For the past few weeks, there have been unconfirmed rumours that the head of State, HE Uhuru Kenyatta, may reshuffle his Cabinet Secretaries. If the rumours come to pass, then one Dr Amina Mohammed (the Education Ministry’s Cabinet Secretary) may not be spared; going by the words on the tongues of most Kenyans. Dr Amina’s critics blame her for incompetence occasioned by the myriad of hasty decisions that she has been making of late.
First it was the confusion caused by the way she has handled the implementation of the New Competency Based Curriculum. Maybe, Dr Amina was right when she first insinuated that the country was not ready for the roll out of the new Curriculum. According to Dr Amina, then, the teachers had not been adequately prepared for the implementation of the new Curriculum. Of course, this is a fact but this pronouncement caused unprecedented ripples and anger from a section of Kenyans; more so parents with kids in lower primary.
Few days later, the Cabinet Secretary would emerge and announce that implementation of the new Curriculum would go ahead as scheduled. And, indeed, the Curriculum was rolled out in Lower primary classes, last week. What informed her turnaround is a mystery, for now.
Another decision by the Education Ministry, which has caused discomfort among parents, is that of forcing form ones to join secondary schools as placed by the Ministry via the National Education Management Information System, NEMIS. For months, now, the Ministry had rigidly clung to this stance till last night; when the Principal Secretary emerged with a softer stand; regarding the admissions. Parents whose kids had been selected to join far flung schools have had sleepless nights. One parent wondered why his daughter from Nairobi had been placed at a county school in Nyamira. “The irony of the story is you in central Kenya and your kid get a letter of admission from Lamu how on earth can you take your kid that far!,” wonders Macharia Njenga (A parent).
According to Godfrey Kimega, a parent, schools should be left to do own admissions as has been the norm. “Centralization of high schools’ admissions is a really bad idea. Better to let schools handle admissions. The ministry should handle only national schools admissions,” says Mr. Kimega.
” The second question that has so far not been addressed is what happens to the hundreds of students who’s details cannot be found on the Ministry of Educations form one selection portal. Tell me Ambassador Amina where are they supposed to go,” quips @ovendi101 on Twitter. Students most affected are those who were manually selected to join private and Sub- county schools. The truth is, some students are yet to receive their calling letters; leave alone knowing the schools in which they were placed. But, it is a relieve for them after the Ministry allowed manual selection of form ones by Principals at school level; provided such data is uploaded to the NEMIS system for ratification.
On the flip side, boys were selected to join form one in girls’ schools and vice versa; during the electronic placement via the NEMIS system.
Consequently, Kenyans have been ‘angered’ by the Cabinet Secretary’s shaky decisions. Some want President Uhuru Kenyatta to take Dr Amina to be taken back to the Foreign Affairs docket; where she ostensibly ‘did best’. Here is a collation of some Kenyans, online:
- @ovendi101: “This flip flopping on policy in the Ministry of Education doesn’t help. It is now quite apparent that a steady had is needed at the Ministry of Education because this is a very sensitive docket.”
- @ToneyAusteen: “Education ,the most important of all the sectors is being toyed with. The future of this nation is in deep http://mess.So sad.”
- @meshwendo: ” She (Dr Amina) is consistently inconsistent. From the implementation of the new curriculum to the form one selection by head teachers.”
- @Jken_O: “Many have bought uniforms + other school specific items incurred costs, only those who can afford will now make the change of schools if possible.”
- @Peter80329373: “She is not the right person for this ministry. This requires a decisive and firm person. We miss (Dr) Matiangi.”
- @c-abong: “So many U-turns! The worst education minister ever, gambling with the future of this country’s kids. How are decisions made in the education ministry? Very worrying indeed”