05th July 2022
THE REGIONAL EDUCATION LEARNING INITIATIVE (RELI) KENYA COUNTRY CONVENING
Education stakeholders are convening at the KCB Leadership Centre for the 5th Country Convention of the Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI), a collaborative network of over 70 organizations working on improving learning outcomes in East Africa. Over the last five years, this annual event has provided education stakeholders an opportunity to address educational priority issues by taking stock of progress, achievements, and successes as well as challenges for realizing access to equitable education for the children furthest left behind.
The theme this year is ‘RELI @5: Taking stock to inform the future of Education’. And for the next three days, delegates are set to review the contributions made by the network towards the improvement of education in Kenyan and East Africa, outline education sector priorities, chart the way forward and develop a strategy for the coming years.
The convening draws from a dynamic group of stakeholders including policymakers, civil society, and development partners. It aims to provide an opportunity to engage with one another, share knowledge and good practice, and explore trends and innovative approaches that can be implemented to develop sustainable and inclusive education systems.
The RELI Country convening will be structured around the following themes:
- Status of Education in Kenya drawing from Lessons learned in the past five years
- The status of realization of special needs education in Kenya? And why is it critical that it is prioritized?
- The status of education policy implementation in Kenya and the challenges still exist when it comes to implementation of education policies
- The status of Implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum and the looming crisis of double transition come 2023.
- The status of TVET in Kenya and its critical role to Youth development and well-being.
For the next three days, we will endeavor to answer the following 5 questions.
- What is the status of education in Kenya?
Every child has a right to a quality education, irrespective of the circumstances they are in, geographical location, gender, socio-economic status. This is also the premise upon which the Competency-based Curriculum is enshrined, aiming at ‘Nurturing Every Child’s Potential’. However, over the years, there are populations of children who have consistently been at the bottom of the pyramid. Many challenges continue to hinder universal access to education. For the next three days we will aim to collaboratively answer the following questions: what are these challenges? How do we collectively work together to address them for the future of our children?
- What is the role of the Kenyan child, parent and teacher and how do we amplify their voices?
The need for stakeholder engagement in education cannot be understated as we have to achieve the dream of universal and quality education for our children. We shall be looking to share insights on how the key stakeholders at the community level can get involved in education so that we not only strengthen collaboration but also enhance accountability for key actors at the very lowest level.
- What are the key concerns that currently exist?
With rapid and continuing youth population growth, it is necessary to expand opportunities in the education sector. However, with COVID-19, millions of children miss out on education, become vulnerable to early marriage, child labour, and violence, whereas 7.6 million girls are at risk of not returning to school; Kenya continues to experience boys’ underachievement, untrained teachers, and lack of policy implementation capacity.
The failures in KCPE and KCSE signify low quality of education, and the need to work more to improve learning. John Mugo, Executive Director of Zizi Afrique says: ‘We laud government efforts to employ more teachers, provide more books and monitor learning progress. However, still, less than half of children are learning at the right level, and this is worse in public primary schools. In places like Wajir, only a 10th of children in every class can solve problems of that level. Each of us can and must do something about this’.
Kenya has had a school re-entry policy for more than two decades now. However early pregnancy and motherhood rates have remained unchanged at 18%, putting girls at risk of dropping out of school. COVID-19 school related school closures potentially increased the risks of girls getting pregnant and may have exacerbated an already existing crisis. In 2020, the government of Kenya developed school re-entry guidelines to provide structured implementation of the school re-entry policy (2020). The guidelines provide a framework that allows all out of school children including pregnant and parenting girls, children with special needs and disabilities, married girls and children who are out of school for any reason to continue with their education and to return to school. Chi-Chi Undie of Population Council however notes, ‘The implementation of this policy remains weak in practice. We have a long way to go in facilitating the right to learning for all our girls’.
Regarding education of children with disabilities, the 2018-2022 National Education Sector Strategic Plan (NESSP) set to incorporate inclusive education as an overarching principle as opposed to special or segregated education. The government has opened special education units in over 3000 public primary schools. However, there are still infrastructural challenges, inadequate instructional materials and equipment necessary for the realization of a truly inclusive system.
- What solutions can we collectively formulate?
The convening takes stock of partner innovations that continue to address gaps and challenges that learners continue to face. Taking on a deep reflection of the COVID and Post-COVID days through thematic groups solutions and innovations presented at this point will be show cased. We welcome you all to join us and see what comes out in the next 3 days. Iron sharpens iron is our mantra as RELI as we continue to embrace the strong collaborative relations, we have established with key education stakeholders. The RELI
- And finally, what role does each stakeholder have to play in changing the narrative?
About the Regional Education Learning Initiative Africa (RELI Africa)
The RELI Africa network is a peer learning initiative and policy influencing network comprising 70 organisations in East Africa. The network brings together a diverse, energetic, and impactful group of members from across East Africa working to ensure inclusive learning for all children in East Africa. RELI works by leveraging local knowledge and expertise to influence education policy and practice. RELI members are among the best, committed local education organisations in the region, working tirelessly for the most vulnerable children.
The Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI) is a peer learning initiative and policy influencing network comprising 70 organisations in East Africa with a vision of ‘An East Africa where ALL children receive a quality education’. The network aims at realizing equitable, quality education for all East African children by leveraging local knowledge and expertise to influence education policy and practice.
Membership is by invitation and brings together a diverse, energetic and impactful group of members from across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. RELI members are among the best, committed local education organisations in the region, working tirelessly for the most vulnerable children.
RELI Kenya is part of the Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI) network that brings together over 70 Civil Society groups in East Africa working towards equitable learning for all children in East Africa. RELI-KE has a total of 28 members and its work is positioned on three pillars:
- Transforming organisations: RELI aspires to transform member organisations into high functioning vehicles of regional change for education. This is done through cultivating self-learning and peer to peer learning from shared experiences. Additionally, the network continuously builds the capacity of member organisations and encourages proactive collaboration for better impact.
- Knowledge hub: RELI continuously conducts research to generate evidence of what is working and what is not working and to monitor new developments in the field of education. The network has invested in a knowledge hub that synthesises information to inform its interventions and for policy influencing. With support from MEL mentors and strategic communications advisors, members develop papers, videos, and blogs to share with other RELI members and key actors in education. The knowledge management hub sets out to manage not only knowledge creation, storing and codification, but also knowledge sharing to enhance a learning culture among education focused organisations and policy makers in the east African region.
- Policy Engagement: Members draw on their collective experience to build strong relationships with peacher support, learning assessments, curriculum reforms and inclusion of excluded groups. As a large network, RELI is well poised to influence across a range of issues with collectively generated evidencolicy makers nationally and regionally. RELI members target a range of policy issues from accountability to the-based policy positions.
RELI works simultaneously at three levels – organisations, country-based thematic groups, and across a regional network. At organisational level, RELI members work with monitoring and evaluation specialists called “MEL mentors” to receive support to strengthen effectiveness of their programmes and leadership within education. This strengthens a culture of evidence generation and use to improve programmes.
At the thematic group level is where most of the activities in RELI are implemented along thematic areas under which members are affiliated. The thematic areas include:
- Learner Centred Teaching (LCT): This group explores strategies for enhancing the learning experience. This includes ideating ways of improving the instruction methods used by teachers to reach learners of different abilities while making learning interesting. LCT also collaborates with different stakeholders for a holistic learning approach.
- Equity and Inclusion: This thematic group looks at opportunities for enhancing equity and inclusion for all learners without discrimination. This is mainly achieved by creating evidence that informs advocacy work with different duty bearers.
- Values and Life skills: This group focuses on generating and sharing evidence and strengthening practices that support the acquisition of values and life skills in Kenya. It also looks at the role of values and life skills in the lives of learners for holistic development of the person. This involves coming up with ways of understanding, nurturing and assessing life skills acquisition and how they are being applied in the lives of the child. It works to support initiatives that support the integration of values and life skills in the education system and curriculum.
- Additionally, RELI makes use of Special Interest Groups (SIGS) anchored within thematic groups to address cross cutting issues across different thematic groups.
Nationally and regionally, RELI members also join as a policy influencing network and draw on their collective strengths and size to build relationships with policy makers and craft a policy influencing agenda.
RELI’s work is rooted in trust, mutual respect, rigor and joint ownership that led to the organic growth of RELI structures, governance, and core activities. RELI’s current country hosts are: Zizi Afrique (Kenya), HakiElimu (Tanzania) and the Luigi Giussani Institute of Higher Education (Uganda).
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