Take all children to school; education is still the key to prosperity

Parents with learners joining Form One showed off their children’s achievements and transition as they wished them well. The focus on schools' opening is exactly what we need because education is still the key to prosperity.

The International Day of Education was marked yesterday. Its theme this year is learning for lasting peace. The world is divided because of war, conflict, violence and hate speech. There are inequalities based on gender, race, tribe and religion. Education is a mighty tool to address these challenges and prevent them in the future.

Education imparts learners with knowledge, competences, values, attitudes, skills, and behaviours which are critical for economic growth, good health, peace and security and a prosperous society.

Socio-emotional learning programmes teach personal and interpersonal competencies such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, empathy and relationship skills. This ignites a mind that is sensitive to human rights and prepares learners to identify and solve societal challenges. This contributes to a more inclusive, just and peaceful world.

Kenya’s competency-based curriculum emphasises communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, imagination and creativity, citizenship, learning to learn, self-efficacy and digital literacy. These approaches are future-oriented to impart learners with skills relevant for the 21st century. The government should then expand education budgets and allocate spending more equitably and efficiently for effective teaching and learning. Additional infrastructure, teachers, and instructional materials are needed.

While the government, researchers, learning institutions, parents and teachers are investing their energy and resources towards learning, learners too must sustain their focus on education. The Constitution guarantees every child the right to free and compulsory basic education and requires the State to take measures, including affirmative action programmes, to ensure that they access relevant education and training. Learners should be conscious of these rights and enjoy them. They must be keen to learn in and out of class. They should participate in academics, sports, music, drama and movements. They should see themselves as individuals with immense potential and abilities and sustain focus on their progress as they harbour high ambitions.

They should use the Internet and social media responsibly, stay away from drugs and alcohol and avoid negative peer pressure. They should seek personal, educational and career guidance from people of good moral standing.  Young people should always be open to learning what is beneficial.

Ms Muathe is a communications specialist