Kenya should learn from China's experience in developing education

09:38, November 04, 2009      

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Permanent Secretary of Kenyan ministry of education Kalega Mutahi has said that the support and aid of the Chinese government for his country's education is conducive to Kenyan people and the east African country should learn from China's experience in developing education and boosting economy.

Kalega Mutahi made the remarks in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua. Mutahi also expressed his thankfulness to the Chinese government. "We are very grateful that the Chinese government and people have helped on a great deal, particularly on higher levels of education".

The Chinese government has provided around 30 scholarships for the university education annually to Kenyan students and they have created exchange programs between the Chinese universities and Kenyan universities, which is very beneficial, the permanent secretary said.

Mutahi eulogized the tremendous progress and tangible fruits China has made in educational and economic field. "Now that China understands the challenges of underdevelopment and challenges of having large population in small areas. Being able to feed and educate that population, we look forward to learning more from China."

"One of the areas that we think that they (the Chinese) have done very well and we want to learn from them is distance education."

Commenting on current situation of education in Kenya, Mutahi said that Kenya has made great efforts on primary school enrollment. At present, the net enrollment rate for primary school in Kenya has increased to 92.56 percent, the highest in the Sub- Saharan African region.

Besides, Kenya has adopted several effective measures to cope with educational difficulties based on the nation's real situation, he said.

One of the strategies is to mobilize the community to put their support together with the government so that they are able to develop more schools, classrooms and facilities like water and sanitation in order to improve learning environment of the children, the permanent secretary explained.

"To expand the schools, we have special programs namely mobile schools that are targeting the children who are in the dry area of the country where Families are always moving with animals".

So far they have established 91 mobile schools with about 80,000 children getting education through them, he noted.

In the urban slums where there may be no schools or children may not be able to go to school for whatever reason, they have non-formal schools, ran by the churches so that children get education chance in the church or at the Mosque.

"We are going to carry out the audit of the account to make sure the money is used properly. Current we are supporting 447 non-formal schools in seven municipalities," he said.

Though Kenya has taken many strategies to enhance education, especially primary and secondary education, they are still confronting challenges such as the shortage of teachers and pedagogic equipment and the unsatisfied quality of education contrarily with its high enrollment.

Mutahi reiterated the importance and determination of Kenyan government to develop education.

"If Africa wants to go to global competitiveness, every child should go to school, and therefore what the countries are doing including Kenya is to develop those special programs," the permanent secretary added.

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