By Kiptanui Rutto.
Future First Kenya has recently launched the first association of its own, Alumni Association of Kenya. This is part of a global movement to support the growth of alumni networks, focusing on public and community schools.
The mission for the association is to help strengthen public education systems by engaging former students as career role models, sports coaches, mentors and governors at their old schools. Its aim is to turn schools into communities in Kenya.
The event that was held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development(KICD) was graced by Cabinet Secretary for Education, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Irungu Houghton, representing Shule Yangu Alliance, Ann Waichinga- Associate Director Education, World Vision, Dominic Muasya a Country Director Kenya Education Fund among other dignitaries.
This unique launch is a call to actions for Kenyans to explore the role of alumni in strengthening the Public Education Systems by giving back to their former schools.
In his speech during the launch, the CS lauded the members for thinking differently by agreeing to come out and help the Education sector. He said we should take responsibility because the school is ours.
“You know, one thing we lack is responsibility, which is why we cannot manage even what God has bestowed us yet it is ours. It is our school, not their school. The school is ours, even for our nation, if we have strong responsibility, we could manage what we have because it is ours,” Dr. Matiang’i said.
The CS said with such responsibility, we will manage the schools and know the priorities over buying a bus worth millions when students are walking five kilometers to get water and sinking a borehole.
He said most parents visit the school just to have fun with their children instead of encouraging their children and working on strategies to improving the facilities of the school. The CS asked the alumni to be visiting the schools during visiting days and find out how the students are doing.
The CS lauded the team saying we will bring civic perspective to management of the schools that will enhance accountability, transparency and give room for dialogue on how we should run our institutions.
“You are an active team, young and energetic thus being responsible, we can now do the best. President Barrack Obama said we are the one we have been waiting; now we can do these things. Many waste their active years and when they are at 60s they demand positions yet they would do nothing much,” the CS said.
Matiang’i said so many people are ready to help but they lack mature, structural frame work of how the resources will be channeled. The CS said the challenge, however, is taking responsibility thus the entrance of First Future as one of the structures will be of great help.
“It is true that we have a solid and strong feeling of giving but many are challenged on how these resources will be used. What we are doing here today is taking responsibility as members of the society and with this, we will help in linking and managing the resources from our well-wishers and molding the future of our children,” he said.
He condemned the online users of not doing the real thing but just engaging in criticizing those who are trying to do something. He said when it comes to doing something, most people do minimal.
“We are in a country where we love talking much and doing nothing that is why we have a lot of planners, philosophers and economists on Facebook and Twitter but when it comes to actual things being done, they are nowhere to help,” Dr Matiang’i said.
Matiang’i said as public servants, it is their responsibility to serve the citizens and they should be answerable to their questions. He said: “Education sector has missed responsible engagement for long, thus we have destroyed the sector by quarrelling with the unions. The media is asking questions on what other people said instead of tackling the real issues, the systems around the world.”
The CS challenge the Alumni to engage in discussing teacher-absenteem in schools, learning, and infrastructure and come out with solutions to it saying the Ministry is ready to work with them.
Country Director Kenya Education Fund, Dominic Muasya said they have mentored many children across the country through their organization which has over 20 years of collective experience working to promote education in Kenya.
During the event, Houghton Irungu, Alliance Boys alumni said they have been working with the National and County governments to secure schools’ lands citing Langata Primary case. He said we should build up integrity base in our schools because it is meant to nurture generations.
Kapsabet Boys High School Alumni President, Haron Sitienei challenged the participants on how they have help nurture the school. He said they have a strong bond as alumni that they have managed to erect a monument worth KSh5 million, build some new dormitories and have now given some of the old dormitories to Kapsabet Primary School, nurtured by the school.
Others who represented their schools include Karoti Girls in Kirinyaga, Kaaga Girls in Embu, and Alliance High School among others.