By Thuothuo Anthony- Jamhuri News
Cabinet Secretary for education addressed Kenyans in Boston on Wednesday. The address was aimed at informing the diaspora community on progress and the current status of the education in Kenya.
The Cabinet secretary, who was the minister of ICT before being moved to education, assured Kenyans that his office is determined to provide the tools under education environment that support the strong, vibrant and innovative population, to ensure that Science Technology and Innovation (STI) is heeded, so as to boost Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the country, providing an opportunity for innovation to thrive.
‘’We are the hub of innovation, we are the cradle of M-Pesa across the world, if there’s a competition on innovation anywhere in the world, and there are Kenyans involved, you know the winners before the competition begins’’ Said Matiang’i.
Dr. Matiang’i urged the diaspora community to continue uniting Kenyans at home, in enlightening and encouraging them to be more demanding of leaders to be more accountable. ”Like in the case of school feeding programs, the problem has never been money, the problem is management, we don’t have a shortfall of resources. We have a shortfall of trust, truth, and honesty…those are the commodities that are in short supply.” Said Matiang’i
Kenya has heavily invested in education, making it the seventh country in the world in funding education based on the country’s GDP proportion. This has positioned the country at a better point of leverage, having the most educated population in the region.
Responding to a question on wage distribution and the current system of governance in the country, Secretary Matiang’i told the diaspora community that the country overlooked scientific judgment in previous years, resulting in current wage bill crisis. ‘’In 1980s, teachers were promised salaries for political reasons, not for scientific reasons…the union went on strike then, and the politicians didn’t bother whether the economy could afford that, they just promised whatever money the union asked. And that is where you notice that in our country we have a wage bill crisis that we’re trying to correct…thankfully, the constitution created the salaries and remuneration commission’’. He added
About fake degrees being used by politicians to access power, Matiang’i said the government should scrap the law requiring degrees for politicians.
”Hapa USA kuna requirement ya degree ya kuwa governor? Hakuna, unaweza kuwa wewe ni mtu anauza bar yake, na unataka kuwa governor….why don’t we remove the law in Kenya…..sasa wale ambao hawana wanaenda kuokota, wengine wanasema walipata Ph.D. ikiwa degree ya kwanza” Loosely translates to (Do you need a degree to become a governor in USA? You don’t…you could be a barman and become a governor, why don’t we remove the law in Kenya?)
Cases of Kenyan politicians forging university degrees have escalated in the recent past. On Thursday, Amherst College in Massachusetts, responded with confirmation that president Kenyatta was indeed one of its graduates in the class of 1985, after queries from Kenyans on twitter.
Matiangi said that with the government having signed the first ever CBA with teachers, the country will never again experience teachers’ strikes.
The government will by mid-May 2017, launch Education Information Management System, a modern technology that will assist in management and distribution of teachers around the country.
Addressing a specific group of Kenyans in the diaspora focused on starting a University in Kenya, Secretary Matiang’i said the doors are open, with the government having amended the universities act and commission for university education act, giving more autonomy and freedom to the commission for university education. ‘’The success of University education in Kenya can only be realized if we opened up doors and windows to private enterprises’’ Said Dr. Matiang’i.
Kenyans who attended the forum which was held at a local church, but in a townhall setting, praised secretary Matiang’i for reforms in the education sector, and asked him to disperse his concept across all sectors affected by impunity.