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BBI report: Radical changes to student admissions, teacher hiring

Readers Lounge - By Augustine Oduor | October 22nd 2020 at 08:30:03 GMT +0300
New proposals require only half of the learners to come from home county (Photo: Shutterstock)

Admission rules of children to boarding schools may change in new proposals that require only half of the learners to come from home county.

This means that the rest of the learners in boarding institutions should be admitted from the other counties to address ethnic antagonism and competition.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report released yesterday also proposes that not more than half of teachers deployed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to boarding schools should be drawn from outside home county.

“Ensure that secondary boarding schools that are publicly funded have representation from different counties amounting to at least 50 per cent of the student body. The Ministry of Education should develop a policy to guide this requirement. This recommendation should also apply to teachers,” reads the report.

Those with disabilities will be required to choose an institution from the provided list of 35 Special Needs Schools (SNEs).

It also proposes that pre-selection of students to all the SNEs, Starehe Boys and Starehe Girls, Moi Forces Academy (Nairobi and Lanet), Utumishi Academy and Moi Tea Girls be done separately.

Currently, admissions to national boarding schools are based on merit, equity and choice of schools by the candidates based on the available places in particular schools.

Selection of students to extra-county schools is based on a 20:40:40 ratio, to be shared across the host sub-county, the host county and other counties in that order.

The available places in county schools is shared out between the sub-counties on a 20:80 ratio, spread across the host sub-county and the rest of the sub-counties in that order.

All the candidates for sub-county schools are selected from the host sub-county based on merit and choice.

Uniform criteria

These criteria apply regardless of whether candidates sat Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in private or public schools.

The BBI report also proposes that the Ministry of Education adopts policy guidelines that discourage local recruitment and staffing of teachers, depending on the circumstances. TSC delocalisation policy has been divisive, with unions protesting its implementation.

Teachers' unions have argued that the process separates families and sends aged and sickly teachers far from their families, thus frustrating provision of quality education.

In its report, the BBI taskforce noted that ethnic antagonism and competition were a major threat to Kenya’s success and to the very continuity of the nation.

“To strengthen social ties and promote unity among all the communities, stakeholders recommended that the Ministry of Education review the curricula to introduce and integrate teaching of national unity, character, and cohesion to learners during their formative or early years,” says the report.

The report also recommends the review of policies in the education sector that promote social integration, especially in regard to admission to schools and institutions of higher learning.

“Kenyans agreed with the BBI report that deliberate efforts should be made to ensure a national outlook in the student and staff population in every school,” it says.

The report also proposes that programmes be put in place for cultural exchange and integration between different schools so that learners can grow to appreciate the different cultures and dynamics in Kenya.

Cultural diversity

The report proposes that school curricula feature compulsory components on history, cultural diversity, knowledge of major religions, including traditional ones, and the relationship between the Constitution and our cultures/religions.

“The Ministry of Education and TSC, in consultation with stakeholders such as parents and teachers' associations, the private schools alliance, churches and other stakeholders in the education sector, should revise the school curricula to include cultural diversity,” reads the report.

It also proposes that the capacity of teachers be built to reorient them to the new programme.

On fighting corruption, the report proposes that education curricula, from the earliest to the most advanced levels, include ethics and civic components as a prerequisite for graduation. “The Ministry of Education and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to introduce ethics and civic components in the education curricula,” it says.

It says the government is not doing enough to promote technical vocational education training and wants emphasis put on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects among young people for Kenya’s industrial growth.

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