By Japheth Ogila
Published August 6, 2014
As the East African Community (EAC)—comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi—fronts for a regional integration with a free flow of people, goods and services, it needs a harmonised education system to speed things up.
East African Business Council (EABC) that brings together the private sector and Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) that monitors higher education standards in the EAC bloc have pointed out that the lack of a standard education system is hampering the development of the region.
It goes without saying that education is the axle on which almost all sectors ride. Consequently, a uniform education system from pre-primary school to university levels would guarantee the eastern African bloc a common worldview and similar socio-economic policies that would make free transfer of labour from one country to another possible.
The EAC region would have a simple platform for remuneration of workers from a common academic system.
How about the easier transfer of accumulated academic credits for students who relocate from, say a university in Uganda to Kenya, or who wish to pursue post-graduate studies in a different country from which they got under-graduate qualification; wouldn’t a standardised curriculum come in handy?
Similar curriculum would also enable families to move across EAC partner states without the education of their children being disrupted. For instance, after one moves from Kisumu in Kenya to Entebbe in Uganda, one’s children would proceed with their education without being subjected to difficult interpretation of their academic standards.
But for there to be a standard education system, EAC countries would have to form a common examination regulation structure that will ensure that all learners across the region are examined under the same rules and curriculum.
Regional standard certification and accreditation bodies would also come in handy to ensure that exported labour within the region meets the required qualifications.
Another measure would be universally structured internship to give the region the much needed graduates with both theoretical and practical skills.
Ensuring that institutions of learning are well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities would help in averting the problem of churning out incompetent graduates. This could be realised through setting up a regional financial body that oversees the funding of such institutions and hires and pays qualified teachers and auxiliary staff.
Standard admission criteria, too, would be necessary so that the schools, middle-level colleges and universities operate along common standards.