There is so much to be done, yet we have done so little. If there is any sector that has suffered the perils of low self-esteem, education takes the medal unopposed.
That is why everything connected to it: students, teachers, graduates and schools continue to totter in the manner they do.
Must we accuse the leadership of lacking the insight to see the potential in the minds that Kenya has? If so, we must equally accuse ourselves for lacking the will power to prove them wrong.
Recently, the world was hit and disturbed at once by the words of Dr Thomas Lancaster, a higher education professional from the United Kingdom, specialising in Computer Science, academic integrity and contract cheating, when he submitted that no other country on the planet hosts the best brains as does Kenya.
When the whole planet marvels about something, who can doubt it? This question ought to be addressed to all the stakeholders in the realm of education sector without any reservations.
Let us address the libraries that we have, because other problems are too obvious to be mentioned especially in the interest of time and space.
When a Kenyan graduate settles down to generate a PhD thesis for an American, who subsequently graduates and is crowned the Doctor of Philosophy, something is definitely handsome about the background of that particular graduate.
It might be his teacher, school, intelligence and off course, his DNA. Surprisingly, this is a graduate from a constrained university with outdated textbooks and technology. Instead of writing books for ourselves, we wait for American and British authors to congest our library shelves in the name of donating to a developing country.
I acknowledge our inefficiencies as a country and as a population, but I refuse to accept that we must be treated as the handicapped.
Sometimes, Kenyans act as though they are faced with death. Our educational priorities are not informed by the desire to interrogate knowledge, but to avoid danger. It becomes so captivating when intellect takes over emotions and presides over decisions. Such a feeling gives a scholar the freedom of a sailor. Sadly, a Kenyan scholar is never a sailor in the ocean of knowledge.
We use outdated books handed to us, and when there’s anything wrong about them, we rather choose to be wrong than correct it. That explains perhaps, why anyone in the teaching career is simply a broken-hearted professional.
If it were not for the UK to cry about Kenyan graduates manufacturing degrees and doctorates for their students, we would not have trusted our mental strength.
Even though our environment does not work to our favour, we need not lose our self-esteem, particularly for a scholar.
When given a meagre salary after a decade of tarmacking, a teacher believes to have rescued himself from danger, rather than having gained power to generate knowledge. Universities that have never known what innovation means will nevertheless produce creative minds.
But the minds can only be as creative as their needs can demand. We don’t believe we can bring change but even if we do it is by accident, we still can’t see it until we are told by others, because we believe it is impossible.
If Dr Lancaster was to refer to Chinese youth as the hotbed of brains, Chinese would believe it. They would use it as an advantage to claim the title of the best education system in the world.
They would quickly upgrade their schools. Teaching profession would be exalted as one of the most lucrative. Teachers would take the lead as authors on the planet and would be respected. But it is sad how we know the truth but have failed to seize the opportunity. Something must be done. The writer is a Master of Education Student at Pwani University.