curriculum
The group released the Task Force Report on the Re-alignment of the Education Sector, which made a new educational system proposal that placed more focus on competence than merely acquiring knowledge.
The Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), which has been introduced in schools since 2017, was established as a result of this.
Theoretically, CBC is not an educational system but rather a paradigm. The system is divided into four distinct levels for ease of reference, with the early years lasting two years, primary education lasting six years, junior secondary lasting three years, senior school lasting three years, and university and tertiary lasting at least three years each (2-6-3-3-3).
Seven pillars serve as the foundation of CBC: self-efficacy, creativity and imagination, critical thinking and problem-solving, citizenship, digital literacy, and learning to learn.
As a result of low financing, a severe teacher shortage, and subpar facilities, the new curriculum is still in its infancy. The pioneer CBC cohort began junior secondary school this year.
The fact that the current administration hasn’t presented a clear plan for guiding the new system just makes things worse.
Examining Kenya’s educational system reveals how closely it is related to the current political and economic climate. The government made significant investments in education from the start of independence until 1970, with impressive structural, administrative, and professional benefits.
The education sector, however, suffered greatly from the economic downturn that began in the late 1970s and lasted far into the 1980s.
Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) were implemented by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the 1980s with the goal of rescuing developing countries, including Kenya, from economic stagnation. However, the effects were severe.
Cost-sharing was introduced as a result of countries being obliged to reduce spending in social sectors like education and health.
Instead of continuing to fund education, the government required towns and parents to build schools and pay for the majority of ongoing expenses. Primary school levies were heavily increased, while secondary and university tuition was increased.
The overall impact was a sharp decline in enrollments.
For instance, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reported that in 1999, 1.6 million eligible children were not attending school.
President Mwai Kibaki declared free primary education and abolished all taxes after the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) won the general election in 2002.
And at once, enrollment increased sharply. The Coalition Government then implemented secondary school subsidies in 2009, paying tuition fees for all students, which resulted in a decrease in fees. This has persisted up till now.
Evolution of Education System in Kenya
Though the commitment is decreasing, payments to schools have been sporadic, possibly as a result of high enrollment and dwindling government funds. Particularly secondary schools are drowning in debt.
The main issue, though, is with universities. The higher education system is in utter disarray as a result of years of reckless expansion and bad planning.
Things have never been the same since the cost-sharing policy was implemented in response to the recommendations made in the Kamunge Report by the Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond. Since the government began implementing a cost-sharing strategy in universities in 1991, funding has been steadily declining.
As a result, universities are hemorrhaging, which is reflected in the poor infrastructure for teaching and learning, the dire need for more professors, the overwhelming number of students, and the resulting grave reduction in educational quality.
Given the regular strikes by academics and students—the former over low pay and the latter for subpar services—universities no longer have any degree of stability.
The government recently undertook a redefining of the funding model for universities, moving away from the prior system in which government sponsored all applicants for admission and now concentrating solely on the needy.
Kenya’s Education System Has Changed
The new model’s specifics have not been fully explained, but in general, the government will only provide financial aid to a small number of needy students while leaving the majority to fend for themselves.
The difficult burden of revitalizing the education system falls currently on the shoulders of the current administration.
Evolution of Education System in Kenya
A working group headed by Prof. Raphael Munavu, a former vice-chancellor of Moi University, was established by President William Ruto in November to provide advice on the future of education. However, the complete results of this group’s work have not yet been made public.
The working group must finish its assignment and deliver the education roadmap.
The Ruto administration must strategically reassess the education sector as we commemorate our 60th year of independence.
The industry needs adequate funding. Effective teacher management and equitable compensation, revamping university education, and bolstering technical and vocational training and education are of utmost importance.
This demands effective leadership.