Kenyans hope in review of education curriculum
12 April 2016, 13:03
Nakuru (Xinhua) -- As she sat for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2003, Gladys Moraa had only one aim; becoming a lawyer to prosecute those who violate the rights of children and women.
But when the results were released in the following year, the Kenyan citizen now in her late 20s had failed to garner cluster points to enable her to join law school.
Moraa had obtained an average score of 63 points, equivalent to B plain in Kenya's high school scoring standards.
"I applied to join law school on a parallel program in two public universities that mainly offered law at the time, but my applications were both rejected. I gave up and finally enrolled for journalism. I still wish I could get a chance to study law. I always wanted to be a lawyer," Moraa, who now runs communications for a NGO-based in Nakuru in Kenya's Rift Valley region, told Xinhua on Monday.
Meanwhile, Ann Wairimu, in her early 20s, works in a salon in Nakuru town, northwest of Nairobi, despite spending 18 months studying Sales and Marketing.
Moraa and Wairimu are products of the country's 8-4-4 education system which has been blamed for producing graduates who are least prepared for the job market due to their inadequacy in skills needed for the formal and informal employment.
Now the government through the Ministry of Education intends to review the curriculum to devote focus on building talents, abilities and interests of the learners, eliminating hindrances into dream career on basis of collective failure or low scores in subjects irrelevant to a learner's course of choice.
The 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum currently under deliberation with guidance of a committee chaired by the Education Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang'i and whose membership is drawn from religious institutions, universities, civil society and teachers unions, is expected to address educational development issues related to Moraa and Wairimu.
Under the proposed system, the primary education would be divided into pre-primary where pupils could spend two years before proceeding to primary for a learning period of six years.
They would then join junior secondary school for three years after which they could spend another three years in senior secondary, a level in which training could aligned with the students' interests and abilities.
For the three years in senior secondary, one could be expected to specialize on what he or she intends to pursue as a career in the university or college for three more years.
Dr Emmanuel Manyasa, the County Manager for Uwezo Kenya at the Twaweza East Africa, believes provision for specialization in the education program could address joblessness and wastage of resources.
"The new curriculum offers three years in specialization on one's interests, talents or abilities. This is very important because it relieves the society the burden of spending money in training one on skills that he or she will not use in the long term to gain an income or make a living," Manyasa said.
Thus if the new curriculum is approved and consequently implemented, the East African nation could be offering the young generation an opportunity to sharpen their competencies in what they desire and further build their careers as formal or informal employees.
And such more of Kenyans like Moraa and Wairimu could find it easier to penetrate in the Kenyan employment sector, which requires at least 800,000 new jobs annually to absorb fresh graduates.
Almost 80 percent of the graduates released from the Kenyan universities annually fail to secure jobs as a result of a combination of factors including a slowed economy, forcing many firms to shed off workforce instead of employing and producing graduates with irrelevant skills or are poorly trained.
Based on the proposed structure, proceeding to the next level of education would be pegged on continuous assessment examination, evaluating the learners' competencies and abilities. This is expected to eliminate students' knock-out into pursuing a career on basis of failing subjects irrelevant to the learner's interest.
Going forward, the Kenyan child could then not be subjected to Moraa's experience who still wishes she had a chance to revisit her studies and pursue a career in law.