August 9

Kenya Kwanza chalks up marks in education field

Thursday, June 30th, 2022 22:42 | By
A teacher and her students in class. In its manifesto, Kenya Kwanza Alliance commits to equitable universal education — defined as 12 years of schooling. PD/FILE
A teacher and her students in class. In its manifesto, Kenya Kwanza Alliance commits to equitable universal education — defined as 12 years of schooling. PD/FILE

Kenya Kwanza Alliance promises to review the current exam-based system of academic progression if it forms the next government after the August 9 General Election.

In the manifesto launched on Thursday by Deputy President William Ruto, it is argued that the current system has excluded millions of learners, based on basic education exit exams, by implementing alternative entry criteria. The alliance also assured that it would address all education inequities and seek to level the playing field for all children, irrespective of their background.

They committed to equitable universal basic education — defined as 12 years of schooling.

“Universal primary education was achieved through Free Primary Education, but education outcomes remain highly inequitable. Considerable progress has been made towards universal secondary education, but the tiered system —  because of boarding costs — put equipped national schools out of the reach of the poor,” reads the manifesto.

Big sacrifice

The manifesto says the cost of joining a boarding secondary school is now Sh80,000 which, even for working Kenyans, is a big sacrifice. And while bursaries mitigate some of these biases, they are far from adequate.

It is against this backdrop that the Kenya Kwanza Alliance has committed to addressing inequalities in the education sector. The alliance’s manifesto states that if the team forms the next government: “We will improve the capacity of day secondary schools to guarantee access to quality education and reduce the cost of education,” reads the manifesto.

They have also committed to paying for in-service teacher training initiated by the government as wellbridgingidge the current teacher shortage of 116,000 within two financial years.

Kenya Kwanza has also promised to establish a one-year paid national internship programme for all students graduating from teachers, technical, and medical colleges and universities, by collaborating with industry players.

“We will introduce a Special Service Tariff for all learning institutions for basic utilities to facilitate lower prices of goods and services, such as electricity and food,” it states.

The alliance also plans to establish national skills and funding council that merges Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), technical training and vocational education training institutions (TVET), and University Funding Board, besides increasing funding to bridge the current 45 per cent gap.

They will also seek to have fully equipped TVETs in the remaining 52 constituencies within the first two years of office.

In its manifesto, Kenya Kwanza commits to setting up a National Open University to increase access to affordable university education while making a 100 per cent transition to higher education a reality.

They promise to increase funding to research and development institutions from the current 0.8 per cent to 2 per cent of GDP, by the Science and Technology Innovation (ST&I) Act 2013, in line with the alliance’s bottom-up economic agenda.

Similarly, incentives will be given to the private sector to contribute to research.

They also committed to double the amount of money allocated to the school feeding programme to immediately raise the number of beneficiaries from two million to four million, as well as provide conditional grants to county governments to raise the number to eight million students.

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