With our flawed education structures, we should expect what we are seeing

What you need to know:

  • Higher education in Kenya is continually and consistently going to the dogs.

  • And this is regardless of whether you are going to a public or a private school. This is happening across the board.

If you follow anything in Kenya at all, i.e. our gradual downward spiral in most sectors (most recently, tourism, and being told to go to hell) then you are not actually surprised that this is the case. If anything, you saw this coming.

You saw that free primary education (along with maternity plan) was a bit of a hoax that wasn't going to work – not because it was a bad idea, but because there was no implementation framework whatsoever set out from anywhere.


This is why, in a few more years, what we have to show for this free education is extra levies from nowhere, even more underpaid, overworked and unhappy teachers looking for side hustles to support their families, and the least quality primary school education we have seen in decades – even though more children are going to school at 4am with backbreaking bags full of textbooks from the age of eight. What is that important at 4am?

I digress. This translates to high schools in which children are unhappily burning buildings while ill-trained teachers and disgruntled parents uninterested in the actual welfare of their children claim they are spoiled (something they enabled) and a lack of focus and discipline (which they outsourced).


Then we come to university with a different set of problems. I cannot count on all the digits I have on my body how many people I know have had a problem with getting a simple undergraduate degree. Don't even get me started on master's degrees. I would never send a child of mine, for example, to KU or Catholic University of East Africa – home of misplaced grades and disappearing lecturers.

I know a young man who has been trying to get a simple transcript from CUEA since last year – he was supposed to graduate then, but he didn't, and is already so close to his graduation this year, it feels like at this point they don't even want to find the transcript. Same story for KU, where administrators seem to fail and forget students on a whim – two of my relatives have had to go through that process. One still hasn't finished her master's, 10 years later.


Going to university is hard enough, what with education mostly being a rich man's dream, unless you have Helb, or want actual value for your money. Then you get there and slave away, only to be met with a different set of problems – you can't graduate, because your records are missing through no fault of your own; or your professor wants something from you that you're not willing to give; or there's a course you have to retake that you last thought about in second year; or the entire thing is rigged against you.


Where are the protocols that protect the students against incompetence? No one needs a whole new block of a university. Most people would rather have results, simplicity, and, God forbid, a bit of transparency. What happens when what you learn after university is how to game the system, because you have to? What do these Matiang'is and Mohameds really think is going to happen when they present 70 per cent of the country with no viable option in the incredibly flawed (visiting day-less) structures they created without a thought?