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“Education reform: don’t miss the opportunity”
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“Education reform: don’t miss the opportunity”

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phptjuO1XAMKenya’s proposal for education reform is an important opportunity, writes Sunday Memba, 21, a Correspondent from Matete in Kenya, who argues that all sectors of society have a role in shaping the outcome.

The  revelation of massive examination malpractices that marred previous Kenyan national examinations (except last year) is an indictment on society.

Be that as it may, the man in the hire and fire position at the education portfolio, Cabinet Secretary Mr. Fred Matiangi, is on a move to clean the Augean stables in the KNEC (Kenya National Examination Council) corridors. He also has introduced the reform mantra, scrapping the 8-4-4 system of academia.

But as Lewis Carol puts it…if seven maids with seven mops swept it for half a year. Do you suppose…That they could get it clear? I doubt it,” said the Carpenter, and shed a bitter tear’ I, too, highly doubt that they would destroy the academic filth unless very radical measures are considered.

Sending off the top honchos last year at KNEC was a very good signal that Mr. Matiangi has taken the bull by the horns. It is rare, indeed, in official Kenya to find a scenario where a man employs his wherewithal to undertake such a brave move. In William Shakespeare’s parlance, the rate of examination malpractices has grown like hydra heads in the recent past. The results of 2015 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

It is of judicial notice that the massive cheating was aided and abetted by police officers, teachers, and students in previous years. If the Cabinet Secretary and authorities do not intend to lead us the garden way, then they must spread the net beyond KNEC so as to find how deep and minatory the whole iceberg of exam ‘thievery’ is beneath the sea. The investigations must proceed with sledgehammer directness and nothing should mar its transparency. A country whose laws recognise the rule of law must make sure that the investigations are put before an adjudicator in a court of law and the responsible individuals face the penalties stipulated by the law.

A sure fact remains that while examination leakage soared towards its zenith, the ethico-intellectual levels of the candidates took a perpendicular dive towards the nadir. This is an indictment on the whole societal well-being. Have we as a society sunk this low? But the query is not Medusa’s face and we must answer it without fear of being ‘turned into stone’. Yes, it has. While the miasma of abysmal despair looms over society, we cannot sit and watch – like Vasca the cat in Russian Stories – as filth in the education sector swells like a Michelin man. We must act. As former American president Harry Truman once put it: The buck stops here. It stops with society. Parents, priests, plumbers, teachers, lawyers and whatnot.

As mentioned, Mr. Matiangi is on a mission to undo the old 8-4-4 education system. The proposed new system is now on the altar of criticism and praise. This could not have happened at a more opportune time. Society – the peasant and the bourgeoisie alike – must now assemble its thought and produce a viable system of academic upbringing. To borrow from PLO Lumumba, we must not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. If we chasten education, we chasten society. We must revisit not only the formation, but of paramount concern, the content.  Let’s not wait for the rubber to meet the road and then start grumbling.

photo credit: igo.rs If only these boards could speak via photopin (license)

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About me: I am a young Kenyan who believes in social justice and promoting the rights of every man, woman and child. My ability to write provides one of the best platforms to address key issues in Kenya.

Currently I am a law graduate and a writer with the Nairobi Law Monthly magazine. I am also enthusiastic about writing and reading.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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