UON VC urges Parliament and Education Ministry to support education reforms

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama

The Vice Chancellor (VC) of University of Nairobi (UON) Prof. Stephen Gitahi Kiama has urged Parliament and the Ministry of Education to collaborate in giving legal backing to comprehensive educational reforms in Kenya.

He said that these reforms, crafted through the efforts of Kenyan citizens and experts via the Presidential Working Party on Education (PWPE), are essential for the advancement of the education sector.

Prof. Kiama further emphasized that parliamentary discussions should not be misconstrued as a rejection of the proposed reforms.

He noted that their role is to enshrine these changes into the constitution and the nation’s laws.

As a participant in the PWPE, the VC advocated for continuous engagement between Parliament and the government to ensure that policy adjustments align seamlessly with existing laws, facilitating their effective implementation.

Additionally, he praised some of the suggested reforms as progressive, particularly those aimed at eliminating the practice of classifying Kenyan children as academic successes or failures based solely on their performance in specific subjects, a practice perpetuated by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC).

Under the proposed reforms, this out-dated grading system would be replaced, ensuring that Kenyan students are not unjustly labelled as failures due to their performance in science-based subjects.

Prof. Kiama expressed concern about the psychological toll this labelling took on young learners, highlighting the importance of grading systems that recognize diverse academic, practical, and social qualifications.

He also noted that many students previously classified as failures ultimately succeeded both academically and non-academically, even after being rejected by local universities.

The VC further stressed the need to encourage excellence across all disciplines, rather than favouring students solely based on their proficiency in science subjects, as Kenya requires both scientists and administrators in equal measure.

Despite occasional institutional challenges, he affirmed the University of Nairobi’s steadfast commitment to its core mission of promoting education.

By Robert Nyagah

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