Students at Joyland Secondary School, Kisumu exploring maths concepts from Rachel using tablets.

Students at Joyland Secondary School, Kisumu exploring maths concepts from Rachel using tablets.

Almost three-quarters of the Kenyan population are persons under the age of 30. A large number of young people (including children) are in their school going age meaning that they will be falling in the 18-35 age brackets in the next few years. Some of them will be entrepreneurs and others will be seeking employment opportunities just like the situation is today. What kind of education or skills will they be having while entering the job market? Will they have been equipped with the necessary skills that can accelerate entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity or even employability?

There is a need for a radical shift in the way we approach learning right from primary to the tertiary levels. A keen focus on Mathematics and Science disciplines which provide an avenue for creativity and innovation not only in these disciplines but also in the social sciences. According to a report by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, good mathematical literacy skills are essential for individuals to fulfill their potential, which in turn benefits the larger economy through innovations, entrepreneurship, being employable among other drivers of economic growth.

Thus there is a need to change the way mathematics and sciences are taught in Kenyan schools. This is because mathematics and sciences fall in line with the future of the Kenyan economy. With a growing ICT sector, a myriad of skills related to math and sciences are needed. This is the same for the agricultural, manufacturing, service sectors (including entrepreneurship) which are projected to contribute significantly towards the Kenyan economy.

This can be done through the integration of new methods of teaching and promoting practical ways of tackling mathematical or scientific problems.  What this means is that mathematics and sciences should be taught in a perspective that fosters and imparts development ideas among young people. Methods such as gamification , introduction to basics of computer programming and the adoption of technology in education. This will in turn end up boosting the creativity, improve performance and thus higher enrollment in tertiary institutions and later on fulfill the growing demand of math and science related economic sectors which are the future of Kenya.

As the government embarks on its ambitious digital learning program, it should consider introducing these practical aspects of science and mathematics in the curriculum. Ongoing projects by organizations such as African Math Initiative which is combining the above elements and promoting mathematical literacy through the simple use of tablets have proved successful and thus if scaled up they can go a long way in boosting future opportunities for creating employment.

In conclusion ignoring human capital development through this method will lead us to the same challenges we have since less skills means less choices and chances in all sectors.


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