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Pay more attention to education needs

The third and last term of the school calendar begins Monday after a four-week break.

As learners troop back to school, the education sector is in a state of flux because of many inconclusive, yet far-reaching policy debates.

In the wider political scene, uncertainty looms over the presidency as the outcome of the election is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

Like other sectors, the court’s verdict has implications on education.

REFORMS

Specifically, though, education reform that has been the subject of public discourse for the past two years is hanging in the balance.

The country has been bracing itself for a major transition in the curriculum, from the current 8-4-4 to 2-3-6-3-3, but little has been done to prepare adequately for it.

Although a lot of efforts were made last year and early this year, the impetus for change has gone down and to date, the public remains uninformed about progress.

A pilot of the new curriculum was commissioned a couple of months ago but within the context of abrasive politics that divested attention from it, making it difficult to validate its efficacy.

FINANCING CHALLENGE

Second, the question of financing remains a challenge.

All the main political players pledged to introduce free secondary education; to upgrade from the current system where the fees is subsidised to full governmental support.

However, there is no clarity about its execution.

Experience from the free primary education that is nearly 15 years old and subsidised secondary education have illustrated that the government cannot sustain free schooling.

Not when the subventions perennially delay and funds disbursed in small fractions. The consequence is that quality of education has dramatically declined.

EXAMINATIONS

Lastly, this is the term for the national examinations and on paper, experience from last year has demonstrated that with determination, the pervasive cheating can be eliminated.

But the jury is still out. Can the reform tempo be sustained?

How can we ensure that the stringent measures do not unduly punish honest candidates?

Despite the politics, this is the time to reflect on education matters and ensure learners get value for time and money.

Team needs more help

Teachers threaten to boycott work in a week