One Per cent Levy in Oyo Schools : Nigerians Are Suspicious of Govt.’s Intention-Prof Olagoke

Parents and residents at  the location of one of the Models  schools have expressed worries over the unbecoming  behavior of students of the school, who daily patronize cybercafes within the vicinity of the school, during school hours, in preference to the academic comfort of their school. This is a reflection of the incompetence  of the school management and Teachers to impart the right values on the students. Even as mushroom private schools continue to spring up in room and parlor and three  Bedroom apartments at different locations in t Oyo state, parents  also expressing worries over the announcement by the  state  Government that beginning from next session,  one(1) per cent levy shall be imposed on the fees collected  by both Public and Private schools in the state, they insist that this amounts to double taxation. In this interview with Federationews2day, the Founder and Spiritual Head of Shafaudeen worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke advises the state Government to approach the levy with caution. Excerpts :

The Oyo state Government has announced its intention to collect 1 per cent from all the fees collected by both public and private secondary schools in the state,  what is your reaction to this announcement  ?

My opinion is that the Government of Oyo state is ready to  re fix to a rightful position the education status, most especially in Oyo state. Government itself realizes that there are problems in the educational structure and practices The problem manifest in the state of things in public schools, most of them have dilapidated buildings, some do not have  furniture. Public schools have the best Teachers, but there are no facilities to work with. Unfortunately, those in Government and the elites do not patronize the  public schools. When Chief Obafemi Awolowo started his education programme, , he ensured that all his children attended these schools, and through each of them he was able to feel the pulse of the public schools, as regards the state of things in these schools. Unfortunately, Government, presently, has all the structure and mechanism through which education facilitation can  be effective and  result oriented, but corruption and indiscipline have permeated the fabric of every unit of the system, so that even before  a file is moved, you must grease the palm of the clerk, before anybody is promoted you must have greased the palms of the powers that be along the line When it comes to pension some people insist on getting 10 per cent out of your gratuity, before your file will see the light of the day.  So, when you have this kind of erratic system, the goal of education is already defeated. So, that is the situation of things in the education sector in Nigeria, Oyo state in particular.

The lapses on the side of Government has made every Tom, Dick and Harry to venture into education, but with the perspective of becoming an entrepreneur, whereby you commercialize everything. When  I was in secondary school, my prorietor of blessed memory, Mr. T.A Ogunkoya, had B.A History form Newcastle in 1950, he single handedly left Isonyin, for Abanla, bought acres of land and built all the structure in the school and unfortunately in 1976, Government took it  over and bastardized the very good work the man had done. The place is now a caricature of its old self. This is to say that Government  has not been able to understand what it takes to follow Chie Awolowo’s legacy. Now a lot of people have ventured into education without knowing anything about it.  You see a lot of private schools in dilapidated buildings and these people are capitalizing on the fact that most of our people are illiterates, most of the parents. They only repackage these children with good clothing, so that the parents will believe  that their children are attending good schools, whereas most of these schools are mushroom. And now that Government is restructuring, all these things are more of theories, because since they have started, we have not felt the impact. Not all the private schools are  registered with the state Government. And indeed, Government officials pass by all these  schools, but because of their relationships with the owners, nothing is done.  These are the areas that we are having problems. So, the first thing Government ought to do, is to go through all the nooks and crannies of Oyo state in the Morning, Afternoon, Night and during the weekend, to identify all these schools, good or bad. After assessment those found wanting should be shut. So in the area of Government collecting one per cent of fees collected by public and private schools in the state, those that are registered and Government still says that whatever you are getting from the intakes, one per cent should go into the coffers of Government, then this is unfortunate, Government is supposed to encourage private individuals, who float private schools,  so long as their intentions are genuine and once they have the right concept on ground, not vice versa.

However,Government must have looked into another perspective, Government must have the belief that all privately owned schools are for commercial purposes and once you are running schools for commercial purposes, the goal of education has already been defeated, because you won’t be able to deliver. You will be more into what you will realize in terms  of gains or profits. Education and schools are not supposed to be commercial ventures. UNICEF says education is a right. Chief Awolowo promoted free education, now that the various tiers of Government in Nigeria have failed in giving us free education and corruption  has now permeated the whole system, the major problem we are now having is  what is to be done. Government should be very cautious. Although some schools were founded on the premise that their founders have been able to corruptly enrich themselves and now using the money for education, if that is the perspective of Government to collect one per cent , it is okay, they want them to at least pay back, but some of us have genuine intentions. They should firstly go into how much we collect as school fees, then some of us may even be assisted by Government, but for those of us who they might be suspecting  have corruptly enriched  themselves, the one per cent can apply. But if it should be generalized, there is nothing we can do, but to seek to know what Government has been doing  from all the money collected. So, the people are suspicious of Government’s intentions and they think it is another way of selfishly enriching the purse of some Government functionaries. So, they must not allow the society to think that there is a bad motive behind the intention of Government to collect one per cent from the fees of  public and privates  schools. Government should be able to justify what they are going to do with the money, so, they must have a rethink.

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Commission in Tanzania Bars 19 Universities from Admitting Students

19 universities in Tanzania have been barred from admitting students  2017/18 academic year by the Tanzania  Commission Universities (TCU).

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The action of the TCU, which does not affect returning students, has resulted in confusion in the affected institutions.

Universities in Tanzania are expected to resume for a new session in September.

Prospective students were caught unawares by the order which came just four days into the college enrollment window.

Nearly 33,000 candidates who sat their Form Six national examination in 2017 scored first and second division to qualify for direct entry into university. Over 20,000 others with division three and below are also expected to seek for enrollment in colleges for training that corresponds with their scores.

Ebonyi Govt To Close Down Private Schools Without Operating Licenses

The Ebony state Government has declared that it will close down any private school in the state which does not have the approved license.

This declaration was made on Monday by the State Commissioner for Education, Prof. John Eke in Abakaliki.

“It is the license that you validly secure from the ministry of education as a school proprietor that qualifies you to open and operate a school in the state.

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“We are not in a lawless state. There is law and order which moderate the behavior and actions of individuals.

“It is therefore against the law of the state to establish and operate any school, including nursery, primary and secondary, without an enabling license issued by the ministry,”

“School business is not like the normal business where the owner has a mindset of profit maximization. It goes beyond that”, Prof Eke concluded.

“The school is a place for character moulding where the totality of the life of the child including the mental, emotional, spiritual, social and cultural aspects, are shaped.

“That is why we are being careful while screening applications for issuance of operating licenses for prospective school proprietors.

“We also carry out periodic review through monitoring and evaluation of schools to ensure that they are complying with the set standards,” he said.

Education and Economic Recession : The Nigerian Experience

The rate of school drop outs in Nigeria is on the increase, while the standard of education at all levels has fallen drastically.

Banditry, cultism, gangsterism  and examination malpractice are now common place in  most educational institutions. Of concern, is the dearth of qualified  Teachers and basic infrastructure   at all levels, just as mushroom educational outfits  have taken over.Major cities and suburbs are home to a room, two rooms and three bedroom schools, with people wondering  how these schools secured Government approval. A sizable  number of state Governments now rely on these schools to compliment their efforts in the education sector.

Indeed, over crowding, poor working conditions for Teachers and poor sanitation have resulted in the  poor quality of teaching  and the turn out of half baked products.

The proliferation of  continuing education centres, also known as to cater for the tutorial colleges, deficiencies of the regular educational institutions has not helped matters.

These colleges perfect  various methods of examination malpractices, including  bribing of  examination officials, to obtain desired  results.

The  physical outlook of average student,  is a good reflection of the rot i the system, such a student if not observed carefully could be mistaken for a motor park tout or a street urchin.

Under normal conditions, wherein governance revolves on  accountability, education is an instrument of change and a means for accelerated  development. But this is only possible when education is available, relevant, accessible and affordable  to everyone, who is willing and ready.

To address he perennial problems confronting the education sector, Government should go extra mile to create an enabling environment for teaching and learning, comparable to what obtains in advanced countries.

In addition, Government should embark on regular supervision,monitoring and evaluation  of the entire system of education, while ensuring a rich curricula, that is diversified, to emphasize integrated skills development at the should basic  educational level.

In conclusion, leaders  facilitate attitudinal change, by laying good examples for the  people to follow.

 

 

 

Kenya: President Mocks Opposition Over Free Secondary Education

Press release

NAKURU, 4 June 2017 (PSCU) – President Uhuru Kenyatta mocked the opposition today for copying his plan to implement free secondary education next year, and then pledging to do it a few months earlier.

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“You have to think. Then you have to plan. You cannot just copy, and then pledge to do it earlier,” President Kenyatta said on a campaign stop in Gilgil, as he wrapped up a three-day campaign blitz through Nyandarua, Laikipia and Nakuru counties.

President Kenyatta was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua, Nakuru Jubilee gubernatorial aspirant Lee Kinyanjui and a host of local Nakuru county leaders.

A day after the President unveiled key planks of his re-election bid that included free secondary education, scaling up the cash transfer programme for the elderly, increase and expansion of technical training institutes and health cover for mothers after maternity as the next steps in his transformation agenda.

“Politicians should not just wake up in the morning and tell Kenyans that they will do this and that and within a given period after they win elections without thinking or planning on how to go about such issues,” said President Kenyatta.

He added: “We’ve set aside Kshs 5 billion to expand infrastructure in schools to provide for the implementation of free secondary education. One cannot claim he can provide free education overnight without budgeting for it.”

The President and his deputy spoke on Sunday when they addressed thousands of Jubilee supporters at various stopovers as they at Free Area, Kikopey, Gilgil, Naivasha, Longonot and Mai Mahiu among other areas along the Nakuru-Nairobi road.

The President said the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga knows very well that policy making and implementation requires proper planning.

He said it is unrealistic for the Opposition to claim that it will implement the free secondary education a month after the August elections.

The Head of State point out that competition based on agendas and policy were key to the transformation of the lives of Kenyans.

“Our colleagues in the Opposition are doing ‘copy-pasting’ of our projects and now competing with us on dates and when to implement projects we have already put in the pipeline,” said President Kenyatta.

The President said Jubilee has promised to implement the free secondary education in January next year because it has put in place proper mechanisms that will ensure its successful implementation.

In this connection, the Head of State said Kshs 5 billion has been set aside to improve schools infrastructure to ensure the success of the implementation of the free secondary education beginning January next year.

He said Opposition leaders had no agenda for Kenyans and were now thriving on politics of tribalism, hatred and confusion ahead of the next General Election.

The President urged Kenyans to be wary of such leaders who were out to divide them on tribal and religious lines to achieve their selfish gains at the expense of the country’s unity.

He told Kenyans to be courageous and say no to ethnic based political parties, which derail development and national cohesion.

“Kenyans should judge Jubilee by its development track record. This is why I ask voters to support leaders promoting politics of unity and development and ignore those dividing us on ethnic backgrounds,” said President Kenyatta.

“Leaders must be courageous to unite the people of Kenya so as to attain accelerated development and achieve cohesion in our country instead of dividing them on ethnic backgrounds,” added President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta said Jubilee was committed to peace and stability of the country unlike the Opposition that cared less for the two key ingredients of Kenya’s development and prosperity.

He commended different ethnic communities in Rift Valley for living together harmoniously and peacefully, saying development was elusive if there was no peace.

“Peace is paramount for development and this is why I ask you to continue embracing peace for accelerated development,” said President Kenyatta.

Deputy President Ruto urged voters to ignore the Opposition leaders who have nothing new to offer the country after failing to deliver when they served in senior positions in previous regimes.

“The August elections will be competition between those serious in service delivery and those engaging in propaganda,” said the Deputy President.

He said Jubilee’s development track record in less than five years cannot be compared to what others did in 30 years when they held leadership positions.

Source : Kenya Presidency(Nairobi)

Kenya: Teachers Employer Issues New Guidelines to Protect Students

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Caning, sex and drug and substance abuse will not be condoned in learning institutions, teachers have been warned.

Even keeping canes in staff rooms, classrooms or any part of the school is illegal, according to new guidelines issued by the Teachers Service Commission to enhance the safety of learners.

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School administrators also have a duty to protect the learners against sexual abuse by reporting cases to the police and other security agencies.

“Cases of sexual abuse, whether within or outside the school, should be thoroughly investigated, documented and action taken with expediency,” says a circular to headteachers in primary and secondary schools by the commission’s chief executive Nancy Macharia.

The circular is seen as a response to cases of bullying in schools, whether by prefects or other students.

“Any form of bullying, including physical, verbal or psychological abuse, should be eradicated in the learning institutions,” says the circular.

“Under no circumstances should corporal punishment or use of physical force to inflict pain be administered to learners,” said Ms Macharia in the communication.

The circular also affects principals of teacher training colleges, institutes of science and technology and national polytechnics.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

All teachers are cautioned that corporal punishment or any other degrading treatment constitutes a professional or criminal offence and can lead to disciplinary action or prosecution in a court of law.

For the prefects who have lately been at the centre of the bullying cases, the commission has directed that they be sensitised on their role in school governance, which does not include punishing learners in any way.

Recently, the principal of Alliance High School, Mr David Kariuki, opted for retirement following allegations of bullying at the school that left scores of students injured.

The bullying is said to have been carried out by prefects and senior students for a long time, yet the principal had not taken action.

Parents raised the alarm with the Ministry of Education early this year, leading to an investigation.

Maseno High School principal Paul Otula was interdicted and is currently under investigations over claims that a student at the national school was sexually molested by senior students.

EXPOSURE TO DRUG

The learners should be protected from exposure to drug and substance abuse through stringent surveillance programmes to make the learning and surrounding environment free from drugs.

“Guidance and counselling should be intensified to sensitise learners, parents and guardians on the dangers of drug and substance abuse,” said Ms Macharia.

The TSC boss has also warned headteachers against forcing or allowing students to repeat classes after it emerged that some schools were forcing academically weak students to repeat or were asking them to register in other schools, to ensure the schools perform well.

“Forced repetition is prohibited under Section 35 of the Basic Education Act. All learners should be assisted to transit to the next class and complete any given segment in the learning cycle,” she reminded headteachers.

School administrators who are still allowing holiday tuition have been put on notice after the commission made it clear that all schools should operate within the term dates issued by the Education Cabinet Secretary.

The circular is copied to the Cabinet secretary, county directors of education, regional coordinators of education, headteachers’ associations, and other education stakeholders except the teachers’ unions.

TSC has also asked headteachers to ensure learners report and leave school within the prescribed hours.

Source : Daily Nation

Zimbabwe: Dokora Curriculum – Teachers Vow to Petition Mugabe

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A Teachers union is soliciting for 500 000 signatures from members with the aim of petitioning President Robert Mugabe to stop the implementation of the new curriculum introduced by education minister, Lazarus Dokora.

Dokora, in January this year, introduced a new curriculum in the primary and secondary education system “without” consulting teachers and other stakeholders.

The curriculum, among other subjects, introduced the writing of dissertations by form four students and mandated the same to go for industrial attachment.

The new curriculum also did away with subjects such as Geography, while bringing in a “Muslim” subject which replaced religious studies.

Also introduced was sexual reproductive health studies in primary schools.

Last week, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), held a stakeholders meeting in Harare, where they deliberated and resolved to approach President Mugabe and appeal for the abandonment of the new curriculum.

Teachers said they were not given enough time to scheme and understand the new curriculum.

“We are going to apply a multifaceted approach as this meeting has agreed which include litigation, naming and shaming the ills and shortcomings of this curriculum so that we try to knock sense to the government ,” PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou, announced after the meeting.

“We are not against government but what we are simply saying is that we want to be consulted and we do not want to be ruled but to be led properly and our massage is that the basic and best thing is to leave the education system as a terrain of professionals not politicians,” said Zhou.

PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe said they wished to petition President Mugabe and parliament as well as challenge Dokora’s unplanned decision to force teachers to implement the new curriculum without giving them time to study it.

“It is the future of our children which is being destroyed because as we speak teachers are not teaching because everything brought by Dokora is relevantly new to them.

“We hear that Dokora is saying that we were consulted, but the truth of the matter is that we were not consulted. Our involvement and observations were not factored in, so when they talk of consultations it must be direct day light robbery and thievery that culminated in a document that does not summarize the truth,” said Majongwe.

He added,” So, in as far as we are concerned in the submissions that we are going to be making to whoever wants to listen to us, this process was fake, it is a clear fraud and it does not fit and pass the litmus test of what it was meant to achieve”.

Source : New Zimbabwe

Kenya: National Exams to Be Scrapped Under New Education Plan

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A new education system that will replace the 8-4-4 was unveiled Monday and will phase out the national examinations currently done at the end of primary and secondary school cycles.

Unlike the current system that is heavily focused on examinations, the new one will be competency-based and will give more emphasis on identification of talents and nurturing them.

The new system puts emphasis on continuous assessment tests rather than end of cycle tests.

The focus is to equip learners with skills rather than having them cram and reproduce facts.

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Learners will take two years in early childhood education, three in lower primary, three in upper primary, three in lower secondary and three in senior secondary.

The National Basic Education Curriculum Framework that has been working on the system has not, however, indicated how many years will be spent in tertiary institutions.

According to the new framework, the new system will give every child a chance to succeed in life by carving out pathways that develop their interests and allow them to live and work locally, nationally and globally.

Initially, it had been planned that the new curriculum would be piloted in May and rolled out in January next year, but that is not conclusive yet.

This is because the syllabuses as well as teaching and learning materials have not been produced.

Neither has training been done for teachers nor the modules for teacher training been concluded.

CONSULT MORE

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who launched the system at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, asked Kenyans to continue making suggestions on it with a view of improving it.

“We should make it better and avoid negative views,” he said and directed the Kenya Institute of Curriculum development to hold quarterly meetings with stakeholders to enrich the system, adding that the government had a specific budget for the review.

The new system is crafted around three levels — early, middle and senior schools — with a focus on continuous assessment tests as opposed to the summative evaluation that defines the 8-4-4.

In the initial plan, the curriculum should have been rolled out next year in pre-primary and lower primary schools. But this has not been concluded.

In the framework, the curriculum provides that pupils join pre-primary at the ages of four and five followed by lower primary at between six and nine years.

Middle school will comprise upper primary and junior school while graduates of junior school will branch out to either senior school, tertiary or higher education depending on their competencies.

They will also have the option of joining talent schools, general education on technical and vocational skills or basic education and training.

Under the new structure, pupils will progress from Grade 1 to Grade 12.

However, experts and teachers union leaders who attended yesterday’s national conference asked the government to allow for more consultations for the system to become acceptable and successful.

Religious leaders, led by National Council of Churches (NCCK) General-Secretary Peter Karanja said they supported the review.

Education scholar Gilbert Oluoch said the new system will be expensive because it will require re-training of teachers and the construction of more facilities to accommodate a higher transition rate.

TRAIN TEACHERS

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) cautioned the government against rushing the process without having re-trained the teachers who will implement it.

“At this time, observing the progress made, we feel that the process is being rushed because of signs that we are reading,” said Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, warning that since the review was not a political flagship project, politics should be kept out of it.

“It is the teacher who needs to understand these reforms more than the curriculum developers who will never implement it,” Mr Sossion told the forum.

He also demanded that more time be allocated to testing the curriculum.

“In this case, considering the timelines given, 2018 school year may be the best timing for this pilot.

“We should create space for a good evaluation of the pilot outcomes, both internal and external and measure the results of the proposed changes.

“A rushed process, and one that is both implemented and measured by insiders may miss the target,” said Mr Sossion.

He added: “We need to carefully define the outcome levels that will measure success and carefully introduce sound measures that will inform the review.

“While it is important that KICD evaluates the process, we need to invest also in a external evaluator.

“This way we can guarantee that we shall deliver to Kenyans valuable reforms.”

Kuppet Secretary-General Akelo Misori asked stakeholders to study the system keenly.

“Both angels and devils are in the details of the curriculum review process and therefore we must provide 21st century facilities for effective learning to take place,” he said.

Catholic Bishop Alfred Rotich asked stakeholders and the government to be open on the review and not to introduce contentious issues such as sex education.

LEARNING AREAS

The system gives students in secondary school a chance to specialise in the subjects they wish to pursue in tertiary institutions and learning areas have been divided into three categories: arts and sports, social sciences and science and technology, engineering and mathematics.

Under sports, students will pursue games, performing arts and visual arts while social science options will be languages and literature, humanities and business studies.

The third option will have pure and applied sciences, engineering and technical studies.

Subjects to be taught in lower primary will include literacy, Kiswahili, English and indigenous languages, as well as mathematical and environmental activities (science, social and agriculture activities).

In upper primary, pupils will be taught Kiswahili, English, home science, agriculture, science and technology, mathematics, religious studies, moral and life skills, creative arts (art, craft and music), physical and health education, social studies (citizenship, geography and history) with an option of foreign languages (Arabic, French, German, Chinese) and indigenous languages.

At junior secondary, a learner will be required to take the 12 core subjects — including English, Kiswahili, mathematics, integrated science, health education, pre-technical and pre-vocational education, social studies, religious education, business studies, agriculture, life skills education, sports and physical education.

They will also take a minimum of one and a maximum of two subjects according to personalities, abilities, interests and career choices.

The optional subjects are home science, computer science, performing arts, foreign languages, Kenya Sign Language, indigenous languages and visual arts.

In senior secondary, a student will take two core subjects irrespective of the pathway identified.

They include community service learning (life skills, citizenship, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and research) and physical education.

Source :  Daily Nation

Ethiopia’s ‘Half-Cooked’ Graduates

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As Ethiopia continues to produce a record number of university and college graduates like never before, what is becoming alarming is the quality, not the quantity, of these graduates.

Since the Ethiopian government decided to revitalize the old educational system via its Growth and Transformation Plan at the beginning of the Ethiopian millennium 16 years ago, the country has been hell bent in trying to provide educational opportunities to its citizens at all cost.

From having just handful public universities, it has now progressed to have over 30 universities across the country in less than two decades. In addition to these universities, there are many private institutions that have been created, catering to almost all the desires of the country’s 90 million plus population. It seems access and choice have become the norm, while quality is becoming a rare commodity.

Even Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has described the new graduates as “half-cooked”. He has promised to look at the shortcomings of the system and report back. He should.

No education is good enough, when the foundation and quality of it is being doubted and questioned in the open. In its graduates, it seems, Ethiopia has managed to create an easy path to qualification while compromising the reputation of quality education found within the country.

In the process, it has constructed a mill-factory like environment in its sacred educational system, where an easy entrance and graduation is a guarantee no matter what, with little success in the arena of employment. This is no longer healthy as Ethiopia moves to a status of respectability in the world.

What is happening in Ethiopia’s educational system is not something to emulate and endorse unless real reform is implemented.

The country is best advised to pause, reflect and focus on the quality of its educational institutions within instead of creating a slew of new institutions. Too many universities are being constructed in a rush, while technical colleges’ are being promoted to university status, while neglecting the reality on the ground, in the employment world.

The nation seems to be heading to a standstill as it produces countless graduates in need of employment and questionable qualifications compared to their counterparts.

What is the point of becoming an Ethiopian educated medical doctor, a lawyer or an Engineer, if the qualification is in doubt and human lives, safety or liberty are presumed to be vulnerable?

Nobody wants an Ethiopian society, where in the midst of the construction boom, local construction engineers become underemployed while international enterprises, in Ethiopia, look for talents elsewhere. That is likely to happen should Ethiopia refuse to promote quality within its system earlier rather than later.

Reputations are important and the image of the Ethiopian educational system is in tatters. The system is in need of a serious reflection and that is, before it loses its reputation forever.

Five years ago, the country started requiring all potential teachers to sit for a qualifying exam and the result was disappointing to say the least. From the 700 candidates selected for graduate assistants, shockingly, only one was able to score 80pc and the average grade was below 60pc, at 57.8pc. Twenty pc of the candidates scored below 50pc.

This brings into question the qualification of the teachers who teach eager students. In Ethiopia, it is a shame to hear of higher institutions operate with little standards.

That is not a good accomplishment to aspire to the future stewards of the country’s leadership. There should be a better mechanism to root out the shortcomings of the system so better scholars can be minted. While the government’s agency – Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency Ethiopia (HERQA) attempts to bring quality to the system, while it also implements policies, with little resources, it has not been as successful as assumed.

Producing policies and keeping quality intact, is a conflict of interest by itself. Ethiopia should look at a splitting the agency in two, so policies and quality is conducted far from one another. Perhaps, this agency is the initial glimpse of where reform should begin its journey.

Education is a vital investment any government can bestow its citizens and Ethiopia is no exception. But, education and qualification in name and paper only, will come back to haunt the nation, in a serious of social problems, in the near future.

As Ethiopia emerges as a nation on the verge of joining the world at the World Trade Organization (WTO), embrace the ideals of globalization fully and attempt to become an industrialized nation by 2025, it should begin to understand how the population will soon be forced to compete with the world in a modern Ethiopia.

It will no longer compete within, or regionally, but globally. For new graduates, it will be a struggle to find their footing as they look for work opportunities. They will be strangers in their own city. Everything will be in the open.

These graduates will not just be judged by the qualification that is on a shiny document, but the practical knowledge they bring to the table. Unless they are prepared for that, the whole foundation of the educational system will be in question. The people that will secure the future direction of Ethiopia, will be foreigners, not Ethiopians.

Inviting the world to come and invest in Ethiopia has side effects in terms of world class competition. Unless the system begins to produce an educated citizenry, with quality educational experience best suited to face the challenges of its society, the educational revolution started almost two decades ago and the vision of producing an educated population would be the hallmark of an example of public failure. In a good quality local education, brain drain should be Ethiopia’s dark past.

At the end, that is what a mixed economy is: true competition. That is where the country is headed.

At the minimum, the Ethiopian educational system needs to start creating an educated citizenry sooner than later, with quality educational experience, best suited to face the challenges of the present and future. Unless it does that, the revolution started almost two decades ago to help produce an educated population would be the hallmark of a failed ambitious government policy.

Source : Addis Fortune(Addis Ababa)

Kenya: A Burning Question – Why Are Kenyan Students Setting Fire to Their Schools?

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Over the past few years, students have set fire to hundreds of secondary schools across Kenya. The tally includes more than 120 cases in 2016 alone. Why students are setting fire to their schools has been the topic of repeated investigations by police, education officials, government inquiries and journalists. Indeed, explanation — or rather blame — for this trend has been levelled in every conceivable direction.

Kenya’s Education Minister and other members of the government have suggested that the fires have been masterminded and supported by “cartels” in retaliation against the government’s crackdown on lucrative exam-cheating schemes. This is a claim repeated by the President. The government has also fingered ethnic and clan hostilities as motivating attacks on schools headed by principals who are identified with different communities.

In these ways, the government’s explanations treat students as unwitting pawns in political disputes that are actually not really about them or their schooling.

Meanwhile, many public policy analysts and members of the public have blamed students’ “indiscipline“. This lack of discipline has been attributed to lackadaisical parenting as well as the ban on teachers’ use of corporal punishment.

Again, students are understood to be relatively passive receptacles of adults’ management.

My research with students and in schools across Kenya indicates that most of these explanations miss the mark because they depreciate, rather than appreciate, students’ capacities to engage in purposeful political action.

Rational political tactics

In the media, students’ actions are cast as “mindless hooliganism”. But students can rationally explain why they use arson in their schools. Students have learned that setting fire to their schools is an effective tactic for winning acknowledgement of their dissatisfaction.

Their use of arson represents an astute reading of the limited options available to citizens to practice meaningful dialogue and peaceful dissent related to the conditions of public services, such as education. As many analysts have noted, limited options for meaningful citizen engagement in Kenya’s policy arena has given rise to the popularity of a “strike culture”.

In fact, students easily identify other examples from Kenyan political struggles that demonstrate how violence and destruction have proven effective means for citizens to win public and political recognition of their grievances.

As one student explained,

What I see is that in Kenyan society, the bigger the impact, the quicker the reaction. The government sees these people are serious and they can think “if we don’t meet their grievances now, we might see worse”.

Schooling complaints

Students target their schools because their grievances tend to be school-based. The most commonly cited complaints among students include principals’ overly authoritarian, “highhanded” and unaccountable styles of management, poor quality school diets and inadequate learning resources, including teaching. Many of these criticisms reflect suspicions about how school budgets are being allocated.

The overwhelming majority of school arson cases have occurred in boarding schools across the country, including boys’ schools, girls’ schools, and mixed schools. Schools that perform well and those that tend to perform more poorly on national examinations have all been affected.

Why are boarding schools such common targets? Some of this is explained by prevalence: nearly 80% of Kenya’s secondary schools are boarding schools. However, students explain that boarding schools are targeted because life for them in these schools can be “like prison”.

The boarding school, like prison, can be considered a “total institution“. This idea, theorised by sociologist Erving Goffman, refers to a situation where all aspects of life occur in the same place, with the same cohort and according to a stringent schedule. This regime is enforced by a single authority according to an overarching “rational” plan. In practice, boarding school life is often experienced by students as excessively rigid and authoritarian.

The majority of school fires are set in students’ dormitories, thereby also destroying students’ own personal belongings. The rationale given by students is that the destruction of their dorms means that they will be sent home and given some respite from their intensive boarding school lifestyles.

Understanding adolescents and risk-taking

Interviews with students as well as reviews of court case proceedings indicate that it can be difficult for students to imagine the long-lasting detrimental consequences that might arise from setting fires in their schools.

In part, this is due to students holding cynical views of the ineptitude of the Kenyan enforcement and judicial systems. Students note, for example, that many prosecutions fail due to deficient criminal investigations, including unlawful interrogation practices.

Additionally, some students who played active roles in setting fires later claimed that they had been unable to anticipate the scale and scope of the damage the fires would cause to their schools as well as to their own futures.

These kinds of experiences jibe with emergent understandings from neuroscience concerning the unique developmental stage of adolescents’ brains. We now know that the brain is still developing during adolescence. The prefrontal cortex of the brain – which is implicated in impulse control – may not be fully developed and functional until the early 20s or later. Consequently, neurodevelopmental researchers theorise that

adolescents may have less inhibition, be more prone to take risks, more impulsive, and less likely to consider the distal consequences of their actions than adults.

Recognising these potential differences does not cancel out the immediate deliberateness of students’ acts to affect change in ways that they understand to be effective. But it does complicate the question of how to respond to students’ palpable frustrations.

Alternative possible futures

All of this indicates that the government’s intention to respond to the trend of school-based arson with more discipline and punishment of students is misguided in two crucial and connected ways.

First, this approach only addresses symptoms exhibited in rebellious acts. At the root of students’ dissatisfaction and desperation is a gruelling education coupled with often unaccountable authority, both of which are acutely experienced through the “total institution” of the boarding school.

Second, threats of more punishment misjudge the unique conditions of adolescence in terms of neuromaturation, and specifically how this can affect risk-taking and consideration of long-term consequences. More threats and interventions of punishment are unlikely to affect these predispositions.

Kenyan students have learned that arson works as a tactic to express dissatisfaction and opposition. To change this lesson, the government needs to open peaceful and effective channels for young people’s perspectives to be taken into account, both in education and government. Otherwise, we can likely expect more fires next year.

Disclosure statement

Elizabeth Cooper does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Source : The Conversation