NCCK Memorandum on Education Reforms
November 30, 2022
MEMORANDUM BY NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES OF KENYA (NCCK) TO THE PRESIDENTIAL WORKING PARTY ON EDUCATION REFORMS
Prof Raphael M Munavu,
Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms
We in the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) recognize the important role education plays in the formation and life of learners as well as in shaping the character and heritage of a nation. We have therefore been actively involved in the education sector since 1844 through establishment of schools as part of our holistic mission. It is appreciable that churches in Kenya founded or established more than 69% of basic education schools in the country, though most were taken over by government as sponsored public schools. This essence was captured by the “Taskforce on the Re-Alignment of the Education Sector to the Constitution of Kenya 2010” (2012) in their report when they stated that “Formal education in Kenya was founded by the Churches.”
It is against this background that we have welcomed the establishment of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms with a mandate wider than just a review of the Competence Based Curriculum.
The Working Party accords the country, especially stakeholders, an opportunity to progress conversations on holistic and focused reforms in the education sector.
We are therefore pleased to make the following recommendations for consideration of adoption:
TOR 1 – On Basic Education
- Appropriate Structure to Implement the Competency Based Curriculum
The NCCK observes that:
One, that there is inadequate information from the government and ministry of education officials regarding the transition of Grade 6 to Grade 7. Of special interest is the need to have clarity on whether the government budgeted for the Grade 7 capitation. If yes, is the capitation based on the secondary school or primary school rates?
Two, there appears to be no clear guidelines on selection criteria, yet there are only less than 3 months to the start of Grade 7.
Three, since Grade 6 and the current Std.8 are going to be in secondary level education, what psychosocial preparations or mitigations are in place to support the Std.7 learner, who will be in primary level learning in 2023, yet a learner who was one year below (academic-wise and age-wise) will be a year ahead in secondary level learning?
Four, are there teachers, well trained to handle Junior Secondary School? Is there adequate infrastructure to handle Junior Secondary School at the current secondary school infrastructure or shouldn’t JSS be domiciled at the Primary School level where there are more facilities already in place?
Five, there are schools where a teacher is handling more than 100 learners in a class. This not only negates the principle of learner-centred learning, it also amplifies the non-compliance with international standards of teacher-learner ratio of 1:20-30. Teachers are frustrated when they are made to teach a large number of learners. Whether this is exacerbated by inadequate infrastructure or deficit in teacher employment is not an excuse.
Six, across, the years, there has been a teacher shortage in a significant number of schools, passing the burden of teacher employment to the Boards of Management, which in essence means the parent carries that burden. This continues to promote inequality in education because the teacher cannot attend to the individual needs of the learner due to large numbers of learners, but also some of the parents are overburdened with financing teacher employment through the Boards of Management (BoMs).
- Junior Secondary School should be domiciled in the current Primary School and have a wing called Junior Secondary; with probably a different set of uniform (should it be deemed necessary). This will not only ensure that JSS is a day-schooling practice and thus achieving multiple advantages in terms of parental involvement and lowering the cost of education, it will also save millions of shillings both at state and household level that can go towards infrastructure development and standardized resourcing for the JSS across all schools.
- In order to avert the current public anxiety on Grade 6 transition to JSS, the Government should give urgent and comprehensive communiqué without necessarily waiting for the completion of the task force’s recommendations. Such communication will help the publishers and suppliers of teaching and learning materials to know where to deliver materials, parents will be adequately prepared for any attendant financial obligations, Grade 6 learners anxiety will dissipate, especially given the comments during campaigns that CBC will be scrapped, and teachers will be adequately prepared to deliver CBC at JSS level.
- The Government should ensure that teachers assigned to teach JSS are properly and adequately equipped. The 2-months late November2022 – late January 2023 should be utilized to enhance teacher’s capacity to deliver CBC at JSS level.
- The government through the Ministry of Education, and Teacher Service Commission should ensure that all schools have adequate numbers of teachers, who are well trained and oriented to deliver CBC content at all levels. Already as we are, we do not have enough teachers, but there are schools that have more teachers than required. Can we begin by radically ensuring that we have an equal number of teachers at primary school level? TSC must rationalize deployment of teachers to ensure that there is a commensurate teacher-learner ratio.
- To address the issue of teacher shortage and the attendant financial outlay, the TSC could consider Teacher Assistants so that there is shared responsibility between the teacher and the teacher assistant. The teacher students at colleges of education can be required to undertake an industrial attachment of one year (before the final year of study) to provide for the teacher assistant services at a reduced remuneration at the level of internship.
- Governance of the Basic Education Sector
The NCCK observes that:
One, the management of the Pre-Primary level learning, which has now been mainstreamed as part of the Early Years Education (EYE) Basic Education, is under the County Governments, and not directly under the Ministry of Education. This creates unnecessary policy, operations, quality, standards, and practice and management gaps.
Two, it is not always the case that at County level, the Director of education oversights all educational institutions in terms of policy and implementation. Hardly are there regular quality and standards checks at the Pre-Primary level.
Three, there appears to be overlapping roles between the Quality Assurance field staff and the curriculum support officers.
Four, the construction of the 10,000 CBC classes was supervised by the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of Government Services, hugely side-lining the Boards of Management in critical decision making processes as well as ownership and maintenance of the said classrooms.
- Communicate policy issues and their implementation clearly to avoid ambiguity
- Sensitize all school managers on matters of education policy and their implementation
- Ensure that each level’s line of operation is clearly stipulated
- Involve all stakeholders on matters of education policies and their implementation at both primary and secondary schools
- Assess and make Recommendations on–
- The conceptualization and implementation of key tenets guiding the competency based approach including but not limited to value based education, community service learning, parental empowerment and engagement;
One, wishes to remind all that the moral decadence being witnessed in the society today is a reflection of the failure by the education system to inculcate values in the learners. The NCCK raised an alert to the government in June 1913 that “a system of education which aims at training of youth with no regard for religious truths ignores the very foundation upon which all that is noble in a people shall be built”.
Two, applauds that one of the pillars of the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (BECF) is values that are intended to make Kenya to be a society based on sound moral and religious values as envisaged in the Constitution of Kenya (Article 10) and Basic Education Act, 2013 Section 27(d). The Ministry of Education has a supervisory and advisory role in matters regarding spiritual development in learning institutions and is mandated to ensure inculcation of sound moral and religious values to learners (national goals of education.)
Three, there are observable indicators of moral decadence and bankruptcy in Kenya as witnessed through rampant incidents of burning of schools, violence and destruction of property, youth radicalization, sex orgies, drug abuse among children and youth, exam cheating, among others The disintegration of the family unit, global negative influence, negative peer pressure, among others, further escalating this challenge.
Four, there is a history of partnership between the Ministry of Education and Faith Based Organizations towards providing and nurturing spiritual formation and moral values among learners and hence the need to institutionalize this partnership with the Education Reform Agenda.
Five, the concept of community service learning, though good and probably a stitch in time is rather foreign and may not have been well embraced. It has not been well articulated to all stake holders.
Six, the CBC, although emphatic about parental engagement and empowerment, is docile when it comes to providing scope, content and approach (es) towards the same. There is a perception among parents that their role and responsibility stops at paying school fees. Any other issue should be fully handled by the teacher. In many instances, there seems to be a gap in the communication between the teacher and the parent and between the government and the parent. For example, how was the parent informed about the CBC in terms of what it is, how it will be implemented, what is the role of the parent in the implementation matrix, what mind shift is expected among the stakeholders, etc.? Which forum or structure was used to disseminate such information, if at all such information was disseminated?
- CBC should integrate a values-driven curriculum at all levels of learning and training, including means of embracing, understanding and assessing of the values, and peg career progression of teachers on positive influence on learners in addition to professional standards already set.
- The Government should establish a chaplaincy desk to oversee chaplaincy programme in learning institutions.
- The Government through Ministry of Education (MoE) for facilitate delivery of chaplaincy, PPI and Religious Education in basic level learning institutions in consultation with the sponsor.
- Amendment of Teachers’ Service Commission Act to allow establishing a Cadre of teachers known as Teacher-Chaplain: Chaplaincy be equated to one subject / learning area, meaning that the person appointed as a Teacher-Chaplain will continue discharging their teaching duties, albeit with a lower workload. This will necessitate the development of a Scheme of Service for the same. A prospective Teacher-Chaplain will be required to have a recommendation from a recognized umbrella body of faith based organizations of the faith they profess.
- Religious Education including the Programmes for Pastoral Instructions should be made compulsory from Pre-Primary to University level education because they are key drivers of values education which is a key component of the Competence Based Curriculum.
- CBC should sensitize the stakeholders on the concept of community service learning, articulate the aim and the methodology of community service learning and provide necessary resources both facilities and human resources, with equal precision as has been with the development of curriculum for learning areas and teacher training and orientation.
- A framework setting out the scope, content and approach for sensitizing parents about their role in provision of quality and affordable education to their children is critical and urgent. This should explore such areas as parental presence, guidance and support in undertaking home assignments; collaborating with the school to explore best ways to finance the incidental costs. For example, schools can rear chicken or rabbits or other economic undertakings that can offset such costs from the parents.
- The Parents Association (PA) should be well utilized to be the channel of communication between the school and the parents. A lot of misinformation can be rebutted if the PA is actively engaged as part of the BoM. Similarly, the Kenya National Association of Parents (KNAP) should be structured so as to be the national channel through which parents can convey and receive information of national scale from the relevant government agencies regarding education, and in particular, the CBC implementation.
- The assessment and examination framework
The NCCK notes that:
One, assessment includes methods that teachers use to determine what learners know and what they can do. Assessment is not just designing an assessment task and producing an assessment score. A good assessment also defines the size and nature of the learning gap.
Two, the aim of assessment is to establish the extent to which the learner has acquired the expected competencies with a view to informing interventions for further acquisition and mastery of expected competencies. Assessment helps to diagnose and monitor the progress of a learner, and provides feedback to learners, parents, teachers and curriculum designers and implementers.
Three, competency based assessment can be described as determining the capability to apply a set of related knowledge, skills and abilities required to successfully perform critical work functions or tasks in a defined setting. Competency Based Assessment (CBA) is a process whereby the learner is given an opportunity to put into practice what they have learned.
- Too much focus on summative assessment should be avoided. A range of assessment that focuses on the development of student learning outcomes, cross-curricular competencies, and literacy and numeracy should be adopted.
- The grade 6 summative assessment should not be used to determine admission into grade 7. If this is done it will be counterproductive to the main objective of CBS assessment
- Quality assurance and standards must be ensured to uphold the integrity of both formative and summative assessment.
- The quality assurance and standards
The NCCK observes as follows:
One, subjects like Agriculture and Home Science have practical components. There is evidence that some schools, for example, did not facilitate the construction of chicken cages. Where such schools uploaded results from the learners, such results are fake and non-existent. Some teachers have devised a way of taking photos in a neighbouring school and uploading them as though they belong to the learners that they teach.
Two, it is unfortunate that the current and ongoing school-based assessment for G3 and 6 had already been leaked to the public. This raises critical questions about how quality and standards are enforced by the ministry officials tasked with such responsibility. Further, it raises the critical question whether KNEC has the capacity to detect authentic results/reports uploaded in their website by teachers.
Three, in all these, it is the learner who becomes disadvantaged because they actually do not gain the intended competencies, knowledge, skills, attitude and values
- The government through ministry of education should ensure that the education officers are frequently reviewing and monitoring progress of CBC in all schools
- Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) should design a way of detecting inauthentic learner reports as well tighten its security around examination leakages.
- The MoE field staff responsible for ensuring and ascertaining compliance to quality standards and the teacher responsible for such inauthentic uploads should be required to answer to such irregularities, and where possible, disciplinary action taken.
- Values education should be prioritized.
- The teacher education and training framework for both pre-service and in-service
The NCCK is aware that:
One, there is an increasing dissatisfaction on how a significant number of teachers have handled CBC, raising fundamental questions in regard to whether the teacher has fully understood CBC as a principle of teaching but also whether the teacher has the ability to interpret the curriculum in different socio-economic contexts across the country. In several occasions, some teachers have asked for cost-intensive learning resources, e.g. downloading and printing of learning activities for all learners, even where a learner can be asked to for instance draw and colour or purchasing of moulding clay without regard to other alternatives.
Two, some teachers in primary school but especially in secondary school, say they are dissatisfied with how they have been inducted into CBC. They do not feel that they have adequate training to enable them to handle the CBC curriculum at Junior Secondary School level. They have averred that a one-week training, organized by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) which is not a teacher training institution, can only guarantee gaps and incomprehensiveness in teacher preparation for implementing CBC. They have further claimed that in some of the seminars they have attended, even the facilitators do not seem clear about some issues in CBC, and they provide conflicting approaches to the interpretation of the curriculum designs, while at the same time being unable to provide guidance and answers on simple questions
Three, there is growing concern as to whether the Ministry of Education through its various agencies and directorates have provided commensurate priority to ensure teachers in the private schools are as equally trained and re-oriented for CBC as it has been the case with teachers in the public schools.
Four, and as one key informant put it, “Teacher training at college levels acquire the relevant pedagogical skills and competencies. However, the classroom situation and the overemphasis on mean grade has focused the teacher on grades and cognitive performance at the expense of conventional and professional pedagogical approaches.”
- Teacher training should be offered only by accredited Teacher Training Colleges (for Primary School teachers) and Education Departments in the Universities (for Secondary School teachers).
- The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) cannot and should not offer teacher training because it lacks mandate and capacity to do so. The Teachers Service Commission Act of 2012 does not confer to the TSC the mandate or role of teacher training, but on the contrary, career progression and professional development of the teacher (see Section 11 of the TSC Act No.20 of 2012)
- Teacher training and re-orientation into CBC should be decentralized to various universities and colleges offering education and teacher training across the country. This will not only be cost-effective, it will utilize government institutions.
- Teacher training should emphasize among other things, ethics, values, morality, ICT and a pedagogy that is participatory. This will prepare the teacher and teacher student to be both competent and confident to deliver the whole gamut of CBC, which is anchored on competencies and values.
- Teacher training must ensure that the teacher is well equipped to determine how to deliver the content of CBC (in different learning areas for different grades) in a contextually relevant and sensitive manner.
- It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to collaborate with the Commission for University Education to ascertain that Departments of Education in the universities have transitioned to offer CBC compliant pedagogies and content to the teacher student.
- The teacher deployment framework
The NCCK is aware that;
One, currently, the TSC appoints and deploys the teachers as per demand or request made by school heads. However, school management committees and boards of management also hire teachers to fill in the gaps in their schools
Two, this practice does not seem to take care of the teacher learner ratio hence most schools remain understaffed.
- The deployment of teachers should be done entirely by the TSC without delegation.
- The selection process at the school levels is subject to abuse and this may deny many deserving teachers.
- Hiring and deployment of teachers should take care of the learner teacher ratio. Ensure each school has adequate teachers, this will guarantee quality education for the learner.
- The technology for curriculum delivery, improved learning outcomes and education management
The NCCK observes that:
One, literature on ICT is pessimistic about the ability of ICT alone to improve outcomes, and few ICT programs have created the instructional change necessary to increase learning.
Two, the Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) initiative implemented a randomized controlled trial of three ICT interventions to enhance learning outcomes: tablets for instructional supervisors, tablets for teachers, and e-readers for students. (Piper, et al, 2015)
- Based on the findings, we recommend that Kenyan policy makers embed ICT interventions in a larger instructional reform, using ICT to support particular instructional improvement challenges.
- Policy makers should incorporate empirically derived cost-effectiveness analysis into investment decisions, to ensure that ICT provides value for money. (Piper, et al, 2015)
- The governance mechanisms of learning institutions and sharing of resources across schools and TVET institutions to ensure maximum utilization of public resources for improved learning outcomes
The NCCK submits that:
One, the current policy on governance mechanisms of learning institutions and sharing of resources across schools and TVET institutions is not very clear if it exists at all.
Two, the goal of ensuring maximum utilization of public resources for improved learning outcomes is also not very clear. Does it even exist?
Three, is there a policy on sharing of resources between schools and TVET institutions? What happens for schools that are not located near ANY TVET institutions?
- The proposal for governance mechanisms of learning institutions and sharing of resources across schools and TVET Institutions to ensure maximum utilization of public resources for improved learning outcomes is NOT VALID AT ALL. This is because currently the ratio of schools to TVET institutions has no correlation at all. The location of TVET institutions and other secondary schools poses logistical challenges.
- Senior secondary schools should be funded independently.
- In order to enable sharing of resources across schools and TVET institutions, then each senior secondary school should have a TVET wing.
- The public schools categorization and implications on access, transition and cost
The NCCK observes that the current practice in the categorization of secondary schools includes:
One, national schools, which admit learners nationally
Two, extra-county schools, which admit leaners mainly from the host county and some neighbouring counties
Three, county schools, which admit mainly from the county
Four, sub county schools, which mostly day schools and admits from their immediate locality
- Categorization of schools should be abolished with regard to Junior Secondary School. Admission in this case school should be purely on transition basis
- Senior secondary schools should be categorized on the basis of specialization of the pathways as envisaged in the CBC framework and admission should be based on the subject pathway choice by the learners.
- Appropriate Financing Framework including Capitation and minimum essential package Grants for all levels of basic education
The NCCK notes the following:
One, the government allocates equal capitation for each learner in public schools to cater for learning materials per child, provision of curriculum designs to the schools, KNEC registration fee for each learner and an allocation of Kshs.1, 420.00 per primary school pupil and at least Kshs.20, 000.00 per secondary school student. To what extent is this sustainable in the long run?
Two, are there households that are able to shoulder the fees burden? If yes, should they continue to be beneficiaries of the capitation at the expense of poor and vulnerable households? Is this the most prudent way to spend the billions of Kenya Shillings when there is huge infrastructural gap and inequality across the schools? Can the capitation be reassigned to standardization of all learning institutions in terms of infrastructure, facilities and equipment?
Three, there are several instances where incidental costs associated with teacher’s interpretation and application of the curriculum designs are passed to the parents/guardians/caregivers regardless of the socio-economic abilities.
- Capitation should be rationalized so as to target the neediest and deserving child and reduce further down for those who are economically able to finance the education of their children. Data should be utilized to track a learner from the entry level to tertiary levels so as to drive the capitation formula.
- A framework setting out the scope, content and approach for sensitizing parents about their role in provision of quality and affordable education to their children is critical and urgent. This should explore such areas as parental presence, guidance and support in undertaking home assignments as well as collaborating with the school to explore best ways to finance the incidental costs. Schools can rear chicken or rabbits or other economic undertakings that can offset such costs from the parents. The KICD in collaboration with other relevant government agencies should act on this as a matter of priority.
- Equitable access to Education especially for those facing Social, Economic and Geographic Marginalization, Vulnerable Populations, Children and Persons with Special needs and disabilities
The NCCK is greatly concerned that:
One, there is high inequitable access to education especially for those facing social economic challenges. Most geographically marginalized regions experience inequitable access to education due to lack of necessary education facilities and resources,
Two, most vulnerable populations, including children and Persons with Special Needs and Disabilities face unprecedented inequitable access to education especially for those facing Social, Economic challenges.
- There must be a deliberate move by the government to ensure equitable access to education especially for those facing social, economic and geographical marginalization, vulnerable populations, children and persons with special needs and disabilities
- Increase learning institutions especially in the geographically marginalized regions
- Quality education for ALL must be adequately funded by the government
- Appropriate Framework for the Management and Coordination of Bursaries and Scholarships for secondary school students
The NCCK notes that:
One, a significant number of the most deserving students do not benefit from bursaries and scholarships due to lack of an appropriate and standardized framework for the management and coordination of bursaries and scholarships for secondary school students
Two, the existing framework for the management and coordination of bursaries and scholarships for secondary school students as currently practiced makes it vulnerable to abuse by those charged with the responsibilities of managing. Bursaries and scholarships for secondary school students is currently politically managed.
- The government to make use of available data from KICD and ministry of Education to determine learners who deserve either a bursary of a scholarship
- Involve school stakeholders in determining the criteria for awarding bursaries and scholarships
- The ministry of education to develop a clear policy framework that will clearly spell out the entire process of bursary/scholarship funding and distribution
- Delink bursary/scholarships from the politicians, who often use it as a political tool.
- A Framework for Physical and e-infrastructure Development and Coordination of Public Private Partnerships for improved Access and Quality provision
The NCCK observes with great concern that:
One, there is a major disparity in infrastructure between the different categories of schools – national to sub-county schools at secondary level. This is also the case when it comes to other resources and equipment such as laboratories, workshops and other subject related rooms such as music, home science, etc. Consequently, all learners are not exposed evenly to the basic and necessary learning resources and infrastructure, thus continually promoting inequality, not only in education but also in the social structures. Further, learners are denied opportunity to explore their gifts and talents in areas such as performing arts, arts and crafts, cookery and tailoring, among others. This is a contributing factor to the confusion and anxiety surrounding Grade 6 transition to Grade 7 because parents are concerned whether their children will get access to quality and standard learning at the JSS level in light of such infrastructure and learning resources disparities and inequalities.
Two, some of the public schools have classrooms with an excess of 100 learners at the primary level. This is because infrastructural development has not been commensurate with the growth of population in schools. This raises other critical and fundamental issues in the delivery of quality education such as the teacher-learner ratio, learner- centered learning and prospects of communicable diseases.
Three, there is lack of laboratories and/or well resources laboratories in majority of schools at county and sub-county levels
Four, available data shows that only about 30% of the current secondary schools are congested, and this majorly comprises the boarding schools, which by design would have adequate and superior infrastructure and other learning resources. 70% of the current secondary schools are not and constitute the majority of the day secondary schools which happen to have inadequate and inferior learning resources. This gives a false impression that there is congestion overall.
Five, about 75% of students attend day schools, there is hardly any congestion in day schools. On the contrary, they are more likely to have empty and unoccupied rooms as compared to boarding schools.
Six, it is a misnomer when the government is implementing CBC with one of its competencies as digital literacy, yet a majority of schools lack internet connectivity, as well as computers and other digital resources that are at a ratio commensurate to the school population.
Seven, there are observable diminished competencies among teachers to use digital resources effectively. It has not been a requirement for teacher education to be digitally competent, yet the teacher is supposed to implement content that promotes digital literacy. This is destined to fail. No wonder a significant number of teachers feel inadequately prepared to implement CBC.
Eight, the burden of providing internet connectivity and other digital resources cannot be pushed to the parent because that is the responsibility of the primary provider of education, which is the government.
Nine, a significant number of schools lack electricity or power connectivity
- Government should prioritize infrastructure development in all schools, both in terms of classrooms but also other learning infrastructure like laboratories, so as to bridge the inequality gap and as well provide for pathways exploration as early as possible in the education continuum and comply with the international standards of teacher-learner ratio.
- There should be an implementable government policy on a standard infrastructure for schools both at primary and secondary levels in order to guarantee access, affordability and standardized education for all.
- Junior Secondary School should be DAY learning. Besides the advantages earlier mentioned under the ‘transitioning of Grade 6’, day schooling will completely deal with the congestion challenges currently being experienced in boarding schools. Further, it will release some of the boarding facilities to be reassigned to other uses such as laboratories, incubation rooms, talents development rooms, etc.
- Infrastructure development should be undertaken by the school’s Board of Management (BOM) and not the office of the County Commissioner as it has been with the ongoing (or just concluded) construction of the additional 10,000 classrooms for CBC.
- The absence of internet connectivity and other digital resources across all schools must be addressed so as not to disadvantage the 21st Century Kenyan learner. The Ministry of Education can benchmark with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to understand and borrow a leaf from the IEBC on how it has managed to electronically transmit election results from all corners of the country successfully. This can be customized for the schools as well.
- The government’s promise to provide laptops/computers to learners must be implemented without any further delay. Alternatively, the government should set up digital laboratories in all basic education institutions as a priority. The Parliamentary Committee on Budget as well other organs responsible for budgetary appropriation must be triggered to provide supplementary budget(s) for this important yet almost neglected component of learning.
- Government should fast track the provision of digital literacy among teachers as a matter or priority. Collaboration with IT providers or departments at institutions of learning or even online instructions must be prioritized and made mandatory for the teacher. This is where TSC can come in strongly as part of professional development.
- Government to provide alternative sources of power, e.g. Solar, Wind and/or generators
- A Tracking System to Capture and Enrol Children of school going age to ensure Universal Access to Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary Education
The NCCK agrees that the idea of tracking system is noble and should be supported by all education stakeholders. This requires a sensitization campaign for ALL education stake holders. However, several issues need to be addressed:
One, the current tracking system to capture and enrol children of school going age to ensure universal access to pre-primary, primary and secondary education is faced with issues of technology access.
Two, schools in rural and far flung areas face challenges of electricity and internet connectivity
Three, most schools that do not have the necessary ICT facilities use commercial cyber facilities that make them vulnerable to abuse
Four, most schools lack capacity to manage the tracking system, hence some teachers are given this responsibility and as such, these teachers are overworked considering their usual workload.
- Provide Schools in rural and far flung areas with adequate supply of electricity and internet connectivity.
- Provide schools with ICT facilities to enable them make full use of the tracking system
- Build the human resource capacity for most schools to manage the tracking system.
- Train ALL teachers on the tracking system
- Develop a fully integrated tracking system similar to the IEBC on as used in the voter registration and voting process.
- Carry out a country wide registration of ALL learners in ALL learning institutions from nursery schools to secondary schools. This will then be linked to TVET institutions and Universities.
TOR 2 – On Tertiary and University Education
- A Governance and Financing Framework for TVET Training and Development, University Education Research and Training
The NCCK observes and appreciates that:
One, the Government has demonstrated goodwill in enabling access to higher education by highly subsidizing the cost of undergraduate programmes through the Maximum Differentiated Unit Cost (MDUC) irrespective of the economic realities of each household. While this is a step in the right direction, the resource requirement is very limited. In an ideal scenario, the Government is required to finance at 80% MDUC while 20% is a shared responsibility between the households and the universities. Currently, Government-sponsored students in public universities are funded at 48.11% of MDUC while those in private universities are funded at 21.94% of MDUC
Two, the university lecturers leave university space in search of greener pastures. This is a pointer to the thinness and unsustainability of financial resources and infrastructure currently being experienced in the institutions.
Three, public universities are unable to stock their libraries with most current and emerging books, monographs, materials and journals. Lecturers are not able to subscribe to and undertake seminal research and pursue professional courses under the sponsorship of the university due to lack of research funds.
Four, how much of resources, consultations and thought leadership goes into conceptualizing university education in terms of needs assessment, content development, stakeholders engagement, benchmarking, etc.?
Five, it is only when universities and other tertiary level education are well resourced financially that they will remunerate the lecturers commensurately, deploy more resources to research and innovation and address the market needs – emerging and perceived, and set pace for the country to be a global leader among its peers.
- The government through the State Department for Higher Education and Research, Ministry of Education should develop and implement the University Funding Framework with agreed fiscal allocations for funds received. The framework should spell out a roadmap for infrastructural development, and collaboration on research and innovation, so as to address the current needs of the country both as a middle-income country but also in the achievement of Vision 2030.
- Freeze establishment of new universities for the next 5 years in order to support and grow the current universities. Meanwhile, a special system audit should be carried out on the universities with huge pending bills to determine financial intervention required to clear the accrued pending bills.
- Mandatory one month training for newly appointed universities managers on financial management. Refresher program recommended every 3 years to introduce new trends.
- Review the Universities Act of 2012 to address such issues as:
- Regulate the process of gazettement of university statutes.
- Recruitment of senior management (Vice Chancellors and Deputy Vice Chancellors) to be carried out by University Councils;
- Revert approval of university programmes to university Senates;
- Representation of Vice Chancellors in the Universities Fund Board;
- Harmonize the functions among various bodies, especially the regulatory bodies i.e. CUE, KNQA, and TVETA;
- Review high and multiple charges imposed by various Government Agencies in universities;
- University and TVET education should follow the conventional curriculum development cycle and engage stakeholders in the design and development of courses, carry out needs assessment and where possible benchmark with peer institutions in other jurisdictions.
- Government to provide a clear policy on privately owned universities (such as church sponsored) that have serious issues of formation of Board of Trustees and Councils among others. This should be purely an oversight role.
- Governance on Tertiary Level subsector;
The NCCK notes with great concern that:
One, whereas students from different parts of the country are admitted to any public university, it is not the case when it comes to the leadership and management of the universities.
- Taaliu S. (2017)notes that ethnicity in public universities “is witnessed in forms of recruitment, promotion, transfer and deployment of lecturers and other non-teaching members of staff.” He further observes that “there is ethnic consideration in recruitment of Chairs of the Council, Vice Chancellors and their Deputies and other top leaders.”
- Naituli, G. and Nasimiyu, K.S. (2019)corroborate the above by observing inter alia that “the issue of ethnicity in Kenya affects all sections of the universities and constituent colleges. It ranges from admission of students to universities, employment of both teaching and non-teaching staff, appointment of Vice Chancellors and Principals and university council members. Since independence in 1963, the various regimes seem to be lacking commitment and good will to fight the deep seated ethnicity in the universities and constituent colleges in the country.” (pg.607)
- a study carried out by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) in 2016 showed that only Six (6) out of the thirty one (31) Public Universities and constituent colleges complied with Section 7(2) of the NCIC Act of Kenya, which states that no public establishment should recruit more than one third of its employees from one ethnic group.
- Commission for University Education (2017) report on Academic Staff Qualifications notes that, “It is common to walk in the corridors and offices of some of the public universities and constituent colleges and find that language being used is not Kiswahili which is the national language nor is it English the official language but local language spoken in that region. Some of the office staff members will even ask clients what they need in the vernacular language of the region.”
Two, the above undermines the achievement of the National Goals of Education, to wit, Goal No.1 which is to foster nationalism, patriotism and promote national unity.
Three, probably driven by the notion that being present everywhere will attract more students hence more resources, universities have been in competition to open satellite campuses in various locations, different from the physical locality at establishment. Some have opened campuses in far flung areas and in sub-standard premises. Instead of generating more revenue, the operation costs skyrocket, thus continuing to stretch thin the already scarce resources and digging deep financial holes.
- The Ministry of Education should collaborate with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to ensure that education in Kenya at all levels and structures – promotes appreciation of cultural diversity, richness and dynamism; and that leadership and management structures within institutions of higher learning are strengthened to adhere to the policy of not recruiting more than a third of the total workforce from one tribe.
- Non-viable satellite campuses should be abolished as a matter of urgency to redirect resources and priority to professional development of lecturers, research and development as well concentrating on innovative learning that addresses the market needs.
- Framework for Operationalizing the National Open University of Kenya and a framework on Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODEL)
The NCCK has noted that:
One, there is no existing policy or framework to guide on the Operationalizing the National Open University of Kenya.
Two, the current framework on Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) is not very clear for good uptake of Open, Distance and E-Learning by the public
Three, majority of Kenyans still value the physical university and in-person learning.
Four, there is no culture for both Open University of and Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODEL)
- Develop a clear framework for the Open University of Kenya. The name must reflect openness (use of the word National is limiting in the context of Open University). This will include an act of parliament and other necessary legislative framework. This MUST use the principle of public participation
- Revise the existing Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) framework to make is more adaptive to the current technological advancement
- Mount a national wide campaign of the concept, value and benefits of an Open University as well as ODEL)
- Cultivate a culture of both Open University of and Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) among learners overtime
- Continuity in TVET and University Education Transition
The NCCK observes that:
One, currently, there is no major challenge with regard to continuity in TVET and University Education Transition.
Two, there are 2 TVET Universities in Kenya, i.e., TUM and TUK. These have made the transition TVET graduates to University possible, since they have programmes that allow credit transfer. They also have direct entry of TVET graduates into their programmes including Diploma and undergraduate studies
- A deliberate sensitization of TVET graduates on the existing opportunities for further studies at the Technical Universities
- Bring on board other Universities with TVET programmes to consider admitting TVET graduates for the various study programmes
- Amalgamation of HELB, TVET and University Funding Boards with a view on harmonizing and merging all tertiary education funding entities
The NCCK notes the following:
One Education is a right of every citizen irrespective of status, colour, gender etc as enshrined by article 43(1) (f) and thus the government has the responsibility of providing education (right) to all.
Two, the Government has enabled access to higher education by highly subsidizing the cost of undergraduate programmes. This has been implemented through the sponsorship of students who score C+ and above in KCSE.
Three, under this arrangement, all students placed to universities by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) are funded through the Maximum Differentiated Unit Cost (MDUC) irrespective of the economic realities of each household.
Four, currently, Government-sponsored students in public universities are funded at 48.11% of MDUC while those in private universities are funded at 21.94% of MDUC.
Five, available literature shows that self- sponsored students have been decreasing gradually as follows: FY 2019/2020 the numbers have decreased from 36,448 to 29,445 in FY 2020/2021 which represents a 19.19% decrease. The numbers further decreased from 29,455 to 21,980 which represent a 25.38% decrease. Therefore, it can be deduced that household contribution has been decreasing towards university education. For the government, this scenario poses the challenge of sustainability
Six, reducing funding for Universities will have very high repercussions on the Kenya population. For example, the wastage rate at higher education shall increase by almost a half because the number of poor students who cannot afford to pay for the self-sponsored programme and who are currently studying in private universities but sponsored by KUCCPS is very high.
Seven, research shows that universities are faced by a myriad of management challenges such as nepotism (cited in this report) which breads other challenges such as corruption, mismanagement and overstaffing among others. Unless such issues are addressed no amount of money will help them. Funding is not the main problem in most universities
Eight, the big question is: What proportion of the Kenyan population can afford university education at the current rate?
- Most KUCCPS students select universities where they wish to study and therefore it is discriminatory curtailing their freedoms of choice, association etc.
- University education is a public good and hence should be FULLY funded by the government by adopting either:
- Provide full grants for the most needy students therefore giving free education until university.
- Provide partial grants as per the level of need of the student;
- In some instances encourage household to contribution at current level of cost of education for those that can afford.
- Develop a work-study programme to enable university students to pay for their university education
- The economic benefit of university graduates should not be ignored. Most university graduate engage in either self-employment of salaried employment. These benefits should form the basis for increasing the funding for universities
- Subject these recommendations to public participation
TOR 3 – Any Other Issue Relevant To The Kenya’s Education Sector Incidental And Ancillary To The Foregoing
- Ownership and Sponsorship of Schools
The NCCK submits that:
One, the first school established in Kenya was at Rabai Mission by the Church Missionary Society in 1844. Thereafter, it became the standing practice of missionaries to establish a church, a school and a health center at every mission station, as a result of which churches founded more than 60% of the schools in Kenya.
Two, through the Education Act No 211 of 1968, the government assumed full financial management of schools that were previously established by churches. Consequently, the churches were designated “sponsors”.
Three, in subsequent amendments to The Act, the rights and responsibilities of the sponsors were eroded, culminating in the Basic Education Act 2013 that unilaterally nationalized the church-owned and church-founded schools. This did not even pay attention to the fact that some schools and churches shared compounds.
Four, the churches in Kenya, who rightly own more than 60% of the learning institutions in the country, vehemently protested these provisions during the development of the said Act. Though enacted and became functional in 2013, an Amendment Bill, the Basic Education (Amendment) Bill 2014 was developed within a year of the Act’s implementation.
Five, on 13 November 2018, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, the 4th President of the Republic of Kenya issued a Presidential Directive 2018 to the Ministry of Education to have ownership of church-built schools restored to the churches. The Presidential Directive stated in part: “There are many schools built and sponsored by Churches. Restore that sponsorship. I have also given one week to restore all church owned land and schools to their rightful owners” (H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta)
- Amend the relevant sections of the Basic Education Act 2013, in order to provide for the following:
- All Schedule Two Schools in the previous Education Act (1968), schools build on church / private land and on land donated to churches, former Colonial Schedule 2 Schools, be recognized as property of the churches offering a public service/good
- Review the definition of the Sponsor in the Basic Education Act 2013 to read, “A person or institution that owns or has been entrusted with land or property on which the educational institution is instituted and who holds and provides foundational objectives of its establishment and ensures that the educational objectives, religious traditions, core values and standards of basic education are met.”
- Increase the representatives of the sponsor in the school’s board of management from the current three to nine. The sponsor / founder, being a major stakeholder, should play a more effective role in governance and thus should have majority slots
- For public schools sponsored / founded by faith based organizations;
- The chairperson of the board of management shall be nominated by the sponsor and appointed by the County Education Board.
- The head teachers, principals, deputy head teachers and deputy principals shall be nominated by the sponsor and appointed by the Teacher Service Commission.
- Basic Education Act No.14 of 2013
- Basic Education Curriculum Framework
- Competency Based Assessment Age Based Regular Framework
- Curriculum Reforms in Kenya since Independence
- Improving Higher Education in Kenya: A Policy Report, 2019: The World Bank
- Muasya, E. Wambua and Waweru, Samuel N., 2019, ‘Constraints Facing Successful Implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum in Kenya’ in the American Journal of Educational Research 2019, Vol. 7, No. 12, 943-947; DOI:10.12691/education-7-12-8, accessed on 01 November 2022, at 1642 Hours
- Overview of CBC and BECF
- Policy Framework for Education and Training
- Revised Universities Regulations Final
- Teachers Service Commission Act No.20 of 2012
- Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act
- The Children Act 2022
- Universities Act No.42 of 2012
- Universities Amendment Bill 2020
- Piper, B., Jepkemei, E., Kwayumba, D., & Kibukho, K. (2015). Kenya’s ICT Policy in Practice: The Effectiveness of Tablets and Ereaders in Improving Student Outcomes. FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 2(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.18275/fire201502011025
Relevant Policies and frameworks in the education sector in Kenya
- National Education Sector Strategic Plan, 2018–2022
- Third Medium Term Plan 2018–2022: Transforming Lives: Advancing Socio- economic Development through the Big Four, 2018
- Education Sector Disaster Management Policy, 2018
- Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019: A Policy Framework for Reforming Education and Training for Sustainable Development in Kenya, 2019
- Mentorship Policy for Early Learning and Basic Education, 2019
- Policy Framework for Nomadic Education in Kenya, 2019
- National Pre-Primary Policy Standards Guidelines, 2018
- Competency Based Education and Training Policy Framework, 2018
- Sector Policy for Learners and Trainees with Disabilities, 2018
- Implementation Guidelines: Sector Policy for Learners and Trainees with Disabilities, 2018
- National Pre-Primary Education Policy, 2017
- Basic Education Framework, 2017
- Education for Sustainable Development Policy for the Education Sector, 2017
- National Education Sector Plan, Volume Two: Operational Plan, 2017/18–2019/20 (Education Sector Report, 2016)
- National Education Sector Plan, Volume One: Basic Education Programme Rationale and Approach, 2015
- Education and Training Sector Gender Policy, 2015
- Basic Education Act No. 14, 2013
- Science Technology and Innovation Act No. 28, 2013
- Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act No. 29, 2013
- Policy Framework for Science, Technology and Innovation, 2012
In conclusion, we in in the NCCK urge you to consider that the character of the nation is shaped by the mindsets of the individual citizens. For this reason, the education system and content are critical elements in the formation of individuals, and therefore should be handled with utmost care. May we all be guided by wisdom of Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things”. It is our prayer and hope that this Presidential Working Party will contribute to the shaping of the education sector in our country so that it leads to inculcation of such a mindset in Kenyans.
On our part, we assure you of our prayers and support as you consult and advice the government on this important matter.
Signed on this 18th day of November 2022 at Jumuia Place, Nairobi, on behalf of the Member Churches and Organizations (attached) of the National Council of Churches of Kenya:
Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki
Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui
NCCK MEMBER CHURCH
- Africa Brotherhood Church
- African Christian Churches and Schools
- African Church of the Holy Spirit
- African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa
- African Interior Church
- African Israel Niveneh Church
- African Orthodox Church of Kenya
- Anglican Church of Kenya
- Church of Africa Sinai Mission
- Church of Christ in Africa
- Church of God East Africa
- Coptic Orthodox Church
- Episcopal Church of Africa
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya
- Free Methodist Church in Kenya
- Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya
- Friends Church in Kenya
- Full Gospel Churches of Kenya
- Kenya Assemblies of God
- Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Kenya Mennonite Church
- Lyahuka Church of East Africa
- Maranatha Faith Assemblies
- Methodist Church in Kenya
- National Independent Church of Africa
- Overcoming Faith Center Church of Kenya
- Pentecostal Evangelical Fellowship of Africa
- Presbyterian Church of East Africa
- Reformed Church of East Africa
- Salvation Army
- Scriptural Holiness Mission
- Zion Harvest Mission
NCCK ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
- Bible Society of Kenya
- Christian Churches Education Association
- Christian Health Association of Kenya
- Christian Hostels Fellowship
- Fellowship of Christian Unions
- Kenya Ecumenical Church Loan Fund
- Kenya Students Christian Fellowship
- Kenya United Independent Churches
- Public Law Institute
- Scripture Union
- St Pauls University
- Young Mens Christian Association
- Young Womens Christian Association
NCCK FRATERNAL MEMBERS
- African Evangelistic Enterprise
- Daystar University
- Trans World Radio
- Trinity Fellowship
- World Vision
 This is the current practice in international schools (based here in Kenya) where all learners are in the same school compound, but differentiated by uniform and classes.
 Cite this article as: Naituli, G. and Nasimiyu, K.S. (2019), “Politics of ethnicity and dominance in Kenyan universities”, International Journal of Development and Sustainability, Vol. 8 No. 9, pp. 598-608. Accessed on 31 October 2022, 10.11am
 NCIC Act of Kenya, Section 7(2)