Any new education system is bound to fail if skewed policies remain

July 15, 2009

Since its launch in 1985, the 8-4-4 system of education has been criticised for failing in its objective to offer quality and relevant education.
The education model has been accused of reducing learners to robots who can barely understand same instructions given in a different format. Even the teachers who hold no bars to ensure their students go through the system ‘with flying colours’ fault it. They say the competitive nature –– read obsession with passing exams ––– doesn’t give students time for critical thinking and to develop their talent. Yet, reproducing material taught in class at the end of the year is the only gauge for excellence.
During the recent head of schools meeting, one teacher said secondary school is ‘just a preparatory ground for the university’.
In other words, those with no cramming potential in high school face a ‘bleak future’–– something stressed by unemployment statistics.
Country’s Aspirations
Many opportunities are lost to them. But, to label the 8-4-4 system as failed is unfair.
When the system was introduced in 1985, it was hailed. In vision, the model captured the country’s aspirations. There was emphasis on subjects that tested the learner’s ability to ‘think outside the box’.
Then, Agriculture, Home Science, Civics, and Social Ethics were fashioned more than to transform learners to farmers, homemakers and good citizens respectively. In short, the system was to bring out an all- rounded person and prepare them for any challenges ahead. With successive revisions, poor implementation and low budgetary allocation, the system became a conveyor belt. All the principles and skills education was supposed to instil were lost. The system became exam oriented. It has become easy to tell students to describe things rather that ask them to make them practically. Quality has been sacrificed in attempts to ensure ‘ no child is left behind’.
Little Practical Aspects
Mushrooming of poorly equipped private schools has aggravated the situation.
Even at the university level, students get the power to ‘read and write and do what appertains to that degree’. The power is vague. Simply, students are just expected to get first class honours with little practical aspects. Even when they go for attachments or internships, it is to fulfil the degree requirement.
For this reason, lecturers put no effort to update their knowledge, in turn, students feel no need to learn anything beyond the coursework. It is common in the universities to hand down notes and exam papers for generations.


Muslim students free to wear Hijab

July 15, 2009

Muslim pupils and students countrywide have a reason to smile following the Ministry of Education directive allowing them to wear the hijab (veil) to school.
In a circular seen by The Standard, the Education Permanent Secretary Prof Karega Mutahi instructed provincial directors of education to ensure head teachers implement the directive.
Ongeri said it was unacceptable to send away students from schools because of the religious dress code.
The circular, dated July 14, 2009, is copied to all provincial directors of education, district education officers and Municipal council education officers reads in part: “It has come to my attention that some heads of schools have refused to permit Muslim girls dressed in the hijab to attend school.”
The statement went on: “I wish to remind you that no child should be denied the right to education on the basis of religion. Further, I direct principals who may have expelled students on the basis of wearing the hijab to re-admit them immediately.”
The Standard has established that Mutahi issued the circular after meeting Muslim leaders led by a Nominated MP at Jogoo House, recently.
During the meeting, Muslim leaders blamed various heads of institutions for barring female Muslim students from putting on the veil.
Nyanza provincial director of education Mr Geoffrey Chemongis confirmed receiving the circular and said that they would implement it immediately.
The hijab has been a subject of controversy, although it has deep religious meaning among Muslims. They regard the hijab as a divine edict meant to safeguard the chastity and modesty of women, and prevent them from being sexually harassed.


July 10, 2009

Kenyan parents have been urged to enroll their children in local universities to improve their standards.
University lecturer Prof John Akama said local universities were recognized internationally and offered quality education and certification, leading to Masters and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Akama, who is the Kisii University College (KUC) Principal, said Kenyan parents were developing foreign universities through paying colossal fees. The don regretted that monies churned abroad could be used in expanding local universities. He said KUC would undergo a major infrastructural facelift to a tune of Sh1.4 billion.
Akama said the funds, to be sourced from the Government, donors and the institution’s savings would be invested in modern lecture halls, hostels, a library, laboratory and information and communication technology centre.
The educationalist regretted the available facilities were overstretched and needed upgrading to offer quality education and cope with the surging number of students.” No building has been put up since 1994 when it ceased being a diploma teachers’ college,” he said in an interview at his office.
The former management, noted Akama, maintained the status quo owing to few students admitted to the campus. KUC has since been elevated to a constituent college.
Akama further revealed that the Government would subsidize the college’s projects with Sh462 million with donors contributing Sh831 million while the college will raise Sh140 millions from the parallel degree programmes. He said KUC had introduced school-based parallel Bachelor of Education degree programmes and diplomas.
Japan International Co-operation Agency, said Akama has partnered with the college to construct an ICT Centre to enhance exchange programmes in the evolving technology, adding, China and German governments were keen in supporting the institution’s infrastructure.


July 10, 2009

Nairobi University
The University of Nairobi , a body corporate established by an Act of Parliament Cap 210 of the Laws of Kenya is the pioneer institution of University education in Kenya and the region.
The only institution of higher learning in Kenya for a long time, the University of Nairobi responded to the national regional and Africa ‘s high level manpower training needs by developing and evolving strong, diversified academic programmes and specializations in sciences, applied sciences, technology, humanities, social sciences and the arts. To date, the range of programmes offered number approximately two hundred.
Moi University
Moi University is located in Eldoret, a distance of 310 Kilometers Northwest of Nairobi , the capital city of Kenya . It was established as the second Public University in Kenya by an Act of Parliament, the Moi University Act of 1984. Moi University was established as an institution of Science and Technology with relatively small component of arts based programmes. The first group of 83 students was admitted in 1984 through a transfer from the Department of Forestry, University of Nairobi . It was the first department in the pioneer Faculty of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management.
Since then, the University has experienced phenomenal growth from the initial one Faculty in 1984 to 13 Schools in 2006 spread across the campuses of Moi University .

Kenyatta University
Kenyatta University is situated about 23 kilometres from the city of Nairobi on the Nairobi-Thika dual carriageway on 1,100 acres of land.It was established in 1965 as Kenyatta College.Following an Act of Parliament of 1970, Kenyatta College became a constituent College of the University of Nairobi
The University status was achieved on August 23, 1985, when the Kenyatta University Act received Presidential assent making the Institution a full – fledged University. The Act became operational on September 1, 1985 and the new University was inaugurated on December 17, 1985.

Egerton University
Maseno University
Maseno University currently comprises three campuses: Siriba and College, both in Maseno township 25 KM from Kisumu city on the Busia road. The two campuses were as a result of the merging of Maseno GTI with Siriba Teachers’ College to form Maseno University College , a constituent college of Moi University and its subsequent gazetting in October 1990. It became a full-fledged university 11 years later in 2001.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
JKUAT is located some 36KMs North East of Nairobi, in between Ruiru and Thika.It was started as the Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture and Technology (JKCAT) by the government of Kenya as an institution of higher learning with the generous assistance from the Japanese government.It was established as a University through JKUAT Act 1994 and inaugurated on7th December 1999.

Masinde Muliro University Of Science and Technology
Masinde Muliro University became a full university in December 2006 through an act of parliament.It is located in Kakamega Town in the Western Province of Kenya.It had been a constituent college of Moi University known as Western University College of Science and Technology.The student and staff population has grown tremendously since its inception. The first group of students taking degree courses was admitted into the University in 2002 having been transferred from Moi University , main campus.Subsequent groups of students were admitted directly into the University by JAB.


July 10, 2009

Education is not compulsory in Kenya, but the first eight years of primary school are provided free by the government. In the late 1980s approximately 5 million pupils annually attended about 13,850 elementary schools with a teaching staff of more than 149,000, and about 540,000 students attended the more than 2600 secondary and teacher-training schools staffed by some 25,600 teachers. In the late 1980s Kenya had four universities: the University of Nairobi (1956) and Kenyatta University (1972), both in Nairobi; Egerton University (1939), in Njoro; and Moi University (1984), in Eldoret. Specialized colleges included Mombasa Polytechnic (1948) in Mombasa; and the Kenya Conservatoire of Music (1944), Kenya Polytechnic (1961), and Strathmore College (1960) in Nairobi. Some 21,400 students were enrolled at the university level.

Many of Kenya’s foremost cultural institutions are in either Nairobi or Mombasa. In Nairobi are the National Museums of Kenya, which include exhibits on natural history and geology; the Kenya National Archives; and the McMillan Memorial Library, with a special collection of Africana. In Mombasa is the Fort Jesus Museum, a history museum housed in a 16th-century Portuguese fortress. The Kitale Museum features displays on scientific and historic topics.

Kenya, republic in Africa, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, bounded on the north by Sudan and Ethiopia, on the east by Somalia and the Indian Ocean, on the south by Tanzania, and on the west by Lake Victoria and Uganda. Kenya has an area of 582,646 sq km (224,961 sq mi).

Land and Resources
Kenya falls into several well-defined topographical zones extending from the Indian Ocean coast upward to lofty mountain ranges that reach elevations of more than 3048 m (10,000 ft) above sea level. From a low coastal strip the terrain rises gradually to a broad, arid plateau that covers the largest portion of the country. The region west of the plateau contains great volcanic mountain chains, of which the principal peak is Mount Kenya (5199 m/17,058 ft). The southern and southeastern portions of the country are heavily forested, and in the west, the immense depression of the Rift Valley is demarcated by a succession of steep cliffs. The chief rivers of Kenya are the T’ana and Galana (known as the Athi in its upper course). Besides a small portion of Lake Victoria, Kenya contains almost all of Lake Turkana (Lake Rudolf).

Kenya is divided into two almost equal parts by the equator. The region north of the equator is hot and receives comparatively little rain. The southern region falls into three meteorological zones: The coast is humid, the mean annual temperature ranging from about 24.4° C (about 76° F) in June and July to about 27.8° C (about 82° F) in February, March, and April; the highlands are relatively temperate; and the Lake Victoria region is tropical. The rainy seasons occur from October to December and April to June.

Natural Resources

The main resource of Kenya is its land, of which about 11 percent is suitable for agriculture. About one-third of this is arable; the remainder is used mainly for grazing. The northern two-thirds of Kenya is mostly desert or semidesert.

Plants and Animals
The plant life of Kenya is diversified. Along the coast are forests containing palm, mangrove, teak, copal, and sandalwood trees. Forests of baobab, euphorbia (see SPURGE), and acacia trees cover the lowlands to an elevation of approximately 915 m (approximately 3000 ft). Extensive tracts of savanna (grassland), interspersed with groves of acacia and papyrus, characterize the terrain from about 915 to 2745 m (about 3000 to 9000 ft). The principal species in the dense rain forest of the eastern and southeastern mountain slopes are camphor and bamboo. The alpine zone (above about 3550 m/11,000 ft) contains large plants of the Senecio and Lobelia genera.
Kenya is renowned for the great variety of its wildlife, especially the big game animals associated with the African savanna. The major species are the elephant, rhinoceros, zebra, giraffe, lion, and other large cats. Many of these are protected in national parks and game preserves, but hunters have severely reduced the number of large mammals, such as the elephant and rhinoceros. Kenya abounds in birds and reptiles, the latter including the python and cobra.

The great majority of Kenya’s population is black African. The country also has small numbers of Asians, Europeans, and Arabs. The black Africans are divided into more than 30 ethnic groups belonging to four linguistic families—Bantu, Nilotic, Paranilotic, and Cushitic. The largest ethnic groups are the Bantu-speaking Kikuyu, Luhya, and Kamba; the Nilotic-speaking Luo; and the Paranilotic-speaking Kalenjin.

Population Characteristics
The population of Kenya (1992 estimate) was 25,200,000. The overall population density was about 43 persons per sq km (about 111 per sq mi). The population was increasing at the very rapid rate of 4.2 percent annually in the late 1980s. About 80 percent of the people live in rural areas.

Political Divisions and Principal Cities

Kenya is divided into seven administrative provinces—Central, Coast, Eastern, North-Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Western—as well as the Nairobi district. Local government matters are handled by provincial advisory councils, whose members are appointed by the president.
Nairobi (population, 1984 estimate, 1,103,600) is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The major seaport is Mombasa (425,600), built mostly on an offshore island of the same name. Other cities are Kisumu (population, 1983 estimate, 167,100), a port city on Lake Victoria; Nakuru (101,700), the capital of Rift Valley Province; and Eldoret (population, estimated, 51,000), a rail center northeast of Kisumu.

It has been estimated that the population of Kenya is about 28 percent Roman Catholic, 38 percent Protestant, and 6 percent Muslim. The remaining people are largely followers of various traditional religions.

Nearly all the African ethnic groups in Kenya have their own distinct languages, some of which are closely related. Since the early 20th century Swahili has become a major African tongue, and it is the official language of Kenya; Kikuyu, Luo, and English are also widely used. See also AFRICAN LANGUAGES.

Agriculture is the chief source of income, accounting for 26 percent of the gross domestic product in the late 1980s. Mining activity is on a relatively small scale, but the growing manufacturing industry is more important in Kenya than in many black African nations. After World War II (1939-1945) Kenya experienced one of the highest rates of economic growth in the world because of large-scale foreign investments and the influx of European management and technical personnel. The government adopted the policy that the growth of the economy should be left to private enterprise and that government aid should be restricted to emergencies. Kenya joined with Tanzania and Uganda in 1967 to form the East African Community, an economic association to further the development of a common market in goods and services among the member states; the community was dissolved in 1977. In the late 1980s, Kenya’s gross national product was estimated at $8.8 billion, or $380 per capita. Kenya’s estimated national operating budget included expenditure of about $2.5 billion and revenue of approximately $2.3 billion.

Although only about 4 percent of the country is made up of arable land, the Kenyan agricultural system is highly diversified, producing almost every basic foodstuff. Sugarcane, corn, cassava, pineapples, sisal, cotton, and cashew nuts are grown on the coast and in the lowlands; potatoes, coffee, tea, cotton, cereal grains, beans, peanuts, and tobacco are grown in the highlands, the main producing area. Stockbreeding and dairy farming are important to the Kenyan economy, and in the late 1980s Kenya had about 9.8 million head of cattle, 8.5 million goats, 7.3 million sheep, and 23 million chickens. Dairy production included about 3800 metric tons of butter (including ghee, a semi-fluid clarified butter) and about 2.3 million metric tons of cow’s milk.

Forestry and Fishing

Kenya produces mostly hardwoods (musheragi, muiri, mukeo, camphor, musaise) and some softwoods (pids, cedar, cypress). Wattle bark, used in tanning, is an important export item. The annual lumber output was 36.2 million cu m (1.3 billion cu ft) in the late 1980s. Commercial fishing, primarily on inland waterways and lakes, is sufficient to satisfy the local market. The annual catch was about 131,200 metric tons in the late 1980s.

Kenya has few developed mineral resources, and mining plays only a small role in its economy. Mineral production in Kenya includes soda ash, salt, fluorspar, iron ore, gold, garnets, and limestone. Large deposits of lead and silver have been discovered near Mombasa.

Although expanding, most industry in Kenya is still on a small scale and consists mainly of food- and raw-material processing for local consumption. Flour milling, cement manufacturing, and oil refining are among the country’s leading industries.

In the late 1980s Kenya attracted about 700,000 visitors annually, yielding revenue of more than $400 million. Tourists primarily visit Kenya’s national parks and game reserves to see and photograph the wildlife; many also enjoy the beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline. Tsavo National Park and Marsabit National Reserve are two of the country’s largest parks.


Since World War II hydroelectric power projects have been developed to meet the increasing demand for electric power. In the late 1980s Kenya had an installed electricity generating capacity of about 575,000 kilowatts; the annual production of electrical energy was approximately 2.6 billion kilowatt-hours, about three-fourths of which was generated by hydroelectric facilities.

Currency and Foreign Trade
The currency unit is the Kenya shilling, consisting of 100 cents (24.43 shillings equal U.S.$1; 1991). Kenya usually spends considerably more each year on imports than it earns from exports; in the late 1980s annual imports were valued at $2 billion and exports at $926 million. Exports went principally to Germany, Great Britain, and Uganda. Major exports include coffee (the largest cash crop), tea, petroleum products, canned pineapple, hides and skins, sisal, soda ash, and pyrethrum extract (used in insecticides). Imports came mainly from Great Britain, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. Leading imports are crude petroleum, industrial machinery, motor vehicles, iron and steel, agricultural implements, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizer.

Kenya is served by the Kenya Railways Corporation, which operates about 2735 km (about 1700 mi) of railroad, linking Kenya with Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya has a road network totaling about 54,700 km (about 34,000 mi); 15 percent of the roadway is paved. Mombasa is the chief port and serves Uganda and Ethiopia as well as Kenya. Steamer service is maintained on Lake Victoria, with connections to Albert and Kioga lakes in Uganda. River transportation is not extensive. The Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi is a major terminus for Kenya Airways and other international airlines. A second international airport is located at Mombasa.

Kenya has five daily newspapers with a combined circulation of more than 300,000. Leading dailies include two English-language newspapers, the Daily Nation and The Standard, and a Swahili-language daily, Taifa Leo, all published in Nairobi. The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation operates radio and television stations with English-, African-, and Asian-language programs. In the late 1980s Kenya had more than 316,000 telephones, 1.9 million radios, and 200,000 television receivers.

In the late 1980s about 1.3 million people were employed in Kenya’s money economy; more than 50 percent worked in service industries, about 20 percent in agriculture and forestry, and about 18 percent in manufacturing and construction. The vast majority of the country’s economically active population, however, consisted not of wage earners but of farmers and herders at a subsistence level.

Kenya is governed under the constitution of 1963, as amended. Amendments enacted in 1964 made the country a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations. It has a modified parliamentary form of government.

Central Government
Executive authority in Kenya is exercised by a president, elected for a five-year term by popular vote. A vice president and a cabinet are appointed by the president from members of the National Assembly, the legislative branch of government. The assembly consists of 188 directly elected members plus 12 members who are nominated by the president. The Kenya African National Union (KANU) was the nation’s sole legal political party from 1982 to 1991.

The Kenyan judicial system consists of two major courts and several lesser tribunals. The major courts are the Kenya court of appeal, with a chief justice and five associate judges; and the high court of Kenya, with seven judges. The lesser tribunals include the resident magistrates’ courts; the district magistrates courts; and the qadi courts, which determine questions of Muslim law.

Local Government
Kenya is divided into seven provinces, which are broken down into some 40 districts, all of which have local councils with administrative functions. The higher local authorities are divided into two categories, municipalities and county councils. Below these are various urban councils, township authorities, area councils, and local councils. Although all these groups are responsible to the central government, considerable local autonomy is encouraged within the groups. Many of the councils raise their own revenues to finance public health measures, road and construction projects, and social welfare schemes. They also contribute revenue to local education costs. The Nairobi area is not included in any other district or province but has a special status of its own.

In the late 1980s the Kenyan army had a total strength of about 19,000. The navy, which is based in Mombasa, had about 1100 officers and ratings who operated coastal patrol boats on Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean. The air force, established in 1964, had 3500 personnel and 28 combat aircraft. Military service is voluntary.

Kenya is an ethnic and cultural melting pot. Its present population is the result of incursions of differing groups over the past 1500 years. Before AD 1000 East Africa was invaded by Nilotic clans from the north. The invaders, called Hima, were aristocratic pastoralists who introduced cattle herding and developed powerful kingdoms.

Bantu and Masai Migrations
Bantu invasions after the 14th century forced most of the Nilotes into Uganda, where they established new kingdoms, or into Tanzania, where, mixing with the Bantu, they became the Sukuma and Nyamwezi. In Kenya a similar process absorbed the Nilotic Luo into basic Bantu culture. The Bantu invaded Kenya by two routes. The Kamba and Kikuyu took the northerly way from west of the great lakes area and settled in the highlands. A more southerly route was followed by the Taita and other coastal Bantu. Both of these groups were organized into clans, with no centralized social or political institutions. No large, powerful Bantu kingdoms ever emerged in Kenya. Even the Kikuyu, the most numerous of the Bantu groups, remained a clan-based society. The soil in the uplands was fertile, and agriculture flourished there. The Bantu, using the terrain of the Rift Valley, particularly the valleys and hills of the highlands and the Aberdare Mountains, defended themselves from later invaders without being forced to fundamentally alter their political systems.
Still another group of invaders came to Kenya in the 17th century from the region north of Lake Turkana (Lake Rudolf). These were the Nilo-Hamitic Masai clans with their cattle herds. Scorning the uplands for the plains of central and southern Kenya, they clashed with the Bantu only on the frontiers. Their societies were also based on clans, and although the warrior, or muran, was a dominant figure, the Masai never had large armies. Like the Bantu, they presented few military problems to the Europeans who divided up East Africa in the 19th century.

The Zenj States and the Portuguese
After the 11th century, the coastal areas were dominated by traders and settlers from southern Arabia. They established the various Zenj city-states, so called because in Arabic the country was known as the land of the Zenj, or “black people.” The most important of these settlements in Kenya were Malindi and Mombasa. The Muslim entrepreneurs were content to control the interior trade, and their cities became important ports in the Indian Ocean trade system. In time a composite Arabic-Bantu culture developed along the coast, exemplified by the hybrid Swahili language, which became the trading language of East Africa. Generally independent from one another, the Zenj states were from time to time dominated by powerful non-African maritime empires. One of these was the sultanate of Oman and Muscat, which for centuries vied with the Europeans for supremacy along the coast. The Portuguese, following Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India in 1498, attempted to monopolize all Indian Ocean trade, and for more than a century, despite native resistance, they dominated the Zenj states. Fort Jesus, a massive 16th-century fortress in Mombasa, stands as a memorial to their former power on the Kenya coast. After the Dutch and the English wrested the trade from the Portuguese early in the 17th century, however, the Zenj states regained their independence.

The Omani Dynasty
In the early 19th century Sultan Sayyid Said of Oman conquered all the city-states north of Cape Delgado. Ruling over a commercial empire, he did not try to dominate the interior Bantu clans, and he eventually moved his capital to the island of Zanzibar in present-day Tanzania. The clove plantations on Zanzibar and oil-palm groves at Mombasa, developed by Said, needed a large labor force, and this need was met by the slave trade. Controlled from Mombasa and Zanzibar, this trade extended into Africa’s interior as far as Zaire. Swahili slavers sometimes raided weak Bantu clans, but they generally traded for slaves with the stronger African states. The cruelty of the slave trade brought revived European interest in Kenya. The British consul on Zanzibar took the lead in the anti-slave-trade movement. In return for guarantees of continued protection, the sultan, by the 1850s, had signed treaties limiting the scope of the trade. Finally, in 1873, fearing that the British would support a European takeover of his empire, Said’s son, Barghash, agreed to abolition.

British Rule
The British consul from 1873 to 1886 was John Kirk, who advised Sultan Barghash to raise an army and annex most of eastern Kenya and Tanzania. Refusing this advice, the sultan was helpless in the face of European territorial imperialism. German imperialists led the way, and their claims were upheld at the Congress of Berlin. In 1886 the British recognized the German sphere of influence over coastal Tanganyika (part of present-day Tanzania), retaining the Kenya area for themselves. A further territorial division took place in 1890. For a time British interests in Kenya were maintained by the Imperial British East Africa Company, but in 1896 the British Foreign Office assumed direct control primarily because of the decision to build a railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria. British annexation was not seriously contested by any of the Bantu or Masai. In 1902 all Kenya became a dependency under the Colonial Office. It became the British base of operations in the protracted East African campaign against the Germans during World War I (1914-1918).
The type of government established in Kenya was the crown colony system. The governor and the secretariat were appointed from London. Most Africans, however, continued to be ruled in some fashion by their own leaders under the general guidance of a British district officer. Tribal lands were guaranteed, but all unoccupied territory became crown land. Even before 1900 some white colonists had recognized the economic value of the highlands and had begun to settle the fertile lands adjacent to Nairobi. By the close of World War I more than 9000 Europeans were in Kenya, and much of the highlands had been reserved for continual white settlement. The government, claiming to be concerned with “native paramountcy,” actually favored the white minority. African economics and politics were closely monitored at a time when the depression of the 1930s and an expanding population showed the inadequacy of the land reserved for the natives.

The Kikuyu Revolt
The Kikuyu, denied any major additions to their reserve and never reconciled to the loss of their original lands, began an agitation after World War II (1939-1945), which culminated in the Mau Mau Rebellion of the early 1950s. Although the rebellion did not spread to the other native peoples, it cost the lives of a few Europeans and thousands of Kikuyu, and the expenditure of millions of dollars. By the end of the emergency, in 1956, the prosettler policy was abandoned in favor of one similar to that being followed in West Africa, leading to majority rule and independence. The only difficulty in this period concerned Jomo Kenyatta, the Kikuyu leader, who had been imprisoned for complicity in the Mau Mau uprising. The major Kenya political party, the Kenya African National Union (KANU), refused to cooperate fully until their leader was released. Once this was done (1961), full cooperation ensured Kenya’s independence, which was proclaimed on December 12, 1963.

Despite the fears of white settlers, African rule proved moderate, pro-Western, and progressive. Although Kenya by 1965 was a functioning one-party state, considerable freedom was permitted within the party, and the government seldom misused its powers. Internal peace among the different tribes and nations was maintained, and land redistribution calmed much of the clamor of Kenya’s traditional leaders. Kenya became a republic in 1964, and Kenyatta was chosen its first president. He sought to maintain good relations with Kenya’s neighbors but did have some difficulties with Tanzania and with the Ugandan regime of Idi Amin. The East African Community, an economic union of the three countries established in 1967 and once considered a promising start for political unification, was gradually phased out (although in the early 1980s the community’s former members considered reviving it). Kenyatta’s moderate, stable government attracted large foreign investments. A new industrial area was established near Thika, and central Nairobi was modernized. The tourist industry, based on Kenya’s great national wildlife reserves, continued to thrive. Kenyatta was recognized at the time of his death in mid-1978 as Mzee, “the wise old one,” not only by his own people but by a wide array of world leaders.
Fears of possible civil war between Luo and Kikuyu groups when Kenyatta died proved unfounded, and his successor, Daniel arap Moi, followed the same moderate political and economic policies. However, in June 1982 he made Kenya officially a one-party state. Two months later an attempt by air force units to oust him was crushed by loyal troops. As the 1990s began, Moi reacted to rising domestic opposition by jailing his leading critics; in late 1991, however, he bowed to pressure from international aid donors by legalizing opposition parties. Kenya’s first multiparty election in 26 years was held in December 1992. Moi won the election and was sworn for his fourth term as president in January 1993. After the 1992 election, government corruption was alleged and Kenya experienced strife between the Kikuyu and President Moi’s ethnic group, the Kalenjin.


July 10, 2009

Enrolment in colleges offering foreign languages has risen as Kenyans seek competitive advantage in getting jobs.
A survey of several colleges in Nairobi reveals that foreign language classes are attracting many students.
The Director of Nairobi’s Regional Centre For Tourism and Foreign Languages James Kamau says foreign languages like Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Spanish are attracting most interest. “Kenyans are no longer just looking for local jobs but also abroad and studying a foreign language helps,” he says.
study opportunities
Kamau says many of his students work with international airlines, international organisations, and diplomatic missions and in tourism. “Our foreign language classes attract many who have seen their colleagues get promoted after learning a foreign language,” he says.
Mr Otieno Onyango, a lecturer of Chinese, says business and study opportunities in China are attracting a huge interest in Chinese languages.
“Interest in studying in China is picking up as the cost of studying in Western countries increases,” he says.
Onyango, who studied Chinese for several years in China after completing his Bachelors degree in Egerton University, says the few Kenyans who speak Chinese are in great demand.
Dennis Omondi, a student of Japanese in a local college, has high hopes of getting a lucrative job in Japan just like his cousin who is working in an international hotel in Tokyo after studying the same language

kenyatta university

June 29, 2009

The main campus of Kenyatta University is located about 16 kms from Nairobi city along the Nairobi –Thika highway. It is set on 1,100 acres of land providing a quiet and serene environment conducive for learning and research..
Kenyatta University attained its university status in 1965 when the British government handed over then Templer Barracks to the Kenyan government which turned on to be an institution of higher learning named Kenyatta College.
In 1970, Kenyatta University became a constituent college of Nairobi university through an act of parliament and changed its name to Kenyatta university college (KUC).
Currently, Kenyatta is a well established university with campuses at Ruiru, Parklands, Kitui, Mombasa and the recent Pwani University College in Kilifi.

New law for varsities BY KARIITHI PATRICK

June 22, 2009

Boasting of about seven public universities and eleven private chartered universities, Kenya will now have more room to establish more universities if the new proposed bill is enacted to law.
The new law seeks to expand the mandate of the commission of higher education and thus a special commission for university education will be created.
In an experts meeting including all vice chancellors, the universities Bill 2009 was set up with some old provisions being scraped off. The provision that required every campus to have at least 50 acres of land and space has been repealed citing it irrelevant in academic matters.
The new bill will see the repeal of eight pieces of legislation that currently govern the public universities.
The new law will see both private and public universities under common regulations, which is good for ensuring quality standards. Private universities will also be seriously scrutinized under the new law.
The commission for university education will take the mandate of looking onto governance and quality assurance issues. It will be the onset of public universities remuneration committees to keep constant review of staff remuneration and schemes of service.
The committee will be appointed by the minister for higher education and will look onto union issues and other bargaining agreements.
The acts of parliament that set the creation of Moi, Nairobi, Kenyatta, Masinde Muliro, Maseno and Egerton universities will be changed to charters. The Kenyan university education will be of quality and relevance as per the universities bill 2009.
The experts meeting that saw the onset of the bill was attended by council members, V.C’s and other officials from universities as well as the right permanent secretary for higher education Prof, Crispus Kiamba, in Nairobi.

New bill for varsities and technical institutions by kariithi patrick.

June 17, 2009

Varsities get a new bill
It is yet another achievement in the ministry of higher education in the onset of three crucial bills:
1. The science, technology and innovation bill (ST&I)
2. Technical, industrial, vocational and entrepreneurship training bill (TIVET)
3. The universities bill
In a message released to the press Dr Sally Koskey the minister of higher education science and technology, expressed confidence in the ministries and other stakeholder’s efforts to spearhead the bills. The bills will be aimed at ensuring a legal framework for revamping the higher education, technical institutions , science and technology sectors towards the achievement of vision 2030. The vision 2030 realization would entrench a culture of science, technology and innovation in our society. It also strengthens the innovation system in our country. “The anticipated knowledge-based economy represents an economy where creation, adoption, adaptation and use of knowledge must become the main engine of a rapid economic growth. It is one of where effective use of knowledge is the most important factor for creating wealth and improving social welfare for international competitiveness.” The minister said.
The role of the ministry of education is to contribute towards the development of the social and economic status of Kenyans through a coordinated and harmonized intergration of ST&I , quality higher education and technical training to the national development processes . it is also expected to realize quality ,equtable,accessible reliable technical and higher education. With the recent developments, the science and technology Act, cap 250 which has since 1977 provided the legal framework for generation of advice, coordination and promoting of science and technology is inadequate to effectively guide the conduct of National science, technology and innovation. In the same breadth he education act has not adequately covered the universities as far as the new mandate of producing skilled manpower to champion the knowledge based economy is concerned. The technical education sector for a long time has no proper regulation.
Dr Sally Koskey who officiated the workshop for validation of science, technology and innovation bill, universities bill and TIVET bill in the school of monetary studies in, Nairobi, expressed the will of the ministry to review the CAP 250 of the laws of Kenya, formulation of a comprehensive science and technology policy, establishment of science and technology fund and revamping of technical and universities education among other engagements. She farther appreciated that once the bills are enacted into law they will support the search, acquisition development and application of modern and traditional knowledge and the utilization of the ensuing technologies in the formal and informal sectors of the economy. They will provide an enabling environment for building a critical mass of human resource, to harness and effectively participate in the application of ST&I.
The minister was accompanied by the PS for higher education Prof. Chris kiamba who defended the ministry towards claim of expansion of access vis-à-vis quality of education in universities. The PS also acknowledged the effort put by the ministry to ensure higher education is accessible and available to Kenyans as well as accreditation and quality assurance mechanisms and procedures besides providing loans and bursaries to needy students in public academic institutions.

The ST&I bill represents the proposed legislations and institutions for governing science, technology and innovation in the country towards the realization of vision 2030. The bill when enacted to law will outdo the science and technology Cap 250 of the laws of Kenya.
The development and application of science and technology posses a great tremendous social, economic and environmental impacts. Scientific knowledge and new technologies are being employed to tackle problems in the provision of health care, physical infrastructure, safe drinking water, sanitation, energy and food supplies.
The ability to come to terms with the use of scientific and technological knowledge will force the Kenyan citizen to change the quality of live he/she lives. Thus, it is a prerequisite for Kenyans to have a law that will put into account the emerging technologies and its impacts.
The ST&I will intend to fill various gaps identified by the science and technology Cap 250 of the laws of Kenya. Among the gaps is the science, technology and innovation that have been lacking. It creates context for the promotion of research, science, technology and innovation; the harmonization of accreditation, registration and quality assurance among institutions; and defines the storage, dissemination and commercialization of ST&I products and services.
The ST&I bill establishes institutions and policy guidelines that provide the promotion of research, science, technology and innovation for national development. The bill proposes the complete autonomy of the National Council of Science and Technology that has performed as a semi- autonomous government agency and therefore changes its title to National commission for science, technology and innovation (NACSTI). The new body will provide advice, harmonization, coordination, promotion and dissemination of policies for research, science and technology.
Due to the haphazard acquisition of new technologies developed elsewhere, the bill proposes to bring on board the KENYA NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY ACQUISITION OFFICE (KENTAO) for the promotion and coordination of technology acquisition, adaptation and diffusion.
The bill also proposes the an agency to promote stimulation and intensification of technological innovation and invention in order to improve economic growth and the quality of life for Kenyans; therefore to fill the gap the KENYA NATIONAL INOVATION AGENCY (KENIA) takes the role.
The KENYA NATIONAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION (KENREF) also has a stake in the bill and whose key functions is to mobilize, manage and disburse funds for science, technology and innovation activities. It will also handle funds to human resource development and the necessary research facilities. The focus of this body is to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including indigenous knowledge.
Another significant body in the bill is the research, science, technology and innovation appeals tribunal which will handle science and technology and innovation cases. It will resolve disputes on matters of and related to science, technology and innovation. The tribunal is the first and the only one.
The NACSTI shall be the umbrella body under which the other institutions shall operate.
The enactment of the bill into law by parliament will provide for the opportunity for the science and technology community to set up the necessary institutions to run their affairs.
The universities bill is necessary for the diverse university education and the ever increasing demand and expansion of higher education. Currently, Kenya hosts about seven public universities, twelve constituent colleges and eleven private chartered universities. The universities have special instruments such as decrees, acts of parliament and charters to operate within certain jurisdictions. The instruments provide varsities with legal protection to pursue their major objectives to teach undertake research and provide service to the society.
The bill will offer the establishment of a commission of universities education which is geared to see quality standards in the sector and also provide accreditation and registration facility. It also establishes a public universities remuneration committee.
It reviews the establishments and accreditation of both private and public universities as well as the licensing registration and accreditation of foreign universities.
The bill also incorporates issues of standards and relevance in universities. It further incorporates standards, quality and relevance in curriculum development in the universities as well as standards and quality in the teaching profession. Assessment, examinations and certification are also highlighted in the bill.
The enactment of the bill will see potential, well and highly learned labour “top cream” being produced from varsities.
The government recognizes the importance of developing the necessary labour with the skills needed for national development. TIVET is a major tool for industrialization and presents a major tool for industrialization and provides Kenya with a chance to improve the quality of life, betterment of standards of living and environment. It is a sector that is supposed to develop the necessary skills through practical training and work experience at all levels.
The TIVET bill establishes anticipated statutes that will govern the management of TIVET institutions. In a new development it establishes a director of TIVET and a directorate of TIVET. It proposes the establishment of technical, industrial, vocational and entrepreneurship authority (TIVETA) which shall oversee issues of accreditation, registration, licensing and quality standards for TIVET institutions among other functions. The authority shall operate as an autonomous government agency.
There shall be a TIVET board established which shall look into the system of accreditation of institutions, manage and control the assets of the TIVET authority among other tasks.
The bill provides for appeals tribunal for conflict resolution for the TIVET sector. It also provides for disciplining of students, teaching staff and non-teaching staff in TIVET institutions.
Once enacted to law it will provide for a well coordinated TIVET sector that will ensure quality skills development and benchmarking against the best practices in the world.

June 5, 2009

KU’s Engineering and Medical schools on the spot.

With the ever increasing demand for higher education, universities are finding the urge to expand and tap into the overwhelming demand irresistible.

Indeed public and private universities are literally scrambling to have a share of the huge student market in the country by introducing courses perceived as marketable in the job market.

Satellite campuses are sprouting all over with many universities already having acquired or are busy shopping around for premises in towns to establish teaching centres.

However critics are questioning such a move with some universities having had to experience student unrests over claims of ‘diluted education and inadequate resources.’

Kenyatta University, which is currently closed due to a recent riot, is among the rapidly growing institutions. An initially education intensive college, today the institution runs a law, medical, economics and Engineering schools among many more departments.

But what is drawing attention from sceptics and students are the medical and Engineering schools .

“These departments are leading to semiskilled graduates. These and many more departments depend on part time lecturers and there is improper supervision and follow up,” decried a student, whom we will not name to avoid victimisation.

“Majority of graduates from the engineering department may miss jobs since they are not recognised by the Engineering Registration Board of Kenya, which is responsible for accrediting engineering courses,” decried a student leader at the institution.

A petition document to the KU administration by student leaders on the recent strike also name inadequate facilities in the labaratories for technical courses as one of the concerns that enraged students who went on rampage.

Astonishingly too, this is not a KU problem alone. All public universities are in the fray and as we speak, the institutions have suspended introduction of new engineering courses until they are fully vetted by the Engineering Board {ERB} of Kenya.

Close to 300 graduates of Engineering courses from various public universities are in the dilemma of ‘not being recognised’ by the ERB.

According to KU Dean, School of Engineering and Technology Dr. Waweru Muthumbi, the controversy surrounding Engineering students from public universities is a concern urgently being addressed by all universities.

“The ERB is concerned of the many courses cropping up with various Engineering names” and is currently doing a new Act to ensure stringent vetting of Engineering courses,” said Muthumbi who is also spearheading a stakeholders conference, slated for August, to iron out issues between employers and the university.

“We have a committee which is reviewing all our courses to know which ones to redevelop, which to add value before we can pass them to the University senate for approval,” he explained.

Another headache lies at the institutions School of Medicine.

The Medicine is resource intensive course which requires well established hospitals as training centres for medical students.

Among the hospitals acting as KU’s teaching haven is Machakos District Hospital which critics say is not well equipped for medical interns.

But the University’s management maintained that all is well and students have no cause to worry.

“The medical school was established after very serious feasibility studies. We also had intensive consultations with the Medical Board of Kenya. The university senate and the Ministry of health approved the decision to establish the school,” explained Dr Okello Agina, Dean, KU School of Medicine.

As regards choice of Machakos District Hospital, he said: “The hospital is a gazetted provincial hospitable where we can train our interns. It was our initial target and after thorough investigation we were satisfied.”

However he said Machakos is far from KU and already students are undergoing their internship at Thika Hospital and Pumwani maternity, after approval from the medical board,” he said.

“Machakos is a bit far. Thika is close to KU and since it is a gazetted training institution we intend to use it for training as we wait to build our own hospital to cater for the rising demand,” he said.

The medical school, he said currently has 40 students but has capacity to admit up to 100 students.

“We have few students because we want to have good contact with them. We already have six lecturers in anatomy/surgery and our pathology, physiology and biochemistry is well equipped,” he said.

The institution is also gearing to establish own referral and teaching hospital with funds from Japan.

“Demand for medical training is very high in the country. We want to decongest Moi Nairobi Universities. We admit both government sponsored and parallel students. We also offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the first batch of students will graduate in September,” he said.