The Lasting Legacy Which Will Outlive CS Interior, DR. Fred Matiang'i



No doubt that Dr Matiang'i's assumption to the Education ministry at the height of exam malpractice in 2015 became a game-changer altogether in the education sector. 

The enthusiasm and goodwill he received from Kenyans of all walks of life are likened to the prevailing mood of independence in 1963. Independence because Kenyans had lost hope with the widespread exam malpractice. 

For the first time, Kenyans were elated with an apology over exam malpractice from a Cabinet Secretary. Something unheard of. 

Shortly after, he set the ball rolling in a bid to restore the industrial dispute that had pitied TSC and KNUT on one hand and KUPPET on the other hand. 

He prevailed upon TSC to pay teachers their salary, which had been withheld by the employer during the 36 days of industrial action. 

In a bid to ensure learners had access to textbooks, Dr Matiang'i ordered that the government will deliver textbooks to schools, to minimise misappropriation of textbook money. True to his word, in less than one year, books were delivered in schools. Today, the ratio of books to learners is 2:1. 

To realign, the curriculum, with the 21st skills, President Kenyatta entrusted Matiang'i to kick start curriculum review, from 8:4:4 to CBC. A brainchild he delicately delivered. In less than 4 weeks the pioneer CBC class will be in grade 5. 

The higher education was not spared. He kickstarted a review of graduate studies where Masters and Doctoral students were required to publish at least 2 journals in a refereed journal before graduating in a bid to increase their competitiveness in the global economy. Roadside campuses and kiosk-like satellite campuses that did not meet the required standards set by Commission for University Education closed shop. 

On TVET, he pioneered the expansion of middle-level colleges to train the youth on hands-on skills. By the time he left Jogoo House, the number of TVET candidates had risen to over 300,000.

 Moreover, the parents had been extorted so much by school principals, with their tendency of setting school fees arbitrary. Cannot imagine that some secondary schools were paying school fees equivalent to the university fees of a self-sponsored candidate- over ksh120,000 per academic calendar. Dr Matiang'i reigned on these principles, by setting fees for all public schools. Dr Matiangi reduced to ksh 54,000 for national schools, Ksh 43,000 for County & Extra county & ksh 22,000 for Day Schools fully paid by the government. With this policy in place, he received accolades from all Kenyans for protecting Kenyan parents from extortionist principals.

The epitome of his legacy was the dismantling of KNEC cartels that had been at the forefront with the leaking of national exams. He came up with reforms on how to administer the exams, evaluate and give feedback to Kenyans in a record time of 3 weeks. Something unheard, since exams used to take 3 months before being released. 

Additionally, on Exam fees, Dr Matiangi relieved parents from paying exam fees for candidates in both private and public primary schools from 2017, a move that was and is highly lauded.

Most interesting is the form One Candidate selection. Fred Matiangi introduced a new schedule of Form One candidate selection which started a week after the release of the results. The candidates were also set to report to their respective schools on the second week of opening as opposed to earlier years where the exercise happened after 2 months.

The personnel that were involved in administering exams were paid their reimbursement in good. The examiners too were paid almost at the same time, the exam was released. All these gains have been rolled back by KNEC.

As we march towards, the next electoral cycle, the dye is cast. Do we want a paradigm shift or status quo! Dr Fred Matiang'i Is a true representation of the Paradigm shift