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UN raises alarm over poor quality of education in Kenya

UREPORT
By David Kipkorir | March 5th 2016

The United Nations has expressed concern about the low quality of education and the rapid increase of private and informal schools in Kenya.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in a recent report raised an alarm over what it termed as the lack of regulation and donor support in education in Kenya.

“The mushrooming of private and informal schools funded by foreign organizations are providing sub-standard education and deepening inequalities”, said the Committee.

The Committee has further urged the Kenyan Government to guarantee the legal right to free mandatory education for all, without direct or hidden costs.

It insisted that Kenya should prioritize free primary quality education at public schools over private schools and informal low costs schools.

“Kenya should regulate and monitor the quality of education provided by private informal schools in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child”, added the report.

The observations by the CRC come against a background of mounting concerns over commercialization of education in Kenya, and in Africa.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General, Wilson Sossion has been raising concern over mushrooming private schools.

He recently said the quality of education in some private schools was poor.

“The ordinary private schools that we know of are doing well and we have no issue with them, but now there are private schools that are not following the approved curriculum and they are meant to deceive the poor”, said Sossion.

He warned parents not to take their children to such schools, citing that they do not have qualified teachers.

He said the union is opposed to the high fee charged, low quality of education offered, pupils being handled by untrained teachers and worse some schools using curriculum not approved by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) as required by law.

“Reducing education to a business distorts the purpose of good quality public education”, warned the unionist.

Sossion said the union over the years had witnessed a growing support of the authorities of private schools, including private multinational companies that come to make profit out of poor Kenyan children.

“This is not acceptable, as it violates the right to free quality education guaranteed in both the Kenyan constitution and international law ratified by Kenya”, observed Sossion.

Recently during a surprise inspection tour of informal schools, Education Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i was shocked by the poor education standards and learning environment subjected to students in the areas.

He described as unsafe; the conditions children undertake their studies in informal settlements.

Matiang’i promised that the government would ensure that alternative schools complied with standards to ensure quality education as well as the well-being of the children.

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