An Analysis of the extent to which the Kenya basic education Act (2013) provides for parental choice to homeschool: the primary and central role of parents as educators.
Gathure, Thomas Mundia
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Education in Kenya has witnessed a shift in ownership and management in the last 100 years. It has shifted from parents and community in the pre-colonial period to foreign missionaries and now to the State. While the State assumes a more primary and central role in the control of education, a new problem arises regarding choice and freedoms for other stakeholders. The recent enactment of the Kenya Basic Education Act, 2013 following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 has presented one such scenario in the primary and central role of the State in education as compared to that of parents. The Act fails to recognise a legitimate and credible option of education - homeschooling - while at the same time criminalising the failure to take children to the prescribed schools in the Act. This raises questions as to the philosophical foundation underpinning the Act that could be contributing to this position. Due to the study’s philosophical focus on understanding meanings and beliefs as well as the nature of the research questions, a qualitative research approach (a desk review supported by questionnaires and interviews) was selected. The research questions, measurable indicators and research findings were defined and interpreted in light of the philosophy of Jacques Maritain (an influential philosopher of education and participant of the drafting of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights).The research findings confirmed the effects of a limited philosophical foundation of the Act in its understanding of education, the place where education takes place, disproportionate roles vested on the State as compared to other stakeholders as well as the limited reflection of freedoms enshrined in the Constitution that support homeschooling. The study recommends a total overhaul of the philosophical foundation in which the Act is based to ensure any amendments are well guided and contextualised. Formulators of the Act could benefit from further study to understand the nature of homeschooling and ways to accommodate and support it for parents who choose it.