Education in East African states seen falling steadily

Education in East African states seen falling steadily

A crisis could be looming in East Africa in the education sector unless Education managers take the first baby steps to reform a sector that , of essence should be the first step towards building nations that are self-reliant and self dependent. EAST African Education has metarmorphosed from the pre-independence days to the present day and over the years, the changes have been inspired by different political exigencies of the day with not so good outcomes.

Save for Rwanda and Burundi where the system attempted to assimilate the Citizens, the more British Education system anglicized pre-independence East Africans and continues to do that 50 odd years after independence was gained. Sad to say, East Africans have refused to think outside of the box in which Colonial interest placed the fate and the futures of the peoples of East Africa.

This has been done in a smart subtle way considering that the people of the region who first studied did so in the so-called missionary Schools where the honour given to the English Kingdom became a way of life.

How the East Africans who became English in name, mannerisms and ways became an extension of the English system is not too hard to decipher considering that many of them went to the UK for further educa(indocrina)tion and ended up back in our shores as Education Ministry Officials, Ministers, planners University lecturers and Managers. The fact that they went to School in British Colleges with British manners have completely influence the way we plan our education.

Here I mean inspire of our livelihood being based on 70% farming community, we still have a class system that produces 90% office setting managers. We have from those initial years continued to use a sieve to drop non-academic performers at basic levels of education and thereby end up with a youth population of over 60m under 30years who are well and truly unemployed. The 30 million or so graduates in East Africa are mostly underemployed because the emphasis has always been on grades and not on technical ability.

Look at it this way, we used to cut off stragglers at Std 4. This allowed only the truly sharp to get to Std 5. Today we have a general system where pupils are examined at Standard 7 or 8 and in forms one 2 and 4. The aim again and planning by these Londons School of Economics graduands, is to peg the pass mark to available places. What they do not ask themselves is what does a 13-year old do after being discarded away by the system and branded a failure?

Instead why have we not endured to take millions of our children all the way from Primary School to Secondary and teach them skills, skills which can enable them to make use of our environment to survive? What  this has resulted in is an unhealthy competition, theft of examinations, misallocation of resources and a continuity of a system which at best serves the former colonial master. It is only in this region where we have schools which prepared children for a British only curriculum.

Yet these are the people we expect to come and worked at Bank of Tanzania, Central Bank of Kenya and Bank of Uganda among others. Why are we then surprised that when examination results are released, a number of children commit suicide either for having failed or not obtaining a pass mark enabling them to get a chance , a shot at a life at B.O.T or wherever else in a “proper” job and not life on the streets?

The writer, a Media consultant, is a commentator on East African issues with interests in media development in the region. http//itineranteastafrican.blogspot.com,   oyoo.nick@gmail.com 

AT a recent 20th conference of financial ...

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