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Commission of Inquiry into the Education System in Kenya, 1998


 

Interpretation of Terms of Reference

 

This inquiry into the education system of Kenya coincided with the completion of the 1997-2010 Master Plan on Education and Training. The Master Plan highlights many of the problems facing the education system and makes suggestions for the way forward. These statements of problems and programmes of action have generally been useful in interpreting and processing of the Terms of Reference (TORs) of the Commission.

 

The Terms of Reference have also been interpreted in relation to approximately 1,000 recommendations which have been put together from previous education commission, committees and working parties as well as from the laws that relate to education.

 

There are three sets of TORs. There are those that constitute the need for the country to focus on its set national goals and objectives. The Commission interpreted these as mission statements around which all other terms of reference must gravitate. The other set of TORs deal with specific areas of education, while the other deals with strategies and methodology to enable the Commission to execute its work.

 

Mission Statements

 

The first set of the TORs consists of 4 items. These TORs require the Commission to recommend ways and means of enabling the education system to make it increasingly easier to achieve the following goals and philosophies.

 

TOR 1-1     National unity

 

This TOR has been interpreted to mean the continuous effort by Kenyans to combine their efforts in the strengthening of the state of nationhood for their country.

 

TOR 1-2     Mutual social responsibility

 

This TOR has been interpreted to mean the contribution of education in facilitating the free ability and willingness of the people to discharge their moral obligations for the benefit of all members of the society.

 

TOR 1-3    Accelerated industrial and technological development

 

This TOR has been interpreted to mean the contribution of education and training in making improvements, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in the application of technical advances in industry, with special reference to manufacturing.

 

TOR 1-4     Consolidation and enhancement of life-long learning and adaptation in response to changing circumstances.

 

This TOR has been interpreted to mean the need for the education system to strengthen and increase the quality of learning for life. The TOR also requires the education system to enable the people to continually modify their life styles in dealing with changes in their environment.

 

SPECIFIC TERMS OF REFERENCE

 

The second set of TORs consist of 14 items. These TORs require the Commission to recommend a programme of action in relation to the 14 items. In doing so the Commission is expected to bear in mind the financial constraints the Government is faced with.

 

This latter requirement has been dealt with together with the last two items of the third set of TORs, namely 3-4 and 3-5 which have been brought forward to this section. Item (3-4) requires the Commission to accept, as a constraint, that Government recurrent expenditure on education should not grow more rapidly than the Government recurrent expenditure. In spite of this constraint however, item 3-5 requires the Commission to accept the necessity of providing and/or facilitating quality education to increasing numbers of students using the available resources. This means that the rapidly rising population must be provided with educational opportunities. The word "facilitating" is a good indicator that the Government is not the only provider of education. The Government has however a major role in facilitating the effort of other providers of education.

 

TOR 2-1    The legal framework of education

 

This TOR is concern with the laws governing education and training. Appropriate legal provision will be essential in dealing with problems of implementation such as lack of co-ordination. The central law is the Education Act, which requires to be interpreted in relation to all the laws dealing with education and training. Liberalization of the economy will inevitably require liberalization of the various aspects of the education system. Appropriate legal changes will therefore be necessary to ensure access and equity, sustainability of efficiency of learning/teaching processes and management, and quantitative as well as qualitative returns to the society.

 

TOR 2-2    The structure ofthe 8+4+4 system of education.

 

This TOR has been interpreted firstly in relation to the Mackay Report (1981) which recommended the abolition of the 'A' level segment, thereby changing the structure of education. The then Ministry of Education, Science and Technology published the implementation document in 1984. The 1984 standard 7 class proceeded to standard 8 in January 1985 without doing the CPE. They did the new KCPE at the end of 1985. The first form 1 intake under the 8+4+4 system was in 1986. This class sat the KCSE in 1989 and was admitted to universities in 1990/1991 together with the last 'A' level class. Other examinations which were abolished together with A Level were the KJSE (1985) and KCE(01evel)(1987).

 

Kamunge Report (ยป988)

 

This TOR relates to the Kamunge Report (1988) which described the 8+4+4 system, the Sessional Paper No. 6 of 1988 and a Ministry booklet dated 1984. Of particular importance are the functional relationships between primary and secondary education on the one hand and secondary and higher education on the other.

 

Ominde Report (1964)

 

The TOR has also been compared with Ominde Report in relation to intermediate colleges and examinations.

 

GachathiReport(1976)

 

The TOR is also interpreted in relation to the Gachathi Report (1976) recommendation of 9-year-basic education and the related structure.

 

TOR 2-3     The contribution ofcontinuing education

 

This TOR has been interpreted within the philosophy of life-long learning for all Kenyans, with special reference to the needs of the large and growing numbers of out-of-school youth; the needs of women because of their multiple roles; the need to enhance the participation of Kenyans as a whole in educational and national development including industrial development and the need to educate Kenyans intensively on AIDS and other health problems.

 

TOR 2-4     The role of the private sector in providing educational opportunities.

 

The TOR was interpreted in relation to the high cost schools in the Ominde Report (1964) and private high cost schools in the Gachathi Report (1976).

 

The TOR has also been interpreted in relation to the growing liberalization of the economy and education, which has been prompted by economic realities. In the case of public school education, the involvement of the private sector is firstly through the PTAs. This requires amendment ofthe Education Act to recognize them legally. In the case of higher education the TOR has been interpreted in relation to the Universities Act through which private universities are established and accredited in Kenya.

 

In the case of public universities, their research and development activities as well as their community services are of relevance to this TOR as recommended by the Gachathi Report (1976), Kamunge Report (1988) and Mungai Report (1995). The process of liberalization is being extended to diploma colleges through Acts of Parliament.

 

TOR 2-5    The need for co-ordination between all forms of education and training.

 

This TOR has been given meaning in relation to the recognition, by previous education commission, committees, working party and the current (1997-2010) Master Plan on Education and Training, of the problem of lack of co-ordination. The Gachathi Report (1976) devoted a whole chapter to the subject. The Master Plan points out that the Education Act does not provide for co-ordination. The TOR is also interpreted in relation to the positive experience of CHE in coordinating higher education.

 

 

TOR 2-6    The management and administration of education

 

This TOR has been interpreted in relation to the normal processes of planning, development and financing of education.

 

TOR 2-7    The appropriate rates and types of expansion in education and training

 

This TOR has been interpreted in relation to the two main expansions of education which have been undertaken since independence. The first expansion involved secondary schools following the Ominde Report (1964). The report also recommended the establishment of junior colleges. This was not implemented.

 

The second expansion involved universities following the Mackay Report (1981). The report made it very clear that the single most important implication of abolishing A level and expanding university education was the necessity of expanding middle level colleges. This recommendation was not implemented.

 

The Ayany Report (1984) and Kiano Report (1984) recommended other expansions of university education.

 

TOR 2-8    The content of education at different levels, with special attention to early childhood, special education and primary education.

 

This TOR has been interpreted to mean the content of the 8+4+4 system of education. The TOR is also related to the growing emphasis on early childhood and primary cycles of education. The TOR has also been interpreted in relation to the growing criticism of subject overloading at primary and secondary levels. It has also been interpreted in relation to the lack of facilities for practical work in the majority of schools leading to a definite decline in science education as reported repeatedly by the KNEC, including the 1997 KCSE examination. The recommendations of the 1990 National Seminar on Science Education are also relevant.

 

TOR 2-9    Ways and means of improving accessibility, equity, relevance and quality, with special attention to gender sensitivity, the disabled and the disadvantaged groups.

 

This TOR has been interpreted firstly in relation to the increased rates ofschool dropouts, especially those of girls. It has also been interpreted in relation to the need to utilize continuing education to reach the communities near their homes. The needs of disadvantaged groups are also considered.

 

The Ominde Report (1964) had described the problem of the primary school leaver and the need for universal primary education.

 

TOR 2-10  Ways and means of enhancing the operation and management, including the cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness of formal and non-formal education; ways and means of improving capacity to. formulate, implement and control educational programmes, and the appropriate degree of decentralization in administration and financial control.

 

This TOR has been interpreted in relation to the need to improve management of education and training, including efficient utilization ofthe available resources.

 

TOR 2-11   To suggest ways and means of developing comprehensive social ethics, values and ethics, AIDS-related educational programmes at the macro- and micro-levels.

 

The TOR is interpreted in relation to the necessity of the curriculum reform to accommodate AIDS education. It is also interpreted according to the observation that, in spite of no teachers having been trained on the subject, Social Education and Ethics is growing in popularity among students. The subject integrates well with AIDS and drug abuse education.

This TOR has also been interpreted in relation to the recommendation by the Gachathi Report (1976) for the teaching of social values and ethics. The recommendation was implemented with the introduction of the 8+4+4 education system in 1985 by the introduction ofthe subject of Social Education and Ethics in secondary schools.

 

The subject of Social Education and Ethics was endorsed by the Kamunge Report (1988) which recommended that the subject should be taught at all levels ofeducation.

 

TOR 2-12   Ways and means of creating and promoting alternative educational programmes.

 

This TOR has been interpreted in relation to the role of continuing education in enhancing the contribution of Kenyans to national development. One of the ways of making continuing education effective economically is to give it through co-operative organizations and women's groups.

 

TOR 2-13   Challenges of university education

 

This TOR has been interpreted in relation to the problems being experienced by the public universities as a result of rapid expansion of enrolments. As President Moi pointed out at the Graduation Ceremony of Jomo K.enyatta University of Agriculture and Technology held on 2nd April, 1998, the growth of universities has outstripped the available resources.

 

TOR 2-14   Ways and means of promoting liberalization of the educational sector with special reference to the utilization of the specialized resources of universities and similar institutions as vehicles for accelerated national development.

 

This TOR has been interpreted in relation to the high demand for formal, non-formal and continuing education and the need to empower the institutions concerned to offer the services with increasing autonomy. The strong tradition of research, which is found in Kenya, is of particular usefulness in providing the necessary knowledge on a sustainable basis. This is what led the Governmentto establish the National Council for Science and Technology, in 1977, through an Act of Parliament. It has also been interpreted in relation to the need for public universities and other research institutions in Kenya to undertake research and development activities as well as intensify their services to the community. The TOR is thus interpreted in relation to the need for these institutions to market themselves and sustain quality education.

 

REQUIREMENTS AND CONSTRAINTS

 

The third set of TORs have five items. Items 3-1, 3-2 and 3-3 are dealt with under methodology. Items 3-4 and 3-5 are dealt with above under the second set of TORs.

 

TOR 3-1    Review and make use of official reports, sessional papers and studies of commissions, committees, working parties and task forces that have previously examined Kenya's educational system and made recommendations therein;

 

This TOR has been interpreted to mean an analysis of previous recommendations and current policies with a view of showing how education has developed over time.

 

TOR 3-2     receive viewsfrom a broad spectrum of the public;

 

This TOR has been interpreted to mean making appropriate arrangements to meet members ofthe public from all walks of life to enable them make contributions freely and directly.

 

TOR 3-3     commission papers and reports from experts in various areas;

 

This TOR has been interpreted to mean identifying the expertise of the members of the Commission, determining gaps which need specialized attention and appointing qualified specialists to provide the necessary information.

 

TOR3-4    accept as a constraint that Government recurrent expenditure on education should not grow more rapidly than the Government recurrent budget;

This TOR has been dealt with under 1.2.1 - 1.2.5

 

TOR 3-5     accept the necessity of providing and/or facilitating quality education to increasing numbers of students, using the available resources.

This TOR has been dealt with under 1.2.1 - 1.2.5