Balancing Basic and Post-Basic Education; Quantity, Quality and Inequality; Service Provision and Productive Capacity; in Securing Poverty Reduction and Growth in Kenya.
The title deliberately presents a series of apparent trade-offs since they capture some of the policy complexity facing countries such as Kenya which aspire to use education and training strategically to assist in their national development strategies. This complexity is increased when national policy priorities are increasingly entangled with and influenced by those of particular development partners in Kenya, as well as by the changing consensus at the level of what can be termed the international development agenda.
The term 'apparent trade-offs' is used advisedly to underline the historical tendency in the discourse of international agencies to adopt priorities that suggest that policy choices need to be made between competing options. Thus, for the 15 years since Jomtien, there has been something of a trade-off in some agencies between basic and what has come to be called post-basic education. Indeed the very phrase, post-basic education, is, arguably, a creation of development agencies, and suggests a rather artificial bi-polar educational world. Similarly, there has been a strong agency tendency, from at least the mid-1990s, to justify investment projects and programmes in terms of their alleged impacts on poverty reduction, and for this to be seen as some kind of development alternative to investing for growth. Equally, within education and training systems, there have again been tensions around the targeting of quantitative goals such as the education MDGs, as opposed to concerns with quality. In the process, there have been found to be powerful connections with the emergence of inequity, and not least in the rapid development of private alternatives to the massive expansion of under-funded public schooling. A last trade-off to be considered is that between the delivery of services such as health and education which are closely associated with the MDGs, on the one hand, and the elaboration of strategies which are aimed at production and increased employment.
This paper focuses on Kenya's recent policy history, against the longer background of 40 years of national policy development.
8th UKFIET Oxford Conference on Education and Development, Oxford, UK, 13-15 September 2005, 17 pp.