Since its inception in year 2003, free primary education in Kenya has been on the spotlight. Its attainment has seen Kenya achieve millennium goal no. 1 “Attain Free Primary Education by year 2015.” Free Primary Education has allowed children from the less fortunate families acquire basic education.
It has brought them to an equal standing with the rest of the able population. Any parent denying their child the right to education is deemed to have committed an offense punishable by law.
This is one of the best the government can offer to its citizens, the power to desert illiteracy and be empowered to serve the country.
The education scandal is constantly gaining momentum and what impact has it had on the Education sector.
Major Challenges facing Free Primary Education in Kenya.
Though the system of education has given the every child the right to attend classes it has come with its own challenges.
The classrooms became congested beyond capacity, the teachers the had to work harder to pass information as well as give personalized attention to students. In the end the it translated into poor performance in the education that year.
The huge student levels also brought with it accommodation challenges in both boarding and day schools.
The desks, chairs, locker and dormitory facilities are strained to peak limits.
Unproportionate Student Teacher Ratio
Everyone who was in the villages and had not gone through primary education decided to carry their bags and head to class. The end result is the student teacher ratio increasing to uncontrollable levels.
The government has had to employ more teachers to mitigate the problem and improve the ratio. The donors also chipped in to assist the government in funding the new strained budgets.
Corruption in Education Ministry
Due to the amounts of money involved in funding the education program, itchy hands have always tried to poke into the education kitty.
The government has been called to account for every penny it uses in the program. Officers found guilty of misappropriation are called to resign and face the full force of the law.
The free primary education scandal has tainted the minister for education’s public image. The Honorable professor has been called by civil societies among them Mr. Okoiti Okiya Omtata. They have been demonstrating at the entrance gate in attempts to remove the minister Samuel Ongeri from office.
There civil society have even gone to greater heights to call upon the president to sack the minister for his alleged involvement in the education scandal.
Free Primary Education in Kenya still a Success
Despite the challenges faced by the free primary education, we should never forget the commendable blessings it brought to the country. It has allowed every child the right to acquire basic education which is very vital. Parents mostly who survive with incomes under a dollar a day, have been relieved of the burden of school fees.
It has also increased the demand for teachers and thus become an avenue of job creation in Kenya. In the beginning pessimists saw the system as one that is doomed to fail miserably. However, the government’s persistence in its implementation has made it to bare fruits.
The success of the free primary education has made the government has start eying the launching of free secondary education. Since free secondary education is still in the teething stages, the government has only ventured into subsidizing it and making it affordable. In this taste the government has been awarding education bursaries to needy students.
Way forward for Free primary Education in Kenya.
Much needs to be done to increase the literacy levels of all the citizens and therefore both the government and the donors need to work together in this.
The government needs to show transparency in funding the education programs and not allow loopholes into the system. The education officials involved in corrupt deals need to step aside and allow for investigations to be conducted.
Employment of more teachers to handle the increased student levels will do allot of good. Teachers should be deployed in all the corners of the country to ensure the equal educational accessibility by all.
Parents should be encouraged to allow their children to attend school and not tend animals or house chores.
I appeal to all stakeholders in the free primary education in Kenya to work together towards making it a success.