The oxford dictionary defines education as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction especially at school or university. According to recent Kenya news, a case of academic brilliance who has been living in the streets left the country with many questions. Well, leaning on this very definition, the student particularly received the best instruction, as well as produced the best results while tested for the necessary. Kevin Ochieng Obede is just but an example of the hundreds of Kenyan graduates who are unable to secure jobs after going through rigorous schooling for the most part of their young lives. To me, the education system in kenya is just another mess added to the pile of mismanagement the country already has, otherwise, how else would you explain the rate of unemployment existing coupled with very little being done, most of it being, for the sake of all practical purposes, a façade? I would assume that everyone involved in the school system is living in denial of the fact that it is not necessary for every citizen to follow a script which evidently does not do justice to the lives of graduates or the economy altogether.

I have purposefully gone into checking how other well performing economies adjust their education system and I have realized a huge difference. In the country, there is barely any major restructure so as to accommodate to the change in educational needs. Even now that one is underway, there is opposition from the very people in charge of it. I would go deep into detail, but that’s not my aim for this article, rather to give my opinion on what exactly education should do for us as individuals and a nation too.

Dating back to early years when human beings were hunters and gatherers, formal education did not exist. It was the most exciting and fulfilling time for children, since their curiosity was well taken care of through both play and hunting. All they did was explore! As societies changed to farming, industry, economy up until the technological era, formal education was introduced and modified to suit the needs of the era in existence. This is good, except when children as young as age three are subjected to hours on end without enough sleep and play. Children have been taken through learning to work in fields, factories, in the army and today, in school (I consider this to be work). I find education to be being used to produce an army of workers who will only be of the benefit of the economy.

children learning in school. photo: courtesy

Education today should be intentional in equipping every person with the necessary skills, knowledge and values while at the same time considering their inherent needs at every level of their lives. For instance, instead of limiting young kids to a pitiful 30 minutes break in between long hours of boring lessons, then another excruciating task of examining what they grasped, why not tap into that energy in them by inventing constructive play, let them discover and arouse exploration in a way that will at the end fulfill the same purpose of intellect? Why not foster important values and morals in a better way other than imposing them? I think this is a good way to let them be expressive yet respective, to let them discover how best to handle situations thrown at them by life, then learn more about what to offer them next and what path in life they are best fitted for, considering their genuine interests and grow in them that skill and talent, whether academic or non-academic, and assist them accordingly as they become adults who can handle long hours of schoolwork, and who can eventually know early on what career tickles their being. I believe that if an individual is pushed by their own conviction, they will achieve more than they could through imposed discipline. Adults will therefore be better placed to better the economy, or whatever our education system aims at. There will be more passionate doctors, more lawyers driven by positive conviction, more truthful politicians, by far, many and better artists and creatives and more diversity in terms of careers.

What do you think about the education system in general? What is it about the schooling system of where you reside now that makes a big difference from that of Kenya?