By Khamah Nene
As a sequel to “answering my critics”, leading Kisumu county gubernatorial candidate Dr. Asaka Nyangara, expounds on his informal learning revolution blue print which will ensure entire Kisumu County becomes illiteracy free.
Below is the excerpt of his blue-print, enjoy the unputdownable read..
REPACKAGING “ELIMU YA GUMBARU”
The People’s Governor
I was recently at Ojola Market in Kisumu West sub-county to meet the people and to discuss issues that affect our county. During the meeting, a brilliant lady by the name Gertrude asked me what I intend to do to ensure that adults, out-of school youths, disabled and adolescents with no formal education can obtain some informal education so that they can read and write and be knowledgeable.
We discussed Non-formal education (Elimu ya Gumbaru) that was previously under the Ministry of Social and Cultural Affairs, but was moved under the Ministry of Labor and Human Resource Development. We also realized that there are other nongovernmental agencies (NGO) that serve as non-formal education resources, such as the Ministry of Culture and Social Services, which was created to provide services to help eliminate illiteracy among Kenyan adults.
Gertrude’s point made me to undertake more research on “Gumbaru”. The summarized outcome of my research highlighted that the people of Kisumu lost interest or trust in “Gumbaru” for several reasons: Main reason is that informal education (Gumbaru) is not easily accessible for the people of Kisumu County and it does not take into account diversified needs of the residents, desired flexibility and weak link to formal education. As the People’s Governor, I have developed some thought provoking ideas to repackage “Gumbaru” and make it beneficial and practical to Gertrude and other people in Kisumu County. The repackaging can be attained through a paradigm shift from the current “Gumbaru” and move towards Alternative Learning System (ALS) with diversified programs that reflect the needs of our people and that can work in our County.
Alternative Learning System (ALS): What is it?
The Alternative Learning System (ALS) is a free education program that can be implemented under the Kisumu County Bureau of Alternative Learning System, with overall supervision by the Ministry of Education (MoE). The Kisumu County Bureau of Alternative Learning System will be created through legal legislation in the County Assembly.
ALS will benefit those who cannot afford formal schooling and follows whatever is their available schedule. The program will provide a viable alternative to the existing formal education instruction, encompassing both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills. This system will target drop-outs in primary and secondary schools, out-of-school youths, parents, disabled and even the elderly.
Why is Alternative Learning System important in Kisumu County?
Many Kisumu residents do not have a chance to attend and finish formal basic education due to many reasons, notably lack of funds, access to formal schools, repugnant traditions not favorable to females and or poverty. Since every County resident has a right to basic education, the County will establish ALS to provide the residents the chance to access to and complete basic education in a manner that fits individual needs.
What is the basis of ALS in Kisumu County?
The Kenya Constitution provides for the recognition and promotion of other forms of education (eg Gumbaru) other than formal education in Kenya. And during the fifteenth anniversary of Kenya’s independence in 1978, President Daniel Arap Moi decreed that a national program be launched to eradicate illiteracy. The Department of Adult Education in the Ministry of Culture and Social Services was then established to spearhead the promotion of literacy and adult education.
How will ALS work in Kisumu County?
We can implement ALS in two forms under the Ministry of Education but directly through a newly established bureau in the County called the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS). One form is the basic Literacy Program and the other is the Continuing Education Program- Accreditation and Equivalency (A& E). The Basic Literacy Program (BLP) is a program aimed at eradicating illiteracy among out-of-schools youth and adults (in extreme cases school-aged children) by developing basic literacy skills of reading, writing and numeracy.
The Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program is a program aimed at providing an alternative pathway of learning for out-of-school children, youth and adults who are basically literate but who have not completed the requirements of basic education mandated by the Ministry of Education. Through this program, school dropouts are able to complete elementary and high school education outside the formal school system.Both programs are modular and flexible and can take place anytime and anyplace, depending on the convenience and availability of the learners.
Private non-government organization may deliver the program but still under the supervision of the BALS and Ministry of Education.
What is the difference between the Formal Education System and the Alternative Learning System non-formal education?
Formal Education system is classroom-based, managed by trained formal school teachers.
ALS Non-formal Education happens outside the classroom, community-based, usually conducted at community learning centers, village multipurpose halls (if they exist), libraries or at home, managed by ALS learning facilitators, such as mobile teachers, ward ALS Coordinators, instructional managers at an agreed schedule and venue between the learners and facilitators.
What are the type of programs that can be implemented in Kisumu County?
- Program for Hearing Impairment: Alternative Learning System for Differently- Abled Persons (ALS-DAP)
The Alternative Learning System for Differently-Abled Persons (ALS-DAP) is a project which aims to deliver Basic Literacy Program to the special/differently-abled children/Out-of-school Youths/adults, e.g., hearing impaired learners who have not availed of/have no access to the formal school system through specialized approaches, e.g., sign language.
- Program for Adolescents: Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH)
The Adolescent Reproductive Health is a project for out-of-school adolescents ages 9-24 years old. It is a life skills-based education program for adolescents who are in high-risky behavior, sex-related or non-sex related behavior.
- Program For Parents: Parent Education
The Parent Education is an informal education which is a life skills short-term course that addresses the special needs and interests of the parents to promote pride in their work and ownership of their responsibilities as members of the family and their community.
- Program for Poor Families: Family Basic Literacy Program (FBLP)
This is a literacy service learning intervention utilizing literate family members to help non-literate members upgrade their literacy skills and improve the educational opportunities of poor families in the depressed, deprived and undeserved (DDU) areas.
- Radio-Based Instruction (RBI)
The Radio-Based Instruction (RBI) Program is an alternative learning delivery mode using radio broadcast to deliver the ALS programs. As a form of distance learning, it is able to expand access to education by bringing it to where the learners are. It aims to provide learning opportunities to listeners and enable them to acquire equivalency in basic education through the broadcast of lessons.
- Program for Disadvantaged Children: Informal Education for Disadvantaged Children
This program will focus on packaging of short-term educational activity that addresses the special needs and interests of the street and working children. It intends to use life skills active learning approaches/strategies aimed at developing/enhancing social, civic, aesthetic, cultural, recreational physical and personal development. The learning materials/packages may be developed/adopted/adapted or gathered from other sources and tailored-fit to the identified needs of the said users.
Funding needed for Alternative Learning System
The County Government will allocate resources in its budget for ALS. Additionally, the County Government will lobby and advocate the Ministry of Education, the national Government, private sector and other donors to fund the activities for the ALS.
Empires of the future must be empires of the mind.
The People’s Governor