Education Ministry is not a Urinary tract, Sensi!

Prof Magoha should know that Education is not his wife’s periods which stopped long before he started enjoying S

In the academic year 1980–81, I was the only student in the Historical and Comparative Linguistics class at the University of Nairobi. I was in Second Year and my teacher was Dr Martin Mould. He had specifically come to Kenya from the University of California Los Angeles to teach this course as well as Latin, which I took in third year – again as the only student.
My country considered these courses critical enough to justify paying a UCLA professor to teach one student. If either of us should be absent, the class would collapse. We ensured that the attendance was one hundred percent throughout. Needless to say, there was also 100 per cent pass in all examinations.

The same was true of the Sociolinguistics class in the same academic year. This time my teacher was Prof Mohamed Hassan Abdulazziz. He put me together with six Linguistics students who were then in Third Year. The rest of the students in my Second Year Linguistics class were only four.
I have never considered, even for a moment, that I took “a useless degree.” The smallness of a class does not make the degree useless. Nor do I consider that I have not been usefulto my country and to humankind because of my training.
I say these things because once again the new person at the very top of the education docket in Kenya is abusing our intelligence. An overly exuberant George Omore Magoha has arrived in Jogoo House B breathing fire and brimstone. He behaves like an inebriated wild elephant. Used to exercising power in timid and passive environments, he trundles up and down, spewing threats left, right and centre – spreading fear.
I served on the University of Nairobi Council in 2010 – 2013 when Prof Magoha was the VC. It did not escape my attention that spreading fear is his greatest management and leadership tool. He threatens to trample everyone and everything underfoot “because they are useless” while he “knows everything.” Newly arrived in Jogoo House, he has picked up the hackneyed script of “useless university degrees.”

Magoha’s yardstick for measuring the usefulness of degrees is the number of students taking any one course. In his estimation, therefore, my seven years at the University of Nairobi should be deemed useless, and my three certificates with them too. Good grief! You would expect a professor who has also served as VC of the foremost university in the region to know better. Higher learning is esoteric. The smaller the number of students is, the higher the quality of learning.

The teacher to student ratio in my Linguistics class was 1:1. In these days when people like Magoha have opened up the floodgates of education to all and sundry, you have classes where the ratio is 1:1000. This is preposterous. You cannot call this a university class. This is mass production. The university has been turned into a pork rolling mill. The focus is on income-generation just as in a pig factory. This is madness. Those who established the tradition of higher learning kept the classes lean and mean. They were the forges in which minds were honed and purified. Truly world-class universities still jealously protect the intake.
Magoha’s other beef with education is his philistine attitude towards the arts and social sciences. He says: “They are useless.” Once again, the Ministry of Education has the misfortune of being headed by an individual suffering from narcissist chronic academic xenophobia. Such persons operate in the narrow corridors of juvenile bravado that glorifies their disciplines over the rest. They remind you of the childish academic competition that is encouraged among kids in primary school.
I have learned that art has often demonstrated sufficient broadness of mind to recognise that it must travel hand in glove with science. Conversely, science students tend to oppress their brains in the suffocating narrow pigeonholes of specialised ignorance. Even among themselves, you will hear a physicist saying that physics is everything. For his part, the electrical engineer thinks that other branches of engineering are useless. They behave like lifeless machines that have been tuned-up to function in certain predictable ways.
How cold and boring could it get? A country whose education is headed by an academic xenophobe is in trouble. If you cannot see, or be moved by, the beauty and purity of the arts, you know nothing about the joy of living. You must be pitied. For, you do not know that societies that dither and perish do so not because they have not developed enough science, but because their humanness is underdeveloped. There is no inner beauty in the collective national soul. In the end, science is nothing without arts, and vice versa.
It is a pity that we may have to teach abecedarian truths to the people in charge of education in Kenya. Significantly, we must ask, when will we stop the experiments of trying to fit square pegs in round holes? Hasn’t Kenya produced enough educationists to head the Ministry of Education? What is an overbearing urologist doing in Jogoo House – traumatising our children and their teachers about things he is ill-equipped to address? The education system is not a urinary tract. President Uhuru, please send Magoha back to his laboratories and theatres and give us a Cabinet Secretary who understands the meaning of education.

(B M)

It’s true and quite sad when a person in charge of a whole education ministry mistakes the lack of job market for a particular course as it being useless. How does a whole professor even reason like that? Take for instance just because the market can’t absorb all engineering graduates, does that make it a useless course?

I graduated in 2011 when Maghoha was still in charge wakiwa na baby owino. When graduation was due we were told that our names were not on the system for graduation which by the way was fairly new to them and that we would graduate the following year! We taught them IT in one hour.

Prof. Magoha anatumia ubongo kama fertilizer ya nywele.

Let’s see how he will drive this vehicle.

Hapa alikanyaga live wire. But it’s important to have this discussion. I don’t think the tax payer should be sponsoring students for their tertiary education willy nilly. Studies should be conducted say every 5 years, determine the skills our country needs, then come up with a programme to ensure tax payers only shoulder the cost of tertiary education up to the point of our nation’s needs.
An example would be say they do a study that shows Kenya needs 20 meteorologists to be trained annually. Then they should sponsor only 20 students for that course and pick the 20 best among the applicants. Well if you still want to do this course but didn’t make the cut, you self sponsor
The way the system works now is broken, the tax payer is paying for people to be trained in skills that will not pay dividends on the investment.

Yes, I watched Magoha’s first talk as Minister for Education. He has an overbearing attitude, and a narrow minded view of what a university should offer. At least Matiangi is capable of thinking outside the urinary system, and gave some deep thought to his bulldozing policies in the Education docket

Professor Magoha looks and sounds like those high school bullies every Form 1 student hated to see. He is a mixture of Ruben Ndolo, Fred Gumo and this Meru thug called Kobia. I would be comfortable with Magoha as the bouncer in a village changaa establishment. I am not comfortable with him in higher education. He lacks the finesse of Matiangi.

People should relax,you can’t cherry pick a whole speech and choose what you want to hear alafu museme professor is wrong ,or a bully kumbuka matiangi in the middle of the school riots when over 100 schools were burnt ,nyangau s were saying oh uhuru should fire him ,sijui hajui kazi yake chieth , professor magoha may be strict but Fair .

This man will get that ministry moving in the right direction i do not care about the methods he will use all i want him to do is to get the job done. Change is not always welcome at first but give him some time, people will be saying Uhuru appointing professor Magoha as CS was the highlight of his presidency.

True but should the value of a university education be reduced to such a neoliberal logic? Why not then just do away with university education, whose purpose and value to society is supposed to be broader, and concentrate on diplomas and certificates.

I remember one time we were planning a strike pale UoN and as usual we demanded that the VC magoha comes and address us…well, he came but first asked who amongst us already had a degree…any degree…ofcourse we were all undergrads so we had non…and that’s how the good professor dismissed us…according to him we were too illiterate to have any meaningful discussion with him.

My old man is a huge supporter of his as he is an old boy like the good professor. I am a huge admirer of his leadership style although it can be overbearing but that is the only way to get things done in this country.

Diversity is the beauty of education.No knowledge gained, be it in the sciences or arts is useless.You can be well versed in any, but if you lack the creativity and open mindedness to apply what you have learned, the problem is yours.There are people with art degrees doing better than those with science degrees and vice versa.Kama akili unaezatumia darasani pekee, then ole wako.

His method of management is better suited for a headmaster, principal or VC. Highly learned know it all attitude, he has to come down off his high horse and reason with others.

I beg to differ on this line of thinking. Mainly because people dont have to work in what they study. I can study Architecture and work as a school teacher. Or I can train as a meteorologist and work as a communications officer. Or study Finance and work as a HR specialist. The government should sponsor many times over what is required. You add dynamism into your economy. The returns are much higher.

This makes sense, therefore include this to that formula, if you find the country needs 40 marine biologists annually, sponsor 100 and no more.
The reason I’m saying this is coz. all universities when opened the first courses they offer are B. Com, and something I.T. There may be about 10,000 tax payer sponsored B. Commers, I’m not sure there is value for money for the tax payer in that