Spotlight is on Kenya's education system

The policy goal of the Kenyan government has been to provide every Kenyan with the right education and training. Education is essential for the development and protection of democratic institutions and human rights. The question then arises with the word “right” education.
Kenyan education system fails in the delivery of quality education. The youth are wired to believe that ‘if the market does not buy you, then you are useless.’ We are in a society without policies and facilities to engage the youth in industrious self-activities.

Without training our youth to be industrious and use their intellect to become innovative, the youth are wired to be explosive. The education system trains job seekers, emphasis is on being employed, as opposed to engaging minds to come up with new ideas. Thus what is left in Kenya is a group of youth who make up 75% of the population in Kenya, competing for employment which is very limited, and eventually turning desperate and angry. Kenya has just come through a tough time following the political skirmishes which occurred at the beginning of the year. The youth were the worst hit and are still reeling from the effects, with many still in prisons, or internally displaced. The pressure and stress is one of the reasons they carried out or were easily manipulated to carry out most of the terror activities: theft, rape, killings, which occurred after the election. Soon after this there was suddenly an outburst of violent strikes in secondary schools, the youth destroying property worth millions and injuring one another. Clearly there is something wrong with the education system.

There is need for a paradigm shift in our education system and more so in the curriculum. Kenyan’s education system has poisoned its graduates never to become industrious unless an industrious person employs them. The young men and women are complacent and do not intellectually challenge policies and ideas, like the manifestos that political parties in Kenya have, which have nothing distinct and unique in each of them.

Giving the youth funds (constituency development funds), was a positive move by the government, but without changing the mentality of young persons to be more self active the results will be slow or even ineffective in the long run.

The constitution reform should also include reforms in the education curriculum. Let pupils go to school and universities through a process of continuous assessment tests and appraisal of skills and talents. It is important for intellect to interact with nature. The youth need to be encouraged to look at what is around them, and use their intellect to develop it. This will discourage the "looking for formal employment syndrome" so common in not only Kenya but also the rest of Africa.

Employers should insist on not only formal education and papers, but also in skill and talent. Prove that the job seeker is an all round individual and a critical thinker. Social organizations and the international community can also be involved by putting pressure on the government to change the curriculum to suit the global market, and also by describing the kind of skills necessary for one to be relevant. There is a need for advocacy in relation to the impact the education system in Kenya has on the development of children into responsible self reliant patriotic citizens.

Why is it that many of our learned youth are more concerned with getting formal employment, and blue color jobs, as opposed to engaging their minds and coming up with new ideas? And if there are those youth who are innovative and bold to challenge existing ideas and theories, why is it that the older generation feel threatened by such youth? There is need to motivate the youth to use their brains and the resources they have however small to develop themselves and their community. There is also the need to create an environment where this is possible. There is nothing wrong in the search for formal employment, for ideas to be implemented there is a need for initial capital, but hope should not be lost if formal employment is not forthcoming.

The days of the youth being used by the already successful not only politically but also economically for their own selfish gains should be by now a historical fact. We not only need to be part of the change that the whole world now sings of, but we need to be the change.

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