Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Enigma of the Education system.

Having talked about living this morning- I figured I could shed some light on what I found out about the education system in Kenya.
The Ministry of Education  in Kenya believes in quality education for development- and with so much going on and facing a lot of criticism- it published the Basic Education Act no. 14 this year. This was to ensure an upgrade of the system came into place.
I think a little of it did materialize- this came in form of weeks kids spend in school- and no tuition which means that kids can actually play and visit their grandparents like we did back in the 90s.
But inasmuch as this was done- one great shortfall of this Act is the syllabus- and the desire to finish it in one term!
Yes, kids have no holiday tuition but they get tonnes of homework!
Now- let's get moving and look at the 8-4-4 system. It was formally enacted in 1985 by the then president Moi (a teacher too) with the hope of seeing that children have a strong foundation as they grow old. But, looking at it I daresay the guy was a little brilliant. 
I mean 4 years in high school?
Why couldn't he make that 3? He could not because cognitively speaking (am talking mental development) adolescence is a very turbulent time as one seeks to make peace with what he/she is discovering versus what his/her parents have been saying for the past thirteen years! It's not an easy time and Psychologists understand that education is much of a chore and a bore at this stage yet it is the most important if one seeks to make anything out of their lives if they want. While we're at it, read Learning, knowledge and Meaning by Julian Stodd - it's got quite some insights!

Baba Moi may have had the best in mind for Kenyans when he came up with the 8-4-4 system- and Lord knows our parents and their peers benefited from the previous systems in place because then you were out of college and hired. Kenya was fresh- and her people were making a mark in the world having just attained independence.
But if there's one thing we forgot was that society is dynamic.
People can be complacent at work- but not when it comes to interaction- there's always new stuff and new events and then came the internet and technology has been on a roll! I have a friend who does IT (Information Systems) and he's always talking code! Always online and chatting with other students on Google+ (which I think is still way better than Facebook ) about new programs, new inputs and what's working and what's not. He says"IT never sleeps, it's worse than fashion- you women can have a style for a season- but in IT every time a new development is unveiled."

Society is that dynamic- hence the frustration. #TheGraduateDiaries got me thinking about so many things when it comes to education, and please let's wallow in our thoughts here:
  1. What was your favorite subject in primary school?
  2. What was your worst subject in high school?
  3. Were you in any clubs or sports activity in high school?
  4. Did you ever get punished in high school? (I am talking extreme punishment like digging the staff quarter's shamba, making school porridge, uprooting a tree stump when it's 33 degrees hot, wiping the dust of tree leaves, walking on gravel on your knees,cleaning a whole church with just one basin of water?) How many times did you get such punishments?
  5. What did you learn out of your first 12 years of school experience?
Now, let's flip this and look at management:
Most parents and schools hold that education is the key to a better future- but have aims or motto's that contradict this.

What was your school's motto?

Most primary schools say "knowledge is power."
It is neither true nor false- but if this knowledge is streamlined and biased, such that it comes from one source and not another- then it is indeed power. This is in the case of teachers lecturing- them saying what they rehearsed from the textbooks to children- and not allowing the children to explore this new information; hence the teacher has power over the student. The power of locking their minds using their authority status. He/she is the teacher- and you are the student.
Knowledge is power unto the teacher- but not the student.

So, does this help? How can we remedy the education system?
Question is how much are you willing to do- and involve yourself in- when it comes to creating an environment that neither confines nor defines?

PS: Picture's from Google Pics.
How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?