Secondary education is important to every child

Monday, December 16th, 2019 00:00 |
Maryjoy Kindergarten and Primary School, Mombasa, head teacher Caren Osumba (right), teachers, parents and pupils congratulate their 2019 KCPE candidates. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Some people have been asking why the government is keen on ensuring all class eight pupils who sit KCPE exam  proceed to secondary school.

The 100 per cent transition policy is founded on the Constitution which provides for free and compulsory basic education for every child.

Nearly all pupils who complete primary education cycle are around 13-14 years. They are within the age that entitles them to 12 years basic education.

The 12 years of basic education provides two types of skills that provide the ballast for other skills that one needs to earn a living and lead a full life. 

The first type of skills are foundational. These skills, which include basic literacy and numeracy skills, provide the foundation upon which learners receive further education to deepen their capacity for fulfilling, meaningful lives.

The second type of skills are transferable skills, which include analysing problems and reaching appropriate solutions, communicating ideas and information effectively, being creative, showing leadership and conscientiousness and demonstrating entrepreneurial capabilities.

Young people who never have primary education or drop out without completing eight years of primary education lack foundation skills.

With the free primary education, the government seeks to impart in the learners the 3Rs—Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.

As the name implies, primary education provides foundational skills. These skills are essential for engaging in further education and training.

They are also essential for acquiring transferable skills and technical and vocational skills.

Foundational skills are like the runway of an airport. It helps the students to take off into the exciting realm of secondary education and later, into technical and vocational education.

The eight years of primary education are not sufficient to develop and consolidate literacy and numeracy skills. Secondary education deepens and broadens literacy and numeracy skills. 

Twelve years of basic education are a stepping stone to the acquisition of technical and vocational skills. 

The reason why the authorities want young people to secure secondary education before they embark on technical and vocational education is that they stand  to maximize the benefits of technical and vocational training, foundation and transferable skills they have necessarily acquired through secondary education experience.

A person who has had 12 years of quality basic education is likely to effectively master the technical and vocational skills and aspects of certain occupations. They are also more adaptable than those who did not go beyond primary school.

Secondary education helps ensure not only that young people improve their literacy and numeracy skills, but also that they acquire problem-solving skills.

Those against children, who got less than 200 marks in KCPE exam transiting to secondary school, are mistaken.

An educational experience worth its salt has an impact. The quality and range of the secondary school curriculum is such that it has capacity to transform every child, albeit in varying degrees. 

To deny children the opportunity to have secondary educational experience is to limit their potential and aspirations.

Employers want employees to have strong foundation skills. They also want them to have technical skills and problem solving skills, imagination and creativity.

Young people stand to attract the attention of potential employers when they have had secondary education. They also have the chance to earn better income. They also stand to venture into more sophisticated and rewarding enterprises than those denied secondary education.

Yes.  No human is limited, we have been told. Government seeks to unleash the potential of young people by exposing them—all of them to secondary education experience. — The writer is the Communications Officer, Ministry of Education

More on News