Selena Gomez Challenges Uhuru Kenyatta to Keep His Promise
Kenya’s government says it is committed to
ensuring that no child is left behind when it comes to education.
Articles 43(f) and 53(1) (b) of the Kenyan
Constitution provide for the right to education and the right to free and
compulsory basic education, respectively.
Despite the good laws and or promises by
consecutive leaderships, the goal for universal education is still far from
being achieved. As it is, President Uhuru Kenyatta has made lofty promises
regarding Education For All (EFA) but much is yet to be done.
See: KNEC Scores A in Reaping Millions From Exam Results
The situation on unfulfilled promises is bad
such that the international community is noticing even having famous
personalities push the government to act. Girls have borne the brunt of being
left behind when it comes to education leading to stagnation in the advancement
of women’s rights.
American artist, Selena Gomez,
who was in Kenya towards the end of last year has challenged President Kenyatta
to honour the promises he made during the Global Festival in South Africa in
2018 where he promised to increase the education budget from 17% to 30%.
In a video posted online, Gomez says, “Countless
students in Kenya are not receiving quality education including the 59% who are
not going to school. As a result, young people across the country and
particularly the poorest and the most marginalised are missing out on critical
In the National
Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022, the government has committed
to implementing international and regional commitments related to education
like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among others.
But financial challenges abound.
From the get go, the nature of care and
learning in ECD/pre-school centres is not well developed to respond even to the
needs of children aged 3-5 who attend those centres. Teaching is focused on literacy
and numeracy skills meant for early primary education centres – partly due to
pressure from parents, who view ECD as early schooling, notes a report by the
Read: What Kenyans and Jubilee Have Missed in Failed Stadia Promise
In addition, the cost of ECD services in
Kenya remains one of the main barriers to accessing quality ECDE services. ECDE
in Kenya is not free and costs of access have been left to parents. The sub-sector
is poorly financed – especially by the government, and it is even not easy to
quantify both public and private spending on this sub-sector. There is no
national law and policy establishing a minimum level of funding for ECD and
there are no mechanisms to coordinate budgeting across sectors responsible for
Currently, county governments employ teachers
but parents are required, in turn, to pay fees for personal school supplies, uniform,
meals, transport, and medical services. The devolution of ECDE to county
government was not accompanied by resource allocation.
Many parents end up not taking their children
to ECD but rather wait until children are ready for Class One, which is free in
public schools. Given the importance of ECD, this is a huge missed opportunity.
Also see: 10 Things Uhuru Must Accomplish Under 24 Months
The plan notes that even though tuition fees have been abolished in primary schools, the existence of cost-sharing between government and households cannot be ignored. Families are expected to still take care of some small costs (uniforms, transport, meals, etc.) which when cumulated, could be a heavy burden to families in the first socio-economic class. In secondary education, the government provides subsidies to cover tuition and operations in day secondary schools.
Boarding schools receive similar funding but
on top, parents meet the boarding costs.
With these financial demands, education then
becomes a preserve of the well to do locking out the majority poor.
uneducated millions continue in a world blacked out of knowledge, the
country will take longer to achieve its development goals unless all Kenyans
can have unfettered access to quality education from formative years to when
they join the job market.
Read >> Why There is no Money in Kenya, What to Do
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