Challages Facing Education in Kenya
- Lack of adequate infrastructure and shortage of permanent classrooms in primary schools, particularly in poor counties. For example in North Eastern parts of the country.
- Lack of clear legal guidelines on the implementation of inclusive education and non formal education programs. The guidelines provided for implementation of educational plan are always inefficient.
- Lack of reliable data on children with special needs, out-of-school children and illiterate adults and youth. This results due to inadequate machines and personnel in collecting, analyzing and recording correct data.
- Shortfall of adult literacy teachers as well as teaching and learning materials. There are no proper motivation and clear follow up on adult education which discourages education in this level.
- Low transition rates from primary to secondary, secondary to higher education institutions, and higher education to special fields or job market.
- Outdated curricula for technical, vocational education and training.
- Inadequate physical facilities for technical, vocational education and training as well as mechanisms for quality assurance;
- Limited resources for expansion of universities to cope with the number of students leaving secondary schools.
- Mismatch between skills offered by universities and the demands of the labour market.
- High number of HIV/AIDS orphans.
- High pupils to teacher ratios in densely populated areas and low pupil to teacher ratios in less populated regions.
- Due to the need to contain the wage bull o manageable levels, the government does not employ new teachers, but only replaces those who leave through death, resignation or retirement. This has led to shortfall of teachers in schools.
Components of Formal Education System
- A literacy basis. People often refer to formal education as literate education because, with the advancement of knowledge and technology, it becomes necessary to store and retrieve knowledge in writing. It is impossible for human beings to memorize the vast amount of knowledge that we have today. With this, it is a necessity to store what you have learnt in writing for future reference
- A school system
The school system largely conducts the business of formal education, where society carefully selects and employs teachers to teach the students. Educational authorities predetermine the body of knowledge to be taught to each group within the school system. In Kenya, the current education system is the 8-4-4 system, which consists of eight years in primary school, four years in secondary school, and four years in university. This system has its own advantages and disadvantages.
iii. Money funded
Formal education cannot be possible if there were no funds to promote it. The funds may be got from individual parents when they say school fees, from the government and from sponsors. The funds are needed for such things as books, infrastructure development and payment of teachers’ salaries.
Some of the problems facing formal education in Kenya
Lack of sufficiently qualified staff
Many schools, particularly in rural areas, have been observed to employ a disproportionate number of unqualified teachers. For instance, out of the 20 teachers in a school, only 4 are qualified, while the remaining 16 are employed by the school’s board of governors. It is noteworthy that a significant portion of these teachers from the latter group are individuals who have completed secondary education (Form Four leavers).
Congestion in some schools.
This was mainly seen when the government introduced free primary education. Too much pressure was put in various facilities in schools resulting in education in terms of quantity rather than quality.
Strike among teachers.
We have seen in many occasions teachers strike in Kenya. It even occurred just this month when students had opened school for a new term. The main reason cited is that their salaries are low. This is the result of government policy which regards teachers as essential but rather cheaply hired members of society. The strikes may have devastating effects to the students and the country in large as time which would have been used for something constructive is wasted and as it is, it cannot be recovered.
The problem with fees.
In various institutions, students are frequently sent out of school, particularly in secondary schools, to fetch school fees. This practice significantly detracts from the students’ valuable learning time, and when they return to class, they may miss out on certain lessons that were already taught. This is mainly with subjects such as mathematics and the sciences. This problems arises from people stricken with poverty.
Discipline in the institutions.
Discipline has become a serious problem in many institutions in the country. Hardly a term passes without a school strike, be it primary, secondary or university. The causes of unrest and other habits of rebellion among the students are not fully understood. Some students strikes may be for a worthy course while others have no good reasons at all.
In any situation where school indiscipline has erupted, it would be important to find out what message the students are trying to convey before rushing to drastic punishments measures as the only cure for the unrest. One way of avoiding school unrest is to know that students have their own point of view. Open channels of communication as well as face to face discussion would avoid most of the indiscipline.
Poor physical facilities and equipment in some areas.
To some of you it may be surprising to find out that there are still some schools in the rural areas where some of the students learn under trees. To some it may be not surprising because they have seen it. Other rural schools, and even some urban schools lack science laboratories and libraries. Also there is lack of such things as books. Most schools have may be one book for every three or more students.
Without a proper and adequate supply of curriculum support materials, even the most able teachers will find it very difficult to keep high standards of teaching.
Lack of commitment among teachers.
A good number of teacher are doing their best in offering excellent services to students. However, a large number of teachers are there only because they cannot find a job of their choice. They just use that opportunity while waiting for another greener pasture somewhere else. Some students exhibit low motivation.