YVONNE'S TAKE: Let us not use the children of Kenya as guinea pigs

Recently a senior member of the Executive in government advised that doctors lose patients all the time, despite their best efforts. Well, that worried all of us. My hope is that this is not the approach that governments take when making decisions or embarking on projects because, just this week, Parliament rejected, in totality, the report of the Munavu task force. 

Let me remind you, that this was the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms. This taskforce with a whopping 42 members was set up by the President in September last year to evaluate the Competency Based Curriculum and recommend appropriate reforms to other sectors of the education sector.

After spending a whopping Ksh.237 million or more, Parliament put a stop to the implementation of its recommendations.

One can only imagine what this means for parents who have already been battered left and right, to begin with, with the rollout of the CBC which was turbulent at best; the very reason for the task force itself.

That’s not all; those in the education sector had already begun implementing the far-reaching recommendations made by this task force. These include the university funding model, the domiciling of Junior Secondary, the reduction of subjects under CBC and exam grading. 

In fact, you remember the new university funding model was rolled out, too much fanfare as well as apprehension due to the rush ahead of the start of the new academic year at universities. Remember the mad rush to understand who was needy, less needy when applying for university funding, and the jamming of the portal with just a few days to go to the start of the new academic year at universities?

There is one problem, they forgot one step; one very important step, the Law. The Ministry of Education is only now drafting the sessional paper that is to be taken to Parliament, which would form new laws to create the master plan for the education system. Now, we hear the teachers’ employer TSC raising a raft of issues that they say were not considered by the committee; issues that they say interfere with their mandate as the teachers’ employer. 

I don’t know about you, but this must be yet another exhausting sigh for parents, teachers and learners, who have had to deal with the implementation of this curriculum and Kenyans who had to deal with this being an election campaign issue. 

With a statement that it would be scrapped once they got into power, a walk back on the same statement and then finally a promise of re-evaluating it, to address the issues raised by all stakeholders. Then, the task force and its recommendations, only for it all to come to a screeching halt with one word from parliament, no; not so fast. 

How is it that the Ministry of Education chose to shoot first, only to be told later that they need to have aimed first? Now, these may seem like technicalities; sessional paper here, laws and policies there. But this has a real effect on the lives of young learners. There should be no mistakes, no misfirings, no oops, no small, or big technicalities. 

For a Ksh.237 million tab, and a 42-member committee that then presented its report to the President, this should have been done properly.

Much in the same way new medicines are tested on guinea pigs first before being applied on humans; much in the same way astronauts go on flight simulations before actually going into space, is the same approach we should take with education in our country. It is my hope that these so-called technicalities will be sorted out. Let us not use the children of Kenya as guinea pigs!

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Education reforms Presidential Working Party

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