Educational reforms have been made from time to time since independence in Kenya. These reforms have been effected through commissions of education in the context of the country. Among education commissions that have steered reforms in Kenya are the Kenya Education Commission, the National Commission on Education Objectives and Policy, the Presidential Working Party on the Second University, the Commission of Inquiry into the Educational System of Kenya, and the Taskforce on the Realignment of the Sector to the New System. The main challenges facing the education sector have been issues of access, equity, quality, relevance, availability of educational resources, and efficiency in managing them. Moreover, the education system has been blamed for some of the challenges in the education sector, necessitating system change from the 8+4+4 to the 2+6+3+3+3 system. Challenges facing education reforms include inconsistency in carrying out reforms fueled by lack of a guiding philosophical framework, a top-down decision-making process, limited backing for inclusive education in policy, and curriculum-based challenges. Going forward, a bottom-up approach to education reforms, an evidence-based decision-making for reforms in education, and an implementation of inclusive education may play a significant role in reforming the education system.
Martin Mwongela Kavua
Zanzibar is a semiautonomous archipelago in the Indian Ocean along the East African coast. It gained independence in 1963 from the British. After the Zanzibar Revolution in January 1964, it united with Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania in April 1964. The Government of Zanzibar has its own executive branch led by the president of Zanzibar, legislative body (called the House of Representatives), and judicial system. The national framework for the education sector is informed by legislations, policies, and plans such as Zanzibar Vision 2020, the Zanzibar Strategy for Economic and Social Transformation, the Zanzibar Education Development Plan II, Education Act No. 6 of 1982 (amended in 1993), Children’s Act No. 6 of 2011, the Spinster and Single Parent Children Protection Act No. 4 of 2005, the Local Government Authority Act No. 7 of 2014, the Zanzibar Vocational Education and Training Policy, and the Zanzibar Education Policy. The mission of the 2006 Zanzibar Education Policy is to strive for equitable access, quality education for all, and promotion of lifelong learning. This mission is consistent with the global Education 2030 Agenda as elaborated in United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4. Responding to reforms in both local and global education-related goals and plans, Zanzibar introduced reforms to address areas such as (a) the structure of the formal education; (b) the language of instruction; (c) the entry age; (d) curriculum; (e) inclusive education and learners with special educational needs; (f) alternative education; (g) decentralization; (h) school inspection; (i) married students, pregnant girls, and young mothers; and (j) education financing. Other measures to reform the education sector were announced by the Zanzibar president on the anniversary of the country’s revolution in 2015 and 2017. Many of these reforms are in effect, and plans for decentralization, education financing, and school inspection reforms are not yet in full operation. Some of the reforms promise positive results, such as an increase of enrollment in preprimary and primary schools, due in part to the removal of the voluntary financial contribution. Introduction of inclusive education has contributed to increasing community awareness of the right to an education for all without regard to gender, (dis)ability, or socioeconomic status. Likewise, some pregnant girls resume studies after delivery. However, there have been challenges in the implementation of some of the reforms, including the change in the language of instruction from Kiswahili to English for some subjects at the primary level. Though the actual implementation of the reforms on decentralization and education financing is yet to come into effect, there are potential risks that might negatively impact quality, equity, and inclusion. The risks include the lack of clarity of the responsibilities and functions of each actor, insufficient resources to meet the actual needs of schools, and limited capacity at the local level for the commitment to inclusive education.
It is evident that in many educational systems there has been a partial dissolution of the traditional single school model towards more flexible modes of organizational link-up, taking the form of increased collaboration among schools. The early 21st-century climate of rapid technological change creates a need for collective knowledge creation and information sharing at classroom, school, and system level. Different forms of networks, collaboratives, and federations have become an established part of many educational landscapes and have arisen for a number of reasons. Some have been “imposed” on schools, others have been “incentivized” by the offer of external funding, but many have arisen because of the efforts of educational leaders who want to “make a difference” in their locality, which assumes their essential “good.” Within education, networks are regarded as one of the most promising levers for large-scale reform due to their potential to re-culture both the environment and the system in which policy-makers operate through increased cooperation, interconnectedness, and multi-agency. School networks contribute to capacity-building across the education service through the production of multiple solutions for potential, multifaceted, and intractable problems. Networks foster innovation, providing a test bed for new ideas while offering a platform for gradual innovation, distributing the risks and the workloads among different schools. Moreover, they provide capacity-building, reflective practice, and an inquiry frame of mind besides raising achievement and enhancing student outcomes through the sharing of resources and professional expertise. Networks enable schools to overcome their isolationism and move to form community relationships. Notwithstanding the benefits generated by collaboration, some of the ambiguities surrounding the setting up of school networks focus on: network purpose; collaborative inertia; collaboration and accountability; trust and relationships; conscription and volunteerism; identity and autonomy; competition and cooperation; lateral agency; and power inequality. There is no simple, single solution to leading networks, due to the very nature of a network making it difficult to define who its leaders are, resulting in leadership that is defined by activity rather than by formal position.
Barbara Pazey and Bertina Combes
The United States and other developed countries have acknowledged and supported the rights of students with disabilities to receive an appropriate education for decades. The role of the principal and school leader in overseeing educational programs and ensuring these entitlements become a reality for students with disabilities has taken center stage. Discussions related to principals and school leaders fulfilling the roles of leader and manager on behalf of students with disabilities linked the complementary disciplines of general and special education leadership. The leadership approach they adopted led to debates surrounding the concept of inclusion and the provision of an inclusive education on behalf of students with disabilities. Current definitions of inclusive education are typically linked to concepts of equity, social justice, and recognition of the student’s civil right to be granted full membership in all aspects of the educational enterprise. The processes involved in creating an inclusive school environment require principals and school leaders to examine the values and beliefs that influence their own thinking and behaviors before they can communicate a vision of inclusion. Principals and school leaders must be willing to act in concert with others to create the type of school culture that unanimously and positively responds to difference so every student can achieve full membership and feel welcomed and valued.