Desirable reforms in education can be achieved by Sessional Paper

Wilson Sossion. [File, Standard]

Education, training and research is a major platform for socio-economic transformation – and if the Government is committed to transform education and training to achieve economic change, Kenyans have to embrace 2022 as the defining moment of the country’s education, considering that it is a transitional year.

Transition in national governance comes about when Kenya is aiming at a moving target –  the Education 2030 Agenda. It is worth noting that the Government’s efforts towards the realisation of Education For All (EFA) experienced a number of challenges which included high poverty levels, shortage of teachers and inadequate financial resources.

Therefore, if significant and desirable reforms are to be made in the country’s education, then major decisions by all stakeholders have to be made based on revised Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019 – if not, a fresh Sessional Paper has to be drafted with full participation of cardinal players in the sector before passed over to Parliament for approval.

To avoid past oversights, errors and inaccuracies like the experience we had with faulty Competency Based Education where the flawed curriculum was rolled out in 2017 before the launch of the Sessional Paper No. 1 2019, the National Curriculum Policy (2018) and Basic Education Statistical Report (2019) – in 2022 being a year of change, the Government needs to get its chemistry correct by drafting a thorough, well-thought out and comprehensive Paper that will guide policy framework on education and training reforms with the view of achieving Universal Education, and by extension, Education 2030 targets.

Unlike in the past where the Sessional Paper was erratically crafted with the exclusion of principal stakeholders in the Education sector and hurriedly passed over to Parliament for approval, in 2022, the year that will arguably mark change in education and training, the incoming government will be compelled to prepare an all-inclusive, encyclopaedic and catholic Sessional Paper to guide education and training to greater heights in the post-Jubilee era.

Being a clinical year, 2022 should be treated with utmost wariness and heed considering that the change of guard could easily come with various challenges in the Education sector, including serious funding gaps which are as a result of existing ill-conceived budgets, poor policies and lack of strategic planning.

The long-and-short of it is that, the new Sessional Paper as a matter of priority and urgency should focus on establishment of the National Education Account as recommended by UNESCO to assist in raising funds for educational programmes on an international platform.

The tag Free Primary and Secondary Education is misused by government officials for public relations exercise. There is no free education in Kenya. Therefore, the Paper should put much emphasis on Free Primary and Secondary Education; equal access to quality Pre-primary education; Curriculum review; affordable vocational, technical and university education and infrastructural development among others.

Hon Wilson Sossion is a member of Parliamentary Committees on Education and Labour.      

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