Lobby groups push for empowerment, innovation in education

Education stakeholders advocate for equity-focused policies amidst growing disparities. [Standard, File]

Education stakeholders are urging the government to prioritise policies that promote equity over equality in the education sector.

The lobbyists say current policies, including the recent education funding model, lean towards equality and fail to adequately address equity gaps.

“Innovative practices in education could meet the needs of today’s learners,” the lobbyists argue.

 Evans Okinyi, CEO of the East African Philanthropy Network, stressed the significant barriers faced by students in rural and underserved areas.

 “The 2020 Kenya Economic Update revealed these challenges, impacting equitable access to education. A comprehensive strategy that includes technology, community engagement, and policy innovation is essential. This strategy must be executed through partnerships between the government, philanthropic organisations, and the private sector to dismantle systemic barriers to education,” he stated.

Okinyi further noted that national averages conceal inequities in the education sector.

“The new funding model for higher education, while well-intentioned, may worsen equity gaps. The poor could be further marginalised unless the tool and process are implemented with integrity,” he cautioned.

The forum observed that the Kenyan education landscape faces complex and critical challenges, from inequitable access and disparities in quality across socio-economic and geographical divides to the need for resilience in educational delivery mechanisms amid global crises.

John Mugo, CEO of Zizi Africa, said, “Education is constantly evolving, presenting challenges and opportunities. We must be agile and innovative, embracing not only technological advancements but also pedagogies and programmes that engage and empower learners.”

The working group, part of the East African Philanthropy Network, spans various sectors, including community philanthropy, health, climate philanthropy, impact investing, international affairs, youth and social enterprise, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Despite technological integration in education, significant barriers to digital access and literacy persist, especially in marginalised communities.

 “In our pursuit of educational equity, we must venture beyond the familiar to untapped areas brimming with potential. Our success will be measured by our ability to discover and foster talent in the most remote and underserved communities,” Mugo added.

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