By: Mukurima X Muriuki
William Ruto gave a very inspiring speech after being sworn in as deputy president. It came from the heart of his hearts. I was moved and I felt the moment marking the beginning of a different country Kenya, a country that will be in no time be the envy of the world. One challenge Mr. Deputy president put on the table is why for instance Malaysia attracts more tourists than Kenya yet we have the best the world has to offer when it comes to tourism.
In the same spirit of challenging the systems that exist and in the belief that we can be the best, I want to pose why we cannot be better in education than Finland. If we want to compete with the rest of the world and set the stage for real development we must nurture an education that will be beneficial to our children. Why does Finland excel?
It is no public secret that Finnish pupils, every year, score the highest average results in science and reading in the whole of the developed world. This is in part because the Finnish philosophy with education is that everyone has something to contribute and those who struggle in certain subjects should not be left behind.
Needless to say, children in Finland only start main school at age seven. The idea is that before then they learn best when they’re playing and by the time they finally get to school they are keen to start learning. Parents do not compete on whose child scored what in school. As my friend X.N Iraki likes to put it, “education is not used as a basis to scare neighbors”
Importantly to note that the Finland system has recognized the importance of well remunerated teachers. Teaching must be made prestigious. Finland has managed to do so and in fact, teachers are highly valued and teaching standards are high. We can do this by also making sure teachers sign performance contracts and any pay increments pegged on their output.
Finally, Finland’s system success is built on the idea of less can be more. There is an emphasis on relaxed schools, free from political prescriptions.
The future of every country is on education. If we are able to get students who will excel in maths and science, then we can have the foundation that will produce the next inventors of products that will change the world. Let us engage in the debate on how to make our education better.
Check Mukurima’s other opinion pieces at mukurima.blogspot.com