The results of the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Seconday Education (KCSE) examination were released last Saturday. That said, our style of announcing the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and KCSE results leave much to be desired.
The practice of naming top KCPE/KCSE candidates and their respective schools is an indication of how our education system is not skills-driven but geared towards the creation of job seekers, rather than job creators.
It is about glorifying short-term academic performance.
High unemployment rates are attributed to the poor colonial education system that we adopted, which is regarded as elitist, academically oriented and less practical/technical.
One of the key strategies of implementing Vision 2030 should be immediate reform of the education sector to align it with the human resource needs in the other productive sectors.
Our education system does not recognise talent! I want to say this: There is nothing like a top KCSE student. And nothing like bottom KCSE student. We all have different abilities. Some are good at academics, others are talented in sports, arts, music, et cetera.
It is rare to see established democracies like the US and UK, or Sweden celebrating academic excellence nationally. But they “build talent.” They have the best in soccer and basketball, which Kenya cannot match.
They invent technology because they give a chance for talent to develop. But in our case, an entire government wants to make a few students feel like they are on top of the world, when in the real sense, they are not.
And in any case, this country is not creating jobs. We have many graduates who are jobless. What is there to celebrate? You work so hard to excel only for the next politically correct person to get the job, or promotion. It is useless!
The culture of announcing results is totally backward, and stale. It is useless and must stop! This is what the good Prof George Magoha must note to end this colonial mentality.
The government needs to consider holistically reforming the education system if we are to focus on skills development. Primary school education should focus on setting a solid foundation or building blocks for the child’s education. At primary school level, children should master reading, writing and arithmetic.
It is important that we emphasise improving pupils’ reading ability in the crucial first few years of a child’s school career because every child’s education stems from their ability to read well.
Currently, teachers both in primary and secondary schools are focusing on training students to pass the terminal national examination instead of imparting these essential skills.
There are skills that are necessary at primary school level but are not examined in the KCPE examination and, as a result, teachers focus less on such life skills.
A good system of education should give all pupils an opportunity to prosper not one that condemns pupils as failures just because they did not attain the pass mark.
Finally, the government as a matter of policy must reconsider the cost of our primary system of education.
For instance, what is the logic of asking parent to buy a textbook worth Sh600 that will only be used for one year?