Data a necessary tool for planning

Data across the education industry is a big challenge since it curtails planning and thus a lot should be done to embrace culture of working with reliable data.

“Data holds a mirror of what should be done and I can tell you for sure that the government has enough resources for education but lack of accurate data becomes a challenge during allocation and planning and also aligning of the resources even at ministry level,” Education Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i has said.

The CS said that through the Educational Management Information System (EMIS) and working with ICT ministry, the creation of an accurate, reliable, relevant data will ensure effective planning in the education system right from ECD to University levels.

“We want to see whether right from nursery, a learner can be admitted with a number that will take them all the way to PhD levels using the same admission number as this will be easier data to monitor,” he said.

He said there was need to improve on the teaching of Science, Technology, English and Mathematics (STEM) subjects which comprised of only 22 percent of university intakes against 78 percent registered in arts and humanities.

“There is a development gap and we need to orient students into engaging in technical subject right from the secondary schools,” Matiang’i said

Matiang’i, who was speaking during the launch of engineering departments’ baseline survey by the Kenya Education Network (KENET) at a Nairobi hotel, said data collected from the survey showed there was need to improve on research.

“There is no way that out of the 12 universities that offer engineering courses to over 10, 343 students, only 35 go up to PhD level. Universities should not be undergraduate universities only”, he added.

He said that there was need for the Cabinet to pass the local content bill so that government would spend more resources in research projects in universities.

Matiang’i said that the local content legislative would give universities first opportunity to work together with government in research projects.

Giving the report on the baseline survey, Prof. Meoli Kashorda who was the principal investigator and project team leader said engineering departments were not well funded especially in terms of the recurrent budgets for teaching and labs.

He added that the departments were also receiving very limited research grants or budgets with research productivity engineering departments low with between 0.4 and 1.1 journal papers per faculty per year.

Prof. Karshoda said special scholarships for post graduate students and research grant for supervisors were necessary to increase the PhD holders throughout of engineering departments.

“The number of master’s graduates was a paltry 4.6 percent of the graduates level over a period of three years which is 195 masters graduates compared to 4, 258 graduates at undergraduate level. Only 35 PhD students enrolled in the Academic year of 2014/2015 showing transition rates to masters and PhD levels as very low,” he added.

Prof. Karshoda said the survey of engineering department has provided data that could be used by senior leadership of universities and funding agencies to support engineering departments as well as government in monitoring the implementation of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

Source: News Agency