The Kenyan education system is in a state of crisis. The country has been struggling to educate its citizens for many years, and the problem does not seem to be improving anytime soon.
There are many obstacles that face Kenya’s education system, and these challenges must be met head on if students are ever going to receive an effective education.
In this blog post we will discuss some of the key issues facing Kenyan schools today and their solutions.
First, we must discuss the issue of teacher pay. The Kenyan government has been unable to provide adequate salaries for its teachers for so many years. Teachers are often forced to work multiple jobs just so they can buy food and make ends meet month-to-month. With little time or money dedicated towards their profession, it is no wonder that many teachers are not performing well in their jobs.
A teacher in Kenya impacts the lives of many children. They are the ones students go to when they need help or a compassionate ear, and teachers often provide more than just academic knowledge. They teach life skills that can be used for years to come yet in all these they are the most underpaid profession in Kenya.
The solution is that the government should increase teachers’ salaries dramatically so that schools will have staff members who feel valued and respected in their positions.
Insufficient learning materials
The second issue involves the lack of books and materials for students to use while they are attending school, especially at lower levels. Without proper resources available for children to learn with, the quality of education in many Kenyan public schools is greatly affected.
Parents are forced to purchase learning materials on their own dime. With many Kenyans living below the poverty line, this is a big expense.
The government should provide an adequate amount of books and other learning materials to public schools so that children have access to them without having to buy their own supplies.
For long time in Kenya, the girl child had been denied their right to education. Due to archaic traditions, there are parents who still believe that educating a girl child is a waste of resources as she will be married off eventually.
As a result more boys attend school than girls.This has led to poverty and high levels of unemployment for women.
Although the government has made huge strides in addressing gender inequality by creating awareness on why gender equality matters, a lot more needs to be done to ensure that all children, irrespective of gender are given equal opportunities.
Lack of enough schools
There are not enough public schools available for children to attend. This leads to many children walking long distances to attend school and also overcrowding of classes. A school like Olympic school in Kibera has a population of 200 kids per class. Due to this, the quality of education is highly compromised.
The government ought to allocate more money to the constituency development fund(CDF)which is a fund whose one of its mandate is building schools.
Lack of enough teachers
Kenya has a high teacher to student ratio, which means that many schools lack the necessary number of teachers. Some schools like Olympic primary have one full time teacher for every three classes and also some part-time staff who are not qualified in teaching. This is very detrimental as it leads to unruly behavior from students and also teachers wasting time on disciplinary issues.
The government should employ more qualified teachers in order to reduce the number of classes per teacher and so that every student is given an adequate amount of attention.
Without money flowing into Kenya’s economy ,it is hard to pay for a good education. In families living below the poverty line, many children are forced into child labor in order to help their families survive .This means that instead of going to school and getting an education for themselves, they make money working in farms or as hawkers selling goods on the street.
The solution to this problem is poverty alleviation. The government should strive to empower the poor by providing them with job opportunities, skills training and the tools necessary for them to generate an income for themselves and their families.
Lack of adequate facilities
Kenya has a very high population density often leading to overcrowding at some schools with classrooms overflowing with pupils who have no desks or chairs. Most public schools lack resources like classes, toilets, or desks because there isn’t enough money coming in from the government to address this issue
The government should ensure that all public schools have ample resources needed to provide quality education by allocating the budget appropriately.
It should also ensure that all public schools have access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities for students, teachers and the general public .This is important because it helps prevent diseases like malaria or diarrhea in school children.
High dropout rate
A major hindrance in education achievement is the high dropout rate. Poverty, unemployment, poor health and drug abuse are some of the factors that cause students to abandon their studies early on.
Although the government has made major strides in ensuring students stay in school till they complete their secondary education, a lot more needs to be done to ensure 100 percent transition from primary to secondary and completion of high school education.
Quality of Education
The current 8-4-4 system is more exam oriented rather than focusing on instilling practical, creative and critical thinking skills. It also does little in nurturing a student’s potential gifts and talents.
The government is currently addressing this challenge by rolling out the competence based curriculum that is more holistic, socially inclusive and focused on an individual student strengths. It also focuses on instilling vocational skills needed for employment and entrepreneurship so that a student can be self-reliant and not depend on the government for income.
Most girls in rural areas in Kenya often get pregnant at an early age thus resulting to early school dropouts. Most of these girls are either unable to continue their education or they have to give up on it altogether because of the stigma that is associated with being pregnant.
The government in conjunction with the county women representatives should sensitize girls on the dangers of teenage pregnancies and teach them on how to keep themselves safe. Teenage mothers should also be encouraged to return back to school as education is a human right. It should be made available for all including girls who are pregnant.
Corruption is another major challenge affecting education in Kenya. In the recent past, leaders of educational institutions have been found guilty of embezzling funds from government budgets allocated for schools and colleges. This has led to lack of funding to procure learning materials and also construct the necessary infrastructure needed in schools.
The government should strive to weed out corruption from the education sector in order to improve on access, quality and equity of education by all Kenyans.
Frequent teacher strikes is another major challenge affecting education in Kenya. Strikes are often a result of disputes over pay, lack of funds for the government to adequately fund schools, teachers’ low salaries and poor working conditions. This results in the closure of schools and this subsequently leads to students staying at home. As a result, many children are either not attending school at all or must attend classes without any teaching staff present- which means that they do not get anything out of class.
It is important for government officials, local authorities and teachers unions to work together on finding a solution that will be beneficial for both parties involved. This means coming up with a sustainable plan which would not put students at risk as well as securing the future of teachers.
Teachers are often absent from school because of low salaries and poor working conditions. Most teachers often run side hustles in order to make ends meet, meaning that they cannot give their whole attention and energy to the teaching job.
There needs to be some sort of solution set in place so that teachers are not constantly absent from school due to financial worries or issues with working conditions. This could involve a plan for providing better salaries and working trems in order to keep teachers present at school.
Competition among schools
Unhealthy competition among schools leads to them concentrating on passing exams rather than instilling the necessary skills and knowledge that students need to succeed in life.
The solution is for the ministry of education to abolish ranking of schools to avoid unfair competition.
The ministry could also work with stakeholders in order to create a framework of standards and benchmarks for schools that are appropriate for the country’s context, which would make it easier for parents to choose which school is right for their child; this way all schools will be encouraged to implement these high standards.
Education in Kenya is predominantly public, and government officials are expected to advocate for the policies of the party in power.
This is a significant problem because politicians will often abuse their influence over the education system to appoint loyalists as directors or make budget allocations that suit them rather than acting in accordance with Kenya’s need for education.
Educational reforms should be free of political influence so that the system can be more effective.
In conclusion, the education system in Kenya is facing many challenges. The government needs to take these problems head on if they want to create better opportunities for the future generations of Kenyans.
I hope this blog post has given you some insight into what’s going on with education in Kenya today as well as what can be done to improve it!