Quality of Education and its Role in National Development: A Case study of Kenya’s Educational Reforms By Peter C. Otiato Ojiambo*
Education is a vital tool in the developmental process of any given nation. In this article, a critical examination is made of various educational reforms that have been undertaken in Kenya in both colonial and post-colonial period and their correlation to national development. Specifically, the article examines historical development of Kenyan education and its challenges in meeting its national developmental goals. In order for education to foster development this article recommends: the need to separate educational policies from national politics, clear stipulation of educational policies and their role in national development and a sound implementation of educational reforms. Key words: Educational policy; Education planning; Educational history; Educational administration; Comparative education; Education financing *Peter C. Otiato Ojiambo holds a Ph.D from Ohio University, Athens and is based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Citation Format
Ojiambo, Peter Otiato (2009). Quality of Education and its Role in National Development: A Case study of Kenya‘s Educational Reforms. Kenya Studies Review: 1, 1, 133-149. Copyright © 2009 Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (KESSA) KSR Volume 1, Number 1, December 2009
There has been a widespread belief among educational economists that educational development would lead to accelerated economic growth, more wealth and income distribution, greater equality of opportunity, availability of skilled human power, a decline in population growth, long life, better health outcomes, low crime rates, national unity and political stability. This belief has made many individuals and nations to invest immensely in education. But why has education become such a big business? In many of his works on this subject, Schultz has noted that population quality and knowledge constitute the principal determinants of the future welfare of mankind.1 Expounding on this further, Harbison argues that the wealth of nations depend on their capacity to develop their human resources and not so much on their physical resources. He argues that ―a country which is unable to develop skills and knowledge of its people and to utilize them effectively in the national economy will be unable to develop anything else.‖2 According to Pscharopolos, education is considered the route to economic prosperity, the key to scientific and technological advancement, the means to combat unemployment, the foundation of social equality, equal wealth distribution, and the spearhead of political socialization and cultural diversity.3 Education is also seen as defining and guiding cultural, economic and political dynamics and generational developmental imperative of societies (Ayodo and Gravenir, 1999; Nafukho, 1998; Okech and Abagi, 1997; Amutabi, 2003). Similar studies indicate that countries with high literacy rates among men and women have lower levels of fertility, lower infant and maternal mortality and longer life expectancy. As evidenced by various studies, the socio-economic benefits accruing to formal education are now unambiguous, and when educational opportunities are opened to women such benefits are even greater. It is against this backdrop that education reform and development have been long standing objectives of the Government of Kenya (GoK) since gaining its independence in 1963. Although the causal relationship between schooling and development in Kenya is less extensive compared to more industrialized nations, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that provision of quality education leads to both economic and social development. It is in this regard, that the Kenyan Government has continued to invest heavily in formal education. In the last two decades, for instance, public spending in education in Kenya as a...