Explore more ways to tap youth talent

A group of youth enjoy fun at Rupaz Fun and Fitness Centre during the Burudika festival on the eve of Christmas Day celebrations. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

This week marked another milestone for the education sector with the reduction of learning areas in the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). 

According to the new plan by the Ministry of Education, which is based on the recommendations of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms, subjects taught in Junior Schools have been reduced from 14 to nine, alongside the dropping of the name ‘secondary’ from junior and senior levels of education for the basic level of education.

There is also a proposal to introduce mandatory community service for students transitioning from Senior School to universities and TVET institutions.

This brings to mind the requirement in the 1980s when those joining university were required to undergo paramilitary training at the National Youth Service.

The plan was abandoned when students proved a force to reckon with regular and General Service Unit (GSU) officers, themselves highly trained, during protests in the late 1980s. 

There are many advantages of introducing community service programmes among learners, including helping build up their consciousness of discipline, preparing them for an intensive new term with the endurance and getting new classes more united.

However, the government must be aware that most learners may not be interested in joining the military and other disciplined services and instead, would be desirous of pursuing interests in other fields.

For this reason, we urge the government to entrench the Talanta programme in schools to ensure no talent is left out. It is disappointing that despite public pronouncements, there has been no evidence of adequate financial support to youth talent development in sports. 

In the last few days, the exploits of tennis player Angela Okutoyi at the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour (W25) tournament, and others before that, show education is not the only pillar that would propel youth to greatness. For this reason, we urge the authorities to explore more ways of tapping into raw talent among the youth while preparing them for a dynamic future. For instance, there are new trends brought on by social media, mobile phones and advancement in technology. 

Still, the Ministry of Education should address concerns among CBC teachers, parents and the learners themselves. While implementing the new system, there will be challenges that must be addressed instantly.

Parents and teachers should be briefed constantly on what is required of them and guided accordingly. Challenges must not be allowed to overwhelm the teachers or parents at any one time. 

That said, the government must also invest enough resources to hire and train enough teachers across the country. No region should be left behind so as not to disadvantage any Kenyan learner.