Written by PPS
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Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for decentralization of the education system in the country in line with the devolved system of government.
The PM asked education experts to come up with a structure that will delegate most of the tasks being performed at the national level to the counties, noting such a system will be more effective in improving education standards in the country and was in conformity with the constitution whose centre piece is devolution.
Mr. Odinga was speaking in his office Wednesday when he received reports from the task forces from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology chaired by Prof. Douglas Odhiambo and Prof. David Some on education in the country.
He said under the system, the counties will be in charge of education from nursery to secondary level while the central government will deal with higher education including tertiary institutions and universities. “This should be legislated, however the central government will supervise the counties in education matters at the county level,” he added.
The PM at the same time said the new education system should capture the point at which students exit learning, noting there was a danger of some learners becoming useless in the society if they exited early.
He pointed out that retaining children in school longer prepared them for society adding if someone left school at class 8 and failed, they were too young for the rigours of society. “The age of getting out of school should not be lower than 16 he stressed.”
Saying the country was faced with major challenges in the current education system, the PM emphasized that the new system should also focus on the development of manpower that is demand driven rather than supply driven.
He said, “The country must align its education system to market demands so that we do not have a high rate of unemployment among the country’s educated population.”
And added, “Here we are avoiding a situation where we produce graduates who cannot easily find employment due to lack of skills as required in making our country achieve newly industrialized status as envisioned in vision 2030.”
Mr. Odinga went on to say that education was a basic right for all Kenyans, adding everyone irrespective of their status in the society must be given opportunities to pursue their education. “And that is why we must have systems that can accommodate the needs of all Kenyans,” he added.
He asked the officials to harmonize the two reports saying it was prudent to collapse them into one in view of the possibility of having only one Ministry dealing with education matters after the general election.
Making a presentation on behalf of the task force on his Ministry, Minister Mutula Kilonzo said some of their recommendations was to make the Kenya Institute of Education (K.I.E) statutory bodies that will be autonomous to enable it discharge its duties more effectively.
Other highlights, he added, included retiring some of the laws in the Kenya National Examination Council (K.N.E.C.) so that action is also taken on other people involved in examination cheating together with the students found to have cheated.
The report contained interim guidelines and bills on deployment of county directors of education and other senior education officials at the county level which the minister said should be enacted by August 2012.
In his presentation PS in for Higher Education Science and Technology Prof. Crispus Kiamba said his reports recommends a shift from time bound curriculum based training to flexible and competency-based training.
He went on to say that they are also recommending modular based training to enhance access and rebranding the Technical Industrial Vocational Education (TVET)as a sector of choice to students while focusing on empowering TVET graduates as creators of employment.
Prof. Kiamba also recommended that laws establishing universities be consolidated to remove duality in the accreditation and quality of assurance between public and private universities.
Other recommendations included establishing Commission of University Education to succeed the Commission of Higher Education, establish a central admissions service for both private and public universities and establish a University funding Board for institutional funding.
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