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Aligning the education sector in Kenya to the New Constitution

The role of education and training in the overall development of a country's social, economic and political spheres cannot be overemphasized. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 recognizes education as a basic human right and offers a solid foundation for the government commitment to education, and for extensive reforms in policy, legislation, and curriculum aspects of the education sector.  

The Constitution, 2010 under article 53 1(b) has provided for free and compulsory basic education as a human right to every Kenyan child. Other constitutional provisions that provide for education include:

Article 43 1 (f) which recognizes education as a basic socio-economic right for every person.

Article 54 1 (b) which provides for the rights of persons with disability to access educational institutions and facilities integrated into society to the extent compatible with the interests of the person

Article 55 1 (a) which requires the State  take measures to ensure that the youth access relevant education and training

Article 56 1(b) which recognizes the rights of minorities and marginalized groups to education.

In order to achieve the mandate of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, the Representation of the People and the Legislature thematic area organised a technical meeting to come up with a framework to inform the thematic area on the process of working together with implementing agencies in general, and with the Ministry of Education in particular, in aligning the education sector with the new constitution. The proposed framework will guide CIC in its engagement with the Ministry of Education and other relevant implementing agencies on achieving the ideal education system to realize a reformed education sector as envisioned in the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

In coming up with this framework, it was generally agreed that a  good education system should have the ability to instil the national values and principles of the Constitution within the curriculum, provide certain skills to better the lives of Kenyans, transmit culture, and introduce extra curriculum activities such as sports. It was also agreed that the ideal education system should add value to the learner in terms of provision of skills, unlike the current education system which mainly focuses on passing one stage of schooling to the next with emphasis on paper based examinations.

It was also agreed that the Ministry of Education, together with the relevant implementing agencies, should endeavour to ensure that the standard of education is harmonized throughout the country, build capacity for teachers, and guarantee that all education facilities and institutions are up to date. These and other actions such as the unbundling the term “progressive realization” of the right to education with clear action plans and timelines will form a core part of the reform process for the Kenyan education system.

Moving forward, the Representation of the People and the Legislature thematic area will interrogate the Education policy to see if its proposals meet the minimum constitutional threshold while partnering closely with the relevant state and non-state actors within the education sector to agree on the basic minimums for an ideal education policy.

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