The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Ambassador Amina Mohamed has called for the need for policy and opinion leaders in education to ensure education reforms lead to actual learning of children in the country’s school system.
“There are many questions begging for answers— including whether our children are learning, and whether we are producing a relevant and appropriate labor force to propel Kenya to the next level of development,” Ambassador Mohamed said.
She expressed concern at low learning outcomes which she noted, have been the focus of a wide range of studies in the recent past.
She said this when she he launch of county education dialogues, at Maasai Mara University in Narok County yesterday. The dialogues provided an opportunity to stakeholders to interrogate the quality of education learners in basic education institutions receive and also the barriers that undermine realization of desired educational outcomes in learners.
The dialogue comes at the backdrop of reports that the Ministry of education conducted monitoring learner achievement in Class 2, 3, 6, and form two in the last four years.
These are Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) at Class 2, National Assessment System for Monitoring Learner Achievement (NASMLA) at Class 3, Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) IV at Class 6 and Monitoring Learner Achievement (MLA) at Form 2.
Amb Mohamed expressed concern that the studies revealed low acquisition of high order skills in literacy and numeracy, high percentages of overage pupils especially in Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties, as well as high pupil and teacher absenteeism, among other findings.
While these reports capture the general trend across Africa and other parts of the world, Kenya’s learners should be positioned with high performing countries such as Finland, which is consistently ranked as the highest performing country on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Area County Commissioner Mr. George Natembea said early marriages and unwanted pregnancies had undermined Girl Child education among the Maasai Community members.
He said the parents married of their daughters as young as 16 years to over 80-year-old men, saying this blighted the future of girls in the area.
“We have widows in this community as young as 20 years old,” Mr. Natembea lamented, saying this was because they were married to men who already extremely old.
He, however, challenged area Chiefs to fight t child marriages in their respective jurisdictions.
Earlier, Narok Deputy Governor Evelyne Aruasa had similarly expressed concern at rampant child marriages incidences in the area, saying the County Government would work with the National security organs to fight the problem.
The Principal Secretary for Early Learning and Basic Education, Dr. Belio Kipsang said the Ministry would compile a report after the countrywide dialogues are over, isolate areas for intervention with a view to improving educational outcomes in schools.
She was flanked by among others the Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Simon Kachapin, Principal Secretary, State Department of Early Learning and Basic Education, Dr. Belio Kipsang, Narok Deputy Governor Evelyne Aruasa, the Vice Chancellor, Maasai Mara University, Prof. Mary Walingo, Ag. CEO of the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), Ms. Mercy Karogo,Dr. Julius Jwan, CEO, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD)