Managing disruption in the education sector

Managing disruption in the education sector

The education sector in Kenya has experienced disruptions in the past caused by teachers’ strikes, natural disasters like floods, and the post-election violence. When disruption occurs, learning is usually interrupted. In the current environment, learning in Kenya has been disrupted at all levels. We can use this period of disruption to implement strategies to manage disruption, teach skills to build resilience and utilise technology to facilitate next-generation learning.

The impact of disruption varies, depending on the level of education; at universities, learning may be deferred for a period of time but for primary and secondary schools, learners are usually expected to continue studying on their own.

When learning resumes, learning institutions may need to rush the delivery of the curriculum or even skip parts of the syllabus if disruption occurs close to the end of the school year. Students preparing for national exams would be particularly disadvantaged in such cases.

Minimising the impact of disruption Efforts to minimise disruption in the sector depend on the nature and magnitude of it. The government’s guiding vision for the basic education curriculum is to enable every Kenyan to become an engaged, empowered and ethical citizen. In 2019, the government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education rolled out a new curriculum, the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC). CBC offers learners the self-driven learning skills that they need in the 21st Century and that are particularly useful in the event of continued or prolonged disruption.

Effective homeschooling Homeschooling in Kenya, while strictly controlled, could be a possible solution to disruptions in learning especially for pupils in their formative years. The concept may be strange to many, but homeschooling is facilitated through access to materials and the internet and usually well organised.

There is much that the homeschooling community and programmes can teach us, although we also need to be sensitive to the difficulties arising from inequality. Parents who struggle to earn enough to support their families will find it harder to manage homeschooling or ‘schooling from home’ instigated by disruption. Educators should sensitise the population on homeschooling and promote its practices to help mitigate the effects of disruption.

Deployment of technology Technological skills are essential to learners and workers in the 21st Century. As educators strive to equip learners with these skills, decision makers in education should also embrace technology and the government should make the required equipment and technology available to learners. About 10 years ago, the government ran a project to enable university students to obtain access to laptops at subsidised prices courtesy of the ICT Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. Such initiatives should continue to improve access to technology at all levels of learning.

The government had also embarked on a digitisation programmme for young primary school children but the project has been put on hold and instead the government has undertaken to build computer laboratories in schools, which is more sustainable.

The current disruption due to the global health emergency should serve as a launchpad for decision makers in education to explore various continuity strategies to reduce the impact of this and future disruptions.

" As educators strive to equip learners with these skills, decision makers in education should also embrace technology and the government should make the required equipment and technology available to learners."

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Valentine Njeri

Manager, Assurance T: +254 20 285 5435 E:

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