It is illogical to expect public schools in marginalized areas to compete on the same scale as their counterparts elsewhere, given the enormous challenges they face.
This fact was brought home by the Kenya Certificate of Primary Examination results released on Monday. Ever since the Kenya Education Commission, often referred to as the Ominde Commission (Republic of Kenya 1964), was set up after Independence to develop a new education policy for the country, Kenya has grappled with this problem.
A kind of Marshall Plan will be needed to reduce the ever widening gap. Issues like insecurity, nomadism and lack of infrastructure like roads and hospitals plays a factor in this zero sum game. Getting teachers to stay in many arid and semi-arid areas is difficult because of the insecurity created by, among other
Communication is also hampered by poor or non-existent roads. Distances to schools are vast due to the low population density. In pastoralist areas, studies are disrupted by movement of families in search of pasture, something that can be overcome if roads were better, thus allowing for mobile schools.
In some areas of North Eastern Kenya, only 30 per cent of males have ever enrolled in a school with the females doing worse at three per cent. Arid and semi-arid areas are not exactly poor, given that they account for slightly over 50 per cent of Kenya’s livestock, but the absence of infrastructure means they gain little from their key economic activity.
Meanwhile, it was heartening to observe that the level of cheating in KCPE fell significantly last year, largely due to a sterling effort by the Ministry of Education and Kenya National Examinations Council to stiffen penalties for the vice. Their efforts were strengthened by passage of new laws by the Tenth Parliament, which made it more costly to engage in cheating.
For this the ministry deserves a pat on the back.
source standard newspaper 30/01/13.