Let’s invest more in secondary schools
Form One students report to class this week amid numerous challenges faced by school administrations—from low funding to an increase in the cost of goods—which has reduced the institutions’ purchasing power.
Although the government has been spending a humongous amount on the sector, including salaries for teachers and hiring more to meet the demand, there is need to explore further methods of boosting investment in secondary education, including partnering with donors to make this possible.
Education has changed over time and there is need to align what children learn with the skills they will need in the fourth industrial revolution, which is transforming the future of the workplace. As a result, the government ought to invest more in researching education needs and priorities to ensure what secondary school students learn prepares them for the emerging and anticipated challenges in the workplace. Teachers should also be trained constantly to align lessons and teaching methods with the needs so that they are made to appreciate the critical role they play in preparing the youngsters for the challenges of the future.
Headteachers have in the past indicated that the capitation provided by the government is hardly sufficient to meet their schools’ multitude of needs and obligations. As such, there is need for innovation in the way schools are funded. For instance, institutions with large tracts of land ought to be facilitated to grow food crops and keep livestock for sale and to provide an affordable source of meals for learners and teachers.
In the same breath, government institutions like prisons, which have large swathes of arable land can be encouraged to supply food to public schools at a fair price to create a win-win partnership and save schools from paying market rates for consumables. In addition, there is need to help learners connect the dots between what they learn in class and how it can be commercialised so that they appreciate early the nexus between knowledge and economic growth at a personal and collective level. This is a critical lesson that has not been emphasised enough in the past because teachers are more concerned about grades and mean scores rather than imparting knowledge that can be applied to problem solving and value creation.