“The King is naked” How corona has badly exposed the Kenyan Education Sector

When the year started , everyone had their goals set out , a year in which they would achieve their ambitions and dreams .It’s needless to say one of the major prayer items in every other new year’s eve , is the need for intellectual prosperity.

Every other scholar, from the youngest to the eldest , from the toddlers who join school for fun to the PhD candidates who write dissertations, this was surely the year .Whilst all this was going on , a pandemic was brewing in the Socialist Republic of China , the novel Coronavirus, which for sure has changed the norm , throughout the world , and Kenya has not been left behind.

Just a few months after the confirmation of the first case of this novel virus , it made its way into our country , announcing a period of uncertainty .It is evident that all sectors were badly hit , but the education sector remains the biggest casualty. Just a few hours after the confirmation of the first case locally , the president gave a decree of closure of all the institutions of learning , a move aimed to curtail the spread of this virus , and that was great . However , what followed since then has revealed the mediocrity that for decades has been the face of the country’s education sector . In many other countries , a similar decree was made , but with time, they have come to the realization that education has to go on , even amidst this vicious battle , and because the lives of mankind is far much greater , in person learning has proven to be impossible ,as that only means the spread of the virus. Necessity being the mother of invention ,a lot of new methods have been introduced to for the time being as the world is still struggling to manage the virus , and at the centre of such inventions is the remote learning . This technology has ensured learning goes on throughout the world , as this is one area in humanity that can not be shut forever . However ,in Kenya , this remains a mirage , and a great one for that matter .

Every other day , the Education Minister ( Cabinet Secretary) makes abrupt pronouncements ,many which are contradictory to the earlier ones, despite the fact that the taxpayers footed a bill for a commission to recommend how best learning would resume , and this only begs the question ,why is it that the Minister works as a lone ranger in an area that needs collective efforts ? As time goes by , it only becomes crystal clear that learning may not resume soon , and that includes any form of learning , not just the in person learning. But then how did we get here ? I opine that had the government invested on the remote learning technology early enough , the issue of re opening schools couldn’t be here nor there as students would have been busy learning through the clouds , as they wait for everything to become secure enough to open schools for in person learning, but that’s not the case .

It is a shame that a country which boasts a budget of tens of billions of US Dollars cannot provide remote learning to its students , as there is no infrastructure to enable the same . Student don’t have access to electronic devices , efficient network coverage , a good cyber security, helpful online materials and the human resources to facilitate the same .

Greatly for this pandemic , we have learnt the rot in the education sector ,which for decades has been on autopilot of nature ,and now that nature can nolonger be smooth , the plane is under turbulence , and signs are that we may not land safely because the pilot is taking all of as for a gamble .

Lest you forget that when the current regime was campaigning to get power , one of their main agenda was to provide all class one pupils with laptops , the regime is on its eighth year , the students who were to be the initial beneficiaries are currently in their final year of the primary school , with nothing to show .This only paints a picture of a government that is not serious about anything remote learning , and in general , any other learning , and it will take years for this to be achieved .

The virus has revealed to us , just how the education sector has been on autopilot of nature ,and now that nature is nolonger tenable, the turbulence is setting so massively ,and it will only be a miracle if we land safely , because the pilot is taking all the passengers on board for a gamble.

To end it , as a country ,we need to rethink of just how the education sector is led in the future .

By Lincoln Oyugi

Just as Isaac Newton died a virgin, I'll die a writer!