A spot check around the country portrays a nation whose appetite for knowledge is way above what many would consider normal. If it is not for early morning risers heading to school, with some as young as five year olds brazing the morning cold, then its older folks attending evening/weekend lectures. The scenario is akin to a race against time to accomplish one of the most treasured achievements accorded to the human person.
But of what good is all this sacrifice mentally, financially or otherwise without really scrutinizing the difference between learning and education in an increasingly competitive world? All of us are frequently bombarded with lots of information sometimes resulting in exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. In Kenya, pundits are in the final stages of implementing reforms in the education sector.
Let us get onto the definitions now! Or shouldn’t we?
Education is considered a process through which a society passes on the knowledge, values and skills from one generation to another. On the other hand, learning is a process of acquiring new skills, knowledge and values. Each of these two have great influences on our minds and character. The key distinguishing factor is that learning is a basic instinct possessed by all individuals while education is something that is acquired. In other words, education (received from an outside source) involves imparting knowledge, values, skills and attitudes while learning (develops in the inner self) is an ongoing process that involves the adoption the aforementioned tenets.
With this is mind, we can boldly state that the reforms taking place in our education system have to be alive to these definitions. Allow me to share a brief and rather grim picture about a young man called James. Hopefully, with a good ending.
James cleared his 2014 KCSE exams and attained a mean grade of C Plain. He is the eldest from a family of two children. Her sister is in Class 7 at a primary school within their locality. Their upbringing was characterized by immense challenges especially after the sudden passing on of their father. James had always wished to join campus after his KCSE but the grade he attained could not allow him to be enrolled in a Government Sponsored program. His family looked up to him and his mom subliminally expressed her displeasure after her son’s average performance. As fate, has it, life had to move on. James decided to work as a mechanic at his uncle’s garage in Nairobi. He had never imagined that he would find himself doing such a mechanical job. He enjoyed the experience and went ahead to enroll at a technical school to build his skills with support from his uncle. His performance was impressive and by sheer luck, one of the local banks in Kenya came calling. This came about after he repaired one of those fine SUV’s belonging to one of the Bank’s top managers. They were searching for young people whom they could mentor and offer financial support to expand their businesses. James was singled out and offered capital worth Kes 400,000 to start his own garage. It has now been two years and his business is booming. His story was recently highlighted on a local TV station as well as one of the Dailies.
James immensely benefited from the learnings and educational progressions he had to undergo from all those who contributed to his success. The moral of the story is that we all need the right environment, mentors and support systems to motivate us realize our full potential despite our circumstances.
These two aspects work concurrently and the earlier we enlighten young people about this new perspective and assist them to comprehend the same, it is then, and only then that we shall be certain about their future prospects.
An excellent starting point would be for you to enroll to Eneza Education to access 8-4-4 learning content on your mobile phone by dialing *291# on your Safaricom line. We also have tailor made content for adults such as a Teacher Refresher, Life Skills and Basic Business Courses that can be accessed on the same platform. All these are aimed at building your skills set and make you more competitive. The most exciting part about Eneza is that our content is accredited and fully recognized by relevant authorities and you can access it at an affordable rate of Kes10/week.
About the author
John Eliakim is an Account Manager at Eneza Education. He is keen on creating a positive impact through writing by engaging education stakeholders, parents, teachers and students on various platforms to improve the quality and accessibility of learning resources.