Education ministry called to address ‘confusion’ in sector
Senators want the Ministry of Education to urgently address what they termed as confusion and imbalance in the sector, even as they insisted no learning was going on at home.
The senators said it has come to a point whereby radical pronouncements must be made on the education sector, bearing in mind that it might take time before the coronavirus disease is completely eradicated.
Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka sought a statement on status of education in the wake of coronavirus, saying the Committee on Education should seek an explanation on whether all learners are equally accessing online education and materials.
The senators are concerned not only are millions of children idling at homes and easily exposed to social issues, but also the gap between the rich and the poor is expanding, to the detriment of the latter.
They stated claimed that the situation right now is that education is on its knees, while disagreeing with the Ministry’s sentiments that learning has been happening.
“Realistically, we must accept that no education is going on. The reality that we must face is to accept no education is going on this year and the quality of education this year is comparable to none,” said Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja during the plenary session.
“We must get to a point as leaders because leadership includes facing reality that certain very radical measures and pronouncements need to be made about this year’s education calendar,” he added.
He also said home learning is exposing many parents since many of them are not conversant with current system.
Fees schools still charging high but we have not seen a solid pronouncement we will meet with CS to give a realistic position with regards to education
Former Education Minister, Sam Ongeri said several issues in the sector need urgent redefining of systems and policies in the sector.
He said the Senate Education Committee has set out question to Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha and will be expected to respond to them in order to bring clarity to the education system otherwise there is the danger of reverting back to illiteracy.
He said by the time he was leaving the education docket, digital content for learners had been developed hence the need to clarify on the inconsistencies in digital learning.
“We had identified Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), which has had a state-of-the-art digital transmission centre and on the other hand the Government had KBC transmission centre.
The interface between the two institutions is that one is digital and the other is analogue thus contemplating of school transmission study through KBC TV and radio is not possible,” said Ongeri.
Other issues Kwamboka is seeking answers to are on whether parents will be expected to pay full school fees for second term given the fact that part of first term was not fully utilized due to premature closure.
She also requested the committee to elucidate the efficiency of the e-learning approach with regards to students understanding and concentration of the lessons taught.
“There is need to outline steps the Ministry intends to check to ensure that any imbalance in access to education, information and materials is checked and those students who may be found to have no access to online classes are brought at par with the rest of the students,” Senator Kwamboka said.
Homabay Senator, Moses Kajwang said the committee should seek clarifications from KICD and KBC TV to understand what they are doing to ensure children of both the poor and the rich are able to continue with learning.
“A majority of the 15 million children are sitting at home idling. We are risking a generation that would be driven into illiteracy, to diseases and poverty. Our children are facing the same threats faced at independence.
Could the committee find out why after spending Sh100 billion to provide laptops for children we cannot continue to provide electronic and virtual learning to our children,” said Kajwang.