By Mohamed Jellow:
Education is an essential tool ought to be possessed by every individual in life. Owning it or lacking it will definitely have impact on the individual.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity ”
I won’t be exaggerating to tell that northern Kenya lost its educational virginity immediately after independence, since the area was being classified as marginalized zone and the residents referred to as second class citizens.
That means there is no equity in education as far as the government is concerned because some regions are lacking resources needed in investing in education.
Allow me to call it government policy as one of the factors that lead to deterioration of education in northern Kenya.
However, there are myriads of other obstacles bedeviling education in northern Kenya.
There is no proper foundation of learning in the early classes, the early childhood development (ECD) and lower primary level are not well developed, therefore learners progress to the upper classes while they are yet to master the knowledge of numerals and word recognition in languages which will have an adverse effect on mathematical problems and the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) respectively in future as they progress to the next level.
Lack of enough permanent classrooms might be also one of the causes of underperformance in education.
The teachers are forced to combine two or level of learners in the same classroom precincts, imagine what the culmination will be when two or more level of learners are combined in the same classroom precincts, unless on shift basis where one level of learners vacate the class giving way to the other level, the whole situation will be an outright pandemonium.
Lack of teaching/learning aids and lack of motivation of teachers as they take home meager salary is also a contributing factor.
There are instances where local politicians interfere with the administration of schools as they have head on collision with head teachers because of their selfish political gains.
A little bird told me incompetent education officers who were not appointed on merit is also another factor that culminates into the downfall of education in northern region, because politicians lobbied for their appointments, they lack academic qualification for the various portfolios in which they play in the education sector e.g. quality assurance officers, curriculum support officers, staffing officers to mention but a few.
They are clueless and rarely add value to the progress of education, imagine they were to carry out an oversight role in curriculum implementation, they say, “when the leading sheep limbs the flock cannot reach far”.
Harsh climatic conditions is also a cause of the deterioration of education in northern Kenya.
It is natural that northern Kenya receives less reliable rainfall therefore the area is susceptible to severe drought a condition that affects learning as a result low enrollment in school might be realized as some children often drop out of school during drought cycles.
The scorching sun in northern Kenya also affects learning especially during afternoon session where learners might not be able to grasp what taught by teachers.
As I write this am very bitter since our candidates for KCPE and KCSE are about to do their exams.
Last year’s few students from Northern Kenya managed to meet the university cut off point even after it was reduced to C (Plus).
Allow me to pen off by saying those are the surroundings behind the dwindling of education in Northern Kenya.
Mr. Jellow is a teacher of English.