The education system in Kenya is . . . terrible!. Notoriously known to encourage inequality with some going as far as saying that education is the root cause of all problems Kenya. On 29.12.2014, the Secretary concerned with things education decided it was time to release the results of the candidates. For those of you who don’t know. We attend to our examinations in class eight, the highest level of studying in primary school and during our final year of high school, form four. Or what is called year twelve in the American System. For those going British way, it’s the sitting for IGCSE.
I did the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, enjoying it very very much. Until I reached in high school and slept all the time we were told to read for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. I felt so good at the time, I truly confess. I never took it very seriously, those exams. They were too hectic. When the Secretary released those results, unlike other years, the results were received with not much jubilations. ”But, this is Kenya”, as I say always. Those pupils who thought to have done well went on with the jubilations in support of their parents, teachers and others. I, for one, became very saddened. We will come to this one later.
You may be wondering what I mean by conflict view of education. The Conflict view by Karl Marx inspires me. We are in constant competition for resources, the society is. The resources we fight for are scarce, hence, the haves, middle haves and have nots keep fighting for the resources. The same ones in scarce. For example, look at land. A poor woman owns a very productive land in the middle of Nakuru County, but, a very wealthy Indian man wants to buy the woman’s land, by force. He agrees to pay the woman a meagre, 10 million, yet, the value of the land is 10 times that money. What does the woman do, she comes with all her belongings sets camp and lives on her land like a poor beggar. She is afraid the man will steal the land from her! Not my story, but, I am not disclosing the source, either. I don’t know if this was ever resolved. It’s the same thing that happens with education. We all want our children to school in Starehe Boys Centre or BrookHouse International School or Greensted International School or even Braeburn to mention a few. But, we compete for these positions with the middle haves and the haves. Where do we the have nots? We find them in underperforming public schools where the only source of power is the teacher who keeps undermining the student. ”Go to your mama mboga mum”, as if vegetable vending is a mistake.
A school has it’s functions for many purposes like encouraging problem solving, encouraging independence, etc. The same schools, aren’t perfect as not all minds are freed, students drop out, smoke and drink while in school, refuse to attend schools and even students graduate with poorly digested degrees. This perspective offers schools as dominant, dynamic and unequal arrangement. Here, we ask the overpowering questions: who writes the curriculum, who has access to state-of-the-art training, are there scholarships involved when we participate? Which groups are likely to drop out of school, due to lack of fees or who have to rely on financial aid?. Who goes to study away from home? Where, how, and who finances their stay while there?
Critically looking at these questions shows you how schools perpetuates inequality and unequal distribution of resources. Have you heard, often, scholarship programmes for kids playing soccer in Dundori High School? How about in Brookhouse School? How many times, does your pal travel abroad that they have won an education scholarship through merit, hard-work and perseverance? Hence, the ever drop outs cases experienced in schools with ”no proper funding and influential parents”. Look at the funds deposited by the government or county government for education. Is it ever enough to even support one student? Look at their laboratories; chemistry, biology and physics. They have to rely on other well supported schools for their laboratories, during K.C.S.E the students in these schools experience ‘fire’ from Bunsen burners. Now compare that to a situation at Brook-house, where students don’t have to worry about any transportations. Their dads are merchants, the bourgeoisie, the employers and means of production, flying their children to school every morning and evening is order. Us in this miserable part of school life, we walk twenty kilometres, waking very early in the morning, is part of kawa life. By the time we reach school premises, the teachers are through with the first lessons. They couldn’t wait for me who comes from the other side of Nakuru or Samburu.
How do you expect me to fair on with constant late coming?. When I reach home, I have to go to the stream, fetch water, take the cows to graze, feed my siblings. I get so tired, I cannot continue with school. Strain. How do I compete with a Brooke-Housian? How? You tell me.