Education Reform in Kenya

I came across an article titled “The Golden Age of Education” which is really about the problems with education in the developed world. I read it and felt it was talking about the exact problems facing education in Kenya. Here’s a few paragraphs:

“10 years ago, if you did well in high school you’d get into college. If you went to college and finished your degree, with fairly high likelihood you could get a job with a respectable salary. Nothing in the world is ever truly a given, but I think it’s fair to say that what arose in colleges were certain tracks that you could follow to the end where there was a job waiting for you. If you studied Finance, Engineering, or Business, you were competing for the best jobs but you always had a fallback. Most other majors were in a similar albeit slightly less comfortable position. The occasional philosophy major aside, the career outlook was looking fairly bright. It’s in the news every day now though, the demand for jobs is not being met – winter’s coming or is already here.

There are a lot of theories floating around on what is the fundamental cause of the prevalent high unemployment rate, and with any complex problem the answer is probably some mixture of everything. A bad economy, jobs being displaced by software, and a generation not trained for the demands of modern society all likely factor into our current predicament.

It’s that last one that keeps me up at night. We spend 20 years educating our youth for a job that they will spend an average of four and a half years at, going through roughly 11 different jobs between the ages of 18 and 44 . The curricula taught at universities are completely out of date and out of sync with industries, and for most people you get a total of four years of professional education for the next 50 years of your life despite the fact that industries are created and destroyed in the span of a decade today.” [Read More]

Does this not just speak “Kenya” to you? In fact, I’d wager that in Kenya things are much, much worse. How many students who sat for their KCSE last year will even get the opportunity to go to University/College? Worse, how many university graduates will get good, well-paying jobs? Things do not look good at all in Kenya, do they?

In stark contrast, here’s an article about the remarkable success of the Finnish education system. Please read that article, it speaks of a drastically different approach to education that was taken by the Finnish government in an effort to reform its education system.

This is the kind of reform we need in Kenya. We do not need to make slight adjustment to the KCPE or to reduce the number of examinable subjects, we need to take a hard long look at our education system as a whole and pursue a wide far-reaching goal of reforming it as a whole (not just parts of it).

In university, I was in a class of about 50+ people. To this day, I know of only a handful who have found good, well-paying jobs or have started businesses. This has to stop. We need to commit ourselves to wholesome educational reform. Now.

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