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
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.
Balancing Basic and Post-Basic Education; Quantity, Quality and Inequality; Service Provision and Productive Capacity; in Securing Poverty Reduction and Growth in Kenya.