By Jesse Masai
The Kenyan Government, wags online continue to suggest, is harping on its flute while the education sector burns.
In Trans Nzoia County, reports continue to stream in of learning paralysed by a cartel stealing and exporting much needed textbooks to a neighboring – and, by all official accounts, friendly - country.
In South Africa, there hasn’t been a shortage of criticism over the government’s failure to supply textbooks to schools that need them, in time.
Indeed, a legislator here much wondered how a system that could effortlessly distribute and retail in Castle Lager – their version of Tusker – to the minutest of villages, yet not as vigorously distribute the textbooks. Quite frankly too, there exists an intense and frequent debate on much else that still begs for attention in South Africa’s education sector.
Bread issues aren’t entirely sorted out either, but teachers appear keen to continue eating their chalk.
The teaching profession has been dignified by no less than the parent ministry, what is referred to here as the Department of Education. Sample this pitch that I saw, on a notice board, in a physics high school class in Stellenbosch: “South Africans across the land want a batter future for all. Become a teacher and make this vision a reality in South Africa. Teaching makes a difference. Apply for admission at a university of your choice. Contact the university’s Financial Aid office about the Fundza Lushaka Bursary for Teaching. Visit this website for more information: www.education.gov.za”.
Am not certain how those handling the education in Nairobi might best sex up the sector, but their counterparts here seem to have found a way to make teaching attractive to younger minds.
Teachers, in the post-apartheid era, are keen to raise a generation that integrates values with learning.
A direct consequence of this in a school I have visited in Stellenbosch has been pupils driven by excellence, integrity, respect, bonding, trust in God and unconditional acceptance of self and others.
The “God’ bit doesn’t particularly excite some, but results are there for all to see in the high enrollments, excellent performances in and out of the classroom, and holistic formation of young minds graduating in the end.
In another school – the one that had teachers being courted from a physics class – a teacher has understood father-son relations as having a direct impact on the quality of learning among his pupils.