A SPEECH BY HON. WYCLIFFE AMBETSA OPARANYA, EGH, MP, MINISTER OF STATE FOR PLANNING, NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND VISION 2030, TO THE WESTERN PROVINCE BRANCH OF THE KENYA SECONDARY SCHOOLS HEADS ASSOCIATION, ON 25TH MAY, 2010 AT BONTANA HOTEL, NAKURU
Chairman, Western Kenya Brach of
Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association,
Organizing Committee of Annual General Meeting
of the Annual General Meeting,
Members of the Secondary School Heads Association
in Western Province,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to start by thanking the organizing committee of this conference for having requested me, through your secretary, Mr. Paul Wasike Muhula, to come here this morning in order to speak to you on the subject of the role that secondary education is expected to play in the realization of the Kenya Vision 2030. I notice that the theme for this yearâ€™s Western Province Branch of the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association is â€œEducation for Kenya Vision 2030â€.
As the current Minister for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, I am immensely pleased to see the interest in which teachers in our country have shown in understanding the Kenya Vision 2030, and the role they are expected to play in it. For me personally and for the public servants in the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, the Vision is the overall guide to economic and social development in our country as we implement development projects all over the republic that will transform Kenya into a middle-income rapidly industrializing country by 2030. I am therefore happy to see the interest, which teachers have shown in the Kenya Vision 2030. I know all to well that if our teachers understand Vision 2030, they will transmit the information to the students they teach. In other words, they will teach our youth of the future that is in store for them. The youth will after all be the leaders, investors, farmers, and business owners of the future. In a sense the Vision 2030 is their plan. I believe therefore that we as the Ministry of Planning and educators like you have a strategic partnership in making Vision 2030 better understood and appreciated. An important meeting like this one provides us with a forum that we can use to strengthen the partnership that I have referred to.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Before I proceed to the role that secondary school education is expected to play in the Kenya Vision 2030, I would like to point out some of the features of the economic and social landscape of Western Province that our planning process has taken into account as we plan the Vision 2030. This is necessary in order to put our discussion of education under the Vision 2030 in perspective.
According to the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey, which was published by the ministry in 2007, there were an estimated 754,875 households (i.e., families that live together) in Western Province in 2006. The average household size was estimated at 5.7 individuals; that is roughly 6 people counting adults and children in each family. The survey also established that 96percent of the youths aged 6-7years in Western Province have been educated to some degree or another. Some 82percent of those aged over 15years could read and write. Taking the population in the region as a whole, 90percent have been to school. In other words illiteracy in this region was on its way out. Like in most of Kenya, the population is predominantly young. We are therefore planning for a population that will be mostly young and educated. Please note that I am referring to the 2006 household budget survey not the 2009 census whose results has not yet been released.
Coming to education sector, the number of children enrolled for primary education in Western Province was estimated at 1.3million in 2008. As a result of tuition-free secondary education which the government of Kenya initiated in 2008, we now estimate that over 60percent of those coming out of primary schools in Western Province can now proceed to secondary schools. The number of students enrolled in secondary schools was estimated at 183,000 in 2008. This is an unprecedented high school enrolment in the region, and it is the young and dynamic section of the population, that the people of Kenya and their government have entrusted to your care as heads of secondary schools. And it is no mean responsibility. Under the Vision 2030, we expect to obtain future teachers, scientists, engineers, company executives, doctors, lawyers, accountants, economists, nurses, surveyors, and professorsâ€”among other professionsâ€”from the young people entrusted to your care today.
As you can see from these figures, it is clear that we in Kenya have invested heavily in our youth, particularly in education. Our problem now is to make sure that there are sufficient employment opportunities for the youth as they come out of our secondary schools, colleges, vocational schools and universities. We all know that unless our young people are gainfully employed and given hope for the future, we shall be treading on very dangerous ground. We all saw the risk of that in the post-election violence of 2008, something we never ever want to see again in this beautiful country. This is where the Vision 2030 comes in.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Kenya Vision 2030 is Kenyaâ€™s long-term development blueprint that will provide the solution to the problems our country faces today particularly among the youth. The Vision 2030 aims to transform Kenya into â€œa middle income country offering its citizens a high quality of life in a safe and secure environmentâ€. Our country will then be at a level similar to that of the East Asian â€œTigersâ€ like Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. If we fulfill this dream, then most able-bodied Kenya and educated Kenyans looking for a job should be able to find one. This is not idle speculation. In Malaysia, the unemployment rate in 2008 was 2.3percent. This means that 97.7 percent of those coming into the job market from schools and colleges, or those who have been laid off, can expect to get a job. Considering that Malaysia began its path to rapid industrialization around 1980 this shows us that if we implement the Vision 2030 seriously we can deal with our youth unemployment problem and in addition tackle poverty, and improve access to medical care, clean water, improved housing, sanitation and adequate nutrition.
Vision 2030 is erected on three pillars as follows:
- The Economic Pillar aims at a rapid growth rate averaging 10percent annually, driven by flagship projects all over the republic. These projects will be in key sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, wholesale and retail trade, business processes off-shoring, and the financial sector. Not only will these projects change the economic face of Kenya, but they have been selected on the basis of their ability to provide gainful employment to our people.
- The Social Pillar of Vision 2030 aims at â€œinvesting in the people of Kenyaâ€ through high quality education and training, water and sanitation, housing, social equity, better care of the environment, poverty reduction, gender equity and support for vulnerable groups in society such as the physically handicapped.
- The Political Pillarâ€™s main aim is â€œto move Kenya forward as one nationâ€. This will be done through an issue-based politics rather than ethnic one, an all-inclusive constitution, new national values and ethics, accountability, transparency and public participation in government.
In addition to the three pillars, the Vision 2030 contains a list of â€œenablersâ€™ which will enable the projects contained in the three pillars to be accomplished. These include security, economic and political stability, infrastructure, energy, science and technology, land reform, and improved corruption-free public service. I am sure you have come across some of these projects at one point or another. i.e., better roads, construction of airports, rural electrification, water and sanitation projects etc. The Kenya Government is committed to improve infrastructure countrywide in order to give all its citizens equal access to local and international markets. Examples include the proposed port in Lamu and transport corridor from Lamu to Lockichogio and Ethiopia; the rapid standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Malaba; the Kisumu International Airport, and a Western Kenya tourist circuit, to name but a few.
Ladies and Gentlemen: I now come to the role of education under Vision 2030. I have already touched on this when I described the size of the student population you all serve and how it is changing, and the need to create employment opportunities for our predominantly young and well-educated population. Education is the top priority of the Kenya government in social sector of the Vision 2030. Already, we in Kenya are allocating more funds to education out of the national budget than to any other sector. The result is the high enrolment figures I spoke about earlier. But we also realize this achievement has raised other challenges such as the need for more teachers, more and better teaching equipment, more in-service training, and buildings.
I want now to proceed to the specific activities in the education sector under Vision 2030.
- To start with the Vision 2030 recognizes that education is key to solving problems in other sectors such as health (by teaching preventive behavior); sanitation; teaching better care of environment; and providing skills to our youth.
- Given the key drivers of the economy mentioned earlier, our education system is expected to provide the trained skills of the highest standards that will staff these sectors. For that reason the bias of education will move towards more science and technology-based courses. For example, Kenya aims to train over 30,000 professional in tourism and to increase training in information and communications technology. Science and Technology will be an integral part of all school training. In addition, each secondary school is to be provided with modern science laboratories.
- The Vision 2030 aims at achieving gender parity in secondary enrolment and to achieve better regional distribution of schooling opportunities. It also aims to increase transition rates to secondary education to 70 percentâ€”as we have seen we are already making progress to that figure.
- Training of teachers will be accelerated in order to lower the burden teachers now face by lowering the student/teacher ratio.
- The Government of Kenya will build 560 new secondary schools countrywide. Among these will be â€œmodel schoolsâ€ in each constituency which have already received funding under the â€œEconomic Stimulus Packageâ€ of the 2009/2010 budget. These schools are expected to raise performance standards in each of our constituencies.
- To inculcate early interest in information and communications technology new funding has been set aside for mobile ICT buses. The Government is aware that this project has faced some teething problems, but is determined to solve them in time for the implementation of the 2010/11 budget.
- The Government will build more boarding schools to serve the pastoral communities.
- Open more public institutions to provide Technical, Industrial, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (also known as TIVET) at post-secondary level. The transition from secondary school to universities is expected to rise from 3 percent in 2007 to 8 per cent in 2012 and 15 percent by 2030. Secondary schools have an important role to play in providing adequate inputs to these post-secondary institutions.
In concluding this speech I would once again like to refer to the important role, which the nation has entrusted you with by appointing you as heads of secondary schools in Western Province and elsewhere. We all know today that nations, which advance the fastest, are those, which train human resources to compete globally, not those with a lot of natural resources like oil, land and minerals. Japan, for example, has the second biggest economy in the worldâ€”after the United States of America. But Japan has no oil or much farmland, or natural resources in abundance as many developing countries do. What Japan and the East Asian countries that I referred to did was to recognize that human resource investment is the most effective investments compared to the others. By teaching our youth the skills based on science and technology, and by innovation, Kenya will also develop to become an international player and her citizens will increase their wealth as a result.
I want to conclude my remarks by wishing you all successful deliberations in your conference. Kenya looks forward to the contribution that you will all make to train our youth so that they will play a role in achieving the Kenya Vision 2030.
God bless you all and thank you for listening to me.