Thursday, January 06, 2005

Free Primary Hell-ducation

I have moved to, and i have also migrated all posts and comments. YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE SO CHANGE YOUR BOOKMARLS/BLOGROLLS ACCORDINGLY!!!!
I distinctly recall arguing with my lads, especially Sin and Baddy about the free primary education program. My opinion at the time was that it was all bollocks, and now my opinion has radically changed. In addition to bollocks, it's also horse manure and B.S.

The recent revelation that every 1 in 2 students was going to twiddle their thumbs while the other got on to secondary school was not a surprise to me in the least. I recall concluding that the only thing that free primary education was going to do was create more STD 8 drop outs. Now, don't begin to tell me "at least they can read and write". What use are 350,000 people who can only read and write? So you can read and write. Hurray, yahoo, and hotmail. Then what? You have no skills and little prospects of getting any of significant benefit.

The Government should have instead used the money for free primary education to build MORE SECONDARY SCHOOLS! If that had been done, more students could be absorbed into secondary schools. The benefits? If you complete this and miss a place at a national university, you have many options:

1) Parallel courses at the Universities
2) Private universities like Strathmore, Daystar University, Catholic University, USIU, Strathmore, etc
3) Assorted polytechnics
4) Training colleges, e.g. Kenya School Of Monetary Studies, School Of Professional Studies, etc
5) Universities and colleges abroad

With all these options there is a fighting chance that more people can make something of themselves with their lives. 350,000 people twiddling their thumbs and idling in their estates is not only a recipe for disaster, but a strain on the existing infrastructure and the people who feed and clothe them. Further more, a good number of these are probably bright students, or gifted in some way or the other and without a shot at education we will never get a chance at seeing their gifts. In short this is an excellent way to remain a third world country.

Another unfortunate effect of this chocolate teapot policy is that the quality of education at public primary schools had dropped like a stone. You cannot tell me that 90% of those who qualified for secondary did so because their private schools did a double registry! Granted, private schools have some inherent advantages but I am not convinced those will skew the scales in this manner. Face it, 90% of the qualifiers are from private schools because public schools performed dismally. The free education policy is lowering education standards!

I can sympathize with a teacher who does not give regular homework because he knows he will have to mark 80 exercise books. And since he teaches three of four streams, that is a grand total of up to 320 exercise books.

The Education Ministry needs to WAKE THE HECK UP and realize this policy was implemented from the wrong end, and it's ill effects shall be felt for the next 10+ years