By Dr. Paul K. Wanjohi
Introduction: The educational landscape in Kenya is a rich tapestry of diverse institutions, each playing a distinctive role while grappling with its unique set of challenges. At the core of Kenya’s education system lies a fundamental distinction between public and private schools, meticulously laid out in Part V, Section 43 of the Education Act of 2013.
Categorizing the Educational Spectrum: In accordance with the Education Act of 2013, Kenya classifies its basic educational institutions into two principal categories. However, the Unified APBET Schools Association of Kenya (UASAK), bolstered by civil society, is actively advocating for the recognition of a third category.
- Public Schools: These institutions are established, owned, or operated by the government, encompassing sponsored schools as well. They represent the bedrock of the government’s mission to deliver education to the masses.
- Private Schools: Private individuals, visionary entrepreneurs, and institutions of various stripes shepherd these institutions. Private schools wield considerable influence within the education sector, offering diverse educational approaches and curricula.
- Alternative Provision of Basic Education and Training (APBET) Schools: These unsung heroes, though less celebrated, are no less crucial. APBET schools extend their invaluable support to learners in remote and impoverished areas, including urban slums. Their mission: to deliver quality and affordable education to students in regions where opportunities are often scarce.
Guiding Forces: Associations at the Helm: Both private schools and APBET institutions have their own dedicated associations, each with its own distinct mission and objectives. These associations serve as bulwarks, tirelessly advocating for the interests of their member schools and steadfastly working toward the continuous betterment of the education system.
Kenya Private School Association (KPSA): KPSA stands as the registered association that champions the cause of pure private schools across Kenya. With a constitution to guide its operations, KPSA is unwavering in its commitment to promote the highest standards of education in private schools. The association’s leadership is democratically elected in accordance with its constitution.
Unified APBET Schools Association of Kenya (UASA-K): UASA-K represents the noble cause of schools that provide alternative provision of basic education and training. Committed and dedicated individuals lead UASA-K, tirelessly striving to ensure that APBET schools can effectively serve learners in under-served areas.
Leadership Unveiled: The path to leadership within these associations is no stroll in the park, as leaders emerge through democratic processes and spirited campaigns.
At present, KPSA is on the precipice of its upcoming elections, scheduled for Friday, October 6th. The contest promises to be fierce, with two prominent groups vying for the privilege of leadership:
- Team “Kazi iendellee”: Under the leadership of Engineer Charles Ochome, the incumbent Chairman of KPSA, this group brings a wealth of experience and a distinguished track record. Engineer Ochome, the Founder and Director of the esteemed Golden Elite Group of Schools, boasts a master’s degree in Business Administration with a marketing focus from the University of Salford, UK. His tenure at KPSA has seen remarkable achievements, including the presentation of a memorandum to the PWPER, resulting in the adoption of 40% of their recommendations.
- Team Change: Spearheaded by Solomon Munene, the current Vice Chairman of KPSA and Director of Kirinyaga Municipality Primary School, this group promises a fresh perspective. Solomon Munene is a dynamic and enterprising leader who has played a pivotal role in shaping the constitution of KPSA yet to be concluded. He led the team which advocated for equality in the education sector in Kenya.
Pioneers of Progress: As Kenya’s education sector undergoes a transformative journey, the role of association leaders in private and APBET schools remains pivotal. These leaders shape policies, advocate for quality education, and ensure that the interests of their member schools are skillfully represented. As private school directors make their choices in the upcoming elections, they will decisively impact the future of education in Kenya, fortifying its status as a cornerstone of national development.
About the Author: Dr. Paul K. Wanjohi is a seasoned expert in education. He serves as the Director of Sharp Education Centre and Junior School in Embakasi, Nairobi, where his profound expertise in education matters continues to positively influence the lives