Policies On Free Primary And Secondary Education In East Africa : Are Kenya And Tanzania On Course To Attain Education For All (EFA) Goals By 2015?
This paper provides a comparative perspective of two of the three East African Countries policies for expanding access to education, particularly with regard to equity and quality of basic education in Kenya and Tanzania. Against the background of the fast approaching deadline of 2015 for attaining Education for All (EFA), the paper provides a brief review of the policies in light of countries own stated goals alongside the broader international agendas set by the World Forum on EFA. It is concerned with two questions: What were the politics and underpinning philosophy surrounding the formulation of the policies in Kenya and Tanzania and have the policies changed over time, and if so why? What are the critical emerging challenges inhibiting the attainment of equity and quality of education in the two countries? The source of data for the paper was a combination of secondary data through desk literature review and primary data from studies conducted in some regions in the two countries, particularly in North Eastern Province of Kenya and Shinyanga Region in Tanzania. The major finding is that tremendous quantitative growth has occurred in access to primary and secondary education in the two countries. Nonetheless, education in these countries have been fraught with nearly similar unique multifarious and intertwined challenges of providing education, resulting in marked and severe regional and gender disparities in access to, and low quality of education. The two countries have put in place a series of educational interventions and drives including free primary education and subsidized secondary education, as well as bursaries for the poor needy learners that are yielding slow but positive progress towards the attainment of EFA goals. It is recommended that in order to attain EFA goals by 2015, these efforts should be accelerated and intensified with a view to reversing regional and gender disparities keeping in mind the fact that the deadline for the attainment of EFA goals is fast approaching and therefore making it urgent to translate the education policies into practice rather that the current rhetoric chimera.