According to my Secondary School physics teacher, when water is flowing through a pipe at a high velocity and you subsequently reduce the radius of the pipe on the exit end, you will end up increasing the pressure of the water which might end up bursting the pipe. My biology teacher also taught me that when you eat foods that are full of cholesterol, your blood vessels will be clogged, hence increasing the blood pressure. This is sadly what our government is doing in our education sector by stoically increasing University fees which will end up reducing the enrolled figures.
Before you start wondering how the mentioned variables are correlated, let me give you a brief history of our education system and its corresponding figures. On January 6th 2003, Primary education was made free by former president Kibaki and all that was required, was for every child regardless of age to walk to a school next to where they live. From then on, the child was to fully participate in school until completing the cycle. The outcome of this free primary education was the increase in enrolments from 5.8 million children in December 2002 to 7.2 million in May 2003; this was a 24% increase in enrollment. This is according to an NGO by the name; Network for international policies and cooperation in education and training.
As a result of the free primary education, the ripple effect was felt in Secondary School enrollment in 2010 and other subsequent years. The primary to Secondary School transition rate hit an all time high of 72% by 2010. The actual transition rate to secondary education was usually as low as 45% in the years preceding 2010. When the government later on subsidized Secondary education, the transition rate even soared higher.
These increased transition rates ultimately spilled over to the Tertiary education level. Despite the government strongly regulating the setting up of new universities and colleges as well as expanding the existing ones to ensure that Kenyans get higher education and training acceptable anywhere in the world, the transition rates from secondary to university level stood at only 7% nonetheless. This is according to a report given by UNESCO in 2012.
From this brief history, we have been able to witness how the velocity of enrollment and transition has been increasing from one level of education to the other. The transition rate is lowest at the university level. If we can draw an analogy between this education system and a water pipe, we can decipher that this education pipe has water that is flowing at a very high rate. Towards the exit (University level), the radius is slowly constricting because of the low transition rate.
The rule of thumb dictates that for the government to avert a looming crisis in this sector, it needs to come up with policies and measures that will catalyze the Secondary-University transition rate. By doing this, it will be widening the radius of the pipe, hence reducing the pressure in the pipe. On the contrary, the Commission of University Education (CUE) indicated earlier this month that fees will be increased as from September 2014 for the new academic year. As if the students had not been given enough shock by the news, HELB came hot on the heels of CUE with news of planning to slash the maximum loan given to a university student to KES 35,000 from KES 60,000 due to shortage of funds. The students said enough was enough, and decided to use the best means that will shake this stoic government from its nonchalant state. That is demonstration.
So my main question is; why should the government make Primary and Secondary School education achievable to many Kenyan students and put University education way out of reach of many deserving students? If this trend is sustained, then higher education will be a preserve for the rich, hence capitalism will be entrenched further in our beloved country. We understand that the cost of living has gone up, so if University fees has to be hiked, then common logic should prevail by HELB subsequently increasing their loans to students. This will help ease the pressure from the large transition figures that are staring at us.