Majority of Kenyans are unaware of reforms in education curriculum changes, shows survey

A file photo of a teacher and students during a lesson in class./COURTESY.

Nairobi, KENYA: A survey conducted by Twaweza East Africa shows that a majority of Kenyans are unaware of recent education reforms like curriculum changes where 6 out of 10 citizens ,58 percent, could not name any reforms at all and 1 out 10 mentioned a reform that has not happened.

In a media briefing in Nairobi on Thursday ,Twaweza East Africa chief poll officer Victor Rateng said that despite the fact that the new curriculum was most well‐known by 1 out of 4 citizens( 26 percent) .

The survey indicated that Citizens are also disengaged from school finances whereby only 3 out of 100 can correctly state the amount of money government sends to primary and secondary schools per student in replacement for school fees.

Three out of four do not know if this money arrives at their local school (76 percent) and the same number (75 percent) say they have never been to school to look for information about finances.

It also emerged that parents see shortages of teachers as the biggest challenge in education but most parents know little about school financing, recent education reforms and learning.

Parents say that a shortage of teachers is the biggest challenge facing schools at all levels;pre‐primary by 40 percent, primary 46 percent and secondary 35 percent .

The largest group of citizens,22 percent, also name teacher shortages as the main challenge.

Rateng indicated that Kenyans are divided on whether the quality of education has improved by 42 percent or deteriorated by 32 percent since schools became free.

However, 8 out of 10 citizens ,81 percent, think that they have a role to play in improving the quality of education in the country.

Half of parents also help their children with homework more than twice a term, although one out of five ,19 percent, never do.

“Citizens are engaged and interested in their children’s education. However, there is an emphasis on individual actions such as helping with homework or talking with teachers. Citizens are unlikely to be engaged with school finances and systems. “ Rateng said.

This, combined with low levels of knowledge about school quality, means that they are unlikely to come together to demand systemic change to how public education is delivered.” He added.

The findings are based on data collected from 1,703 respondents across Kenya between October and November 2017.