Minimum Standards and Principles of Education suitable for Kenya in the 21st Century - EBWG

Elimu Bora Working Group announced to the public in January 2023 that we were embarking on a journey to help transform Education in Kenya to align with a new vision founded on basic human rights principles and a known philosophy – Education for Responsible and Productive Citizenship. Through the reporting panel, working in consultation with the EBWG Reference Team, and with technical retreat by experts to review the report and give final inputs informing the framework and key deliverables going forward, EBWG undertook a two-staged process starting with the development of the minimum standards and principles of Education suitable for Kenya in the 21st Century. The panel undertook some desk reviews of available literature to inform the report and build on content. We further engaged with critical key informants and analysed key local/national, regional and international commitments that Kenya has made in advancing Education for her citizens. The panel also reviewed reports of the past presidential task forces, working parties and commissions, right from the Fraser Commission report of 1909 which was the earliest recorded public policy for formal Education in Kenya and that which recommended some Education for Africans to provide them with simple basic skills fit to serve the local white settler community market, to the Task Force on the Realignment of Education and Training to dictates of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 chaired by Prof. Douglas Odhiambo of 2012, which recommended the introduction of a competency-based curriculum. The analysis was concluded before the report of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms chaired by Prof. Raphael Munavu (2022) had published its report (which is not ready yet even as at the time of giving this media brief). It should be noted that none of the commissions delved into the basic philosophy of Education based on the African culture – UTU - that would have revolutionized learning. None of the Education reports has attempted to provide a clear vision for Education, hence Kenyans must therefore embark on recreating the philosophical foundation of Education in Kenya. None of the commissions provided solutions to the crisis of underfunding in Education with its ugly consequences of severe deterioration in quality especially in public schools. Instead, some recommendations like that derived from the Structural Adjustment Programmes imposed by the Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank and the IMF) in the 1980’s endorsed user fees in recovering education costs. Since the 90s, the government virtually stopped investing directly, in the building of new public primary and secondary schools in the country. This has left the development of educational institutions to the parents and a few private sector actors. Now therefore, at a time when a number of Education sector changes are taking place in the country, Civil Society actors working under the Elimu Bora Working Group are keen on providing concrete minimum standards and principles of Education to enable Kenyans avoid another botched up Education reform initiative. These principles and minimum standards shall act as the GUIDE upon which Kenyans will interrogate any new Education reform initiative including the work of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms 2022.
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