PfAL 5 candidate Caroline Miring’u argues in the Africa at LSE blog that regular teacher strikes in Kenya are risking the future of the next generation.
Public school enrolment and attendance in Kenya has grown but as long as the system is plagued by unending teachers’ strikes, the future of our children’s education is in jeopardy. Kenya’s educational system has evolved over the last several years and, like most systems, there are private and public (or government) schools. There have been major reforms in the educational sector aimed at making the public system just as competitive as the private.
The introduction of free primary education in 2003 saw an explosion of the student-teacher ratio which rose from 30:1 to 60:1 against the UNESCO standards of 24:1. Due to this, public school performance plummeted and parents who could afford chose to move their children to the better-performing private schools.
Then, in 2014, entry into public secondary schools was changed from enrolment by merit across the board to priority being given to pupils from public primary schools. This gave the latter a higher chance of being enrolled in a good public secondary school. This caused panic among parents and led to a huge reverse shift of children transferring from private to public schools.
“My new path has led me to realize that the vision of a new society in Africa will need to be developed in Africa, born out of the Africa historical experience and the sense of continuity of African history. The African is not yet the master of his own fate, but neither is he completely at the mercy of fate. As you leave LSE, my wish for you is that we keep looking for Africa’s solutions. Don’t settle!”
With these words Fiona Mungai, a PfAL4 scholar from Kenya, gave a smile to the applause of the PfAL4 group and headed back to her seat. Isabelle Umugwaneza, from Rwanda, took the podium.
“Good afternoon. Distinguished guests, Mr & Mrs Lalji, Fellow Colleagues, it has been a pleasure spending the day with you all, yet again hours spent receiving much needed food for thought, and encouragement…”
Written by Fiona Imbali, 2013-14, MSc Development Management
Since arriving in bustling Heathrow Airport, I’ve been through one academic term, read through hundreds of pages of reading assignments and submitted three essays. Michaelmas Term has flown by, but the thought of Cumberland Lodge, the 17th century house to which a group of Development Management students visited in November, still kindles splendid memories.