Why We Need To Adopt Informal Education Practices In The Management Of Formal Education Systems

Kenya is one of the African Countries with the highest rate of unemployment despite the fact that literacy levels have gone up. Most high school graduates who are also the majority of the job seekers lack the basic skills which the job market requires.Kenya’s education system today is inherited from the British Colonial Administration. The education system had been established by the colonialists to serve their own purpose – that of providing clerks and interpreters of the Bible. After independence the need for education changed as self-governance meant need for specialized manpower. This has seen Kenya change its education system from 8:4:2:3 to 7:4:2:3 and finally to 8:4:4 in an attempt to cater for the country’s needs. In all these changes, informal educational practices were not given much attention as they were associated with the Africans and African civilization which was deemed inferior.The main differences between informal education and formal education is that whereas formal education is geared to impersonal goals of knowledge acquisition, informal education is a process of enabling the individual understand the societal goals and mutual relationship. Informal education practices are yet to be meaningfully integrated in the management of formal education. This is because majority of formal and informal trainers and trainees disagree to their use, in the management of formal education.Learning theories and models can be blended to accommodate formal and informal practices in management of education and in the process, develop an individual who has requisite competencies at problem-solving. Competencies in this context refers to skills, attitudes, knowledge and abilities of people such competencies can only be said to be relevant when they help people to observe desired values. Such competencies are critical if any society is to develop and remain relevant in a rapidly growing global society.Although professional educators are now much more involved than before in policy making, it remains true that the educational theory and practice are world’s part. This is evident in our graduates who cannot be employed anywhere due to their lack of competencies and have to undergo some post qualification in-service course. Students who are products of Kenya’s formal education are not able to develop and use original inventive, innovative and entrepreneurial competencies. It therefore shows that most of the students trained through the Kenya’s formal education graduate when they are incapable of inventing, creating and sustaining productive jobs.The use of problem-solving practices is therefore necessary to encourage the production of innovative, inventive and entrepreneurial graduates in Kenya’s formal education. Problem-solving practices should be adopted to complement formal education in Kenya at all levels. They can be included while designing the subsequently needed curriculum.

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Minority Education

By the late 19th century, educational debates were still echoing on “who was to be educated?” and “how this education was to be carried out?” Such philosophers as John Dewey and (closer to us) Jean Piaget understood that “all knowledge has a special origin and the interests of the child are the primary source of learning” (Spring 1989). The same author said that after the Civil War black leaders, particularly W.E. Dubois and Booker T. Washington debated not the importance of schooling but the kind of education for blacks. The latter, considered by many blacks as a traitor, would acquiesce with the 1895 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that said under segregation schools can be separated and remained equal. According to Perkinson (1991), Washington addressed publicly in 1895,
“….The Negro did not want social equality, that he did not need social equality with the whites. Nor did he want or need political or civil equality … but cooperation with their white friends. Negro education should be devoted to the practical education of earning a living.” P.48But Dubois vehemently rejected that position and argued for equal rights. Meanwhile, diverse segments of society had been restless protecting their interests after the inaction of Plessy v. Ferguson. The US Supreme Court solved many cases in favor of minorities such as Peirce v. Society of sisters (1922, unconstitutionality of forcing public schooling only) or Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1940, unconstitutionality of forcing Jehovah Witness to salute the flag). None of them delivered a blow to the racist establishment more significant than Brown v. Board of Education of (1954), which stipulated that separate education was inherently unequal. That decision invigorated the position of such minority leaders as Dr. Martin L. King who had long said that the reality of equality will require extensive adjustments in the way of life of the white majority, an adjustment many are unwilling to make”, ( Smith & Chunn, 1989). The Brown decision opened the valve for a flurry of other specific legislations to right the educational wrongs done to minorities. For, Perkinson (1991) stated that black parents realized that their children were failing in schools not because they were culturally deprived but because the schools were incompetent to teach black students who, indeed, had a culture, a different culture.I remain convinced that, on the part of many folks, it was not a matter of how to educate our culturally different children, but a deliberate case of not willing to do so. If we take, for example, Shor and Freire (1987), “It is not education which shapes society, but on the contrary, it is society that shapes education according to the interests of those who have power” p.35; and Perkinson (1991) “By 1965 the schools had polarized American society into self-satisfied whites and victimized blacks, into despondent city dwellers and indifferent suburb amenities by identifying and creating winners and losers” p.220, we shall see that these points of view (Freire/Shor’s and Perkinson’s) are in direct contradiction while both being sensitive and in the interests of the unfortunate, that include the children of the immigrants.Bilingual Education

History & Rationale. As children of the lower class were failing in school and in life, bilingual education (originally) was not meant to rescue them. On the contrary, it was designed to catch up with the Soviets after their launching of the Sputnik, the first manned satellite (Cazabon, 1993). Through the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), the United States Government hoped to be competitive scientifically and technologically while being sophisticated in languages and cultures. As waves of immigrants kept crashing onto our shores, the Federal government passed a series of legislations and decisions to deal with the problem among which the 1965 Elementary & Secondary Education Act (to attack poverty), the 1967 Bilingual Education, the 1974 Lau vs. Nichols (special aid to non-English speaking pupils) and the 1980 Department of Education regulation (mandated Transitional Bilingual Education nationwide for limited English proficient students). Despite all those efforts, Lambert held that there were two faces of Bilingualism; one for language minorities and the other for the mainstream Americans (Cazabon, 1993). To such conservative politicians as former Senator Hayakawa, Bilingual Education would hinder the English development of immigrants (Minami & Kennedy, 1991). To those critics, Jim Cummings replied that students who experienced a preschool program in which: a) their cultural identity was reinforced, b) their was active collaboration with parents; and c) meaningful use of language was integrated into every aspect of daily activities; these pupils were developing high level of conceptual and linguistic skills in both language. Supportively, Krashen (1983) indicated that all languages are acquired the same way through four development stages, namely silent period or comprehension, early production, speech emergence, and intermediate fluency. Given time, a comprehensible input, and a lower affective filter (anxiety-free) the young immigrant will excel.The situation of bilingual education let to believe that the authorities either want to assimilate every child into the main culture or to create bad cases of bilingual programs for the minorities where they would be proficient in neither language. In reply Skutnabb-Kangas (1986) had put forward the Declaration of Linguistic Human Rights (the rights to identify with, to learn, and to choose when to use one’s mother tongue), especially in relation to small children, where it “is close to criminal, real psychological torture to use monolingual teachers who do not understand what the child has to say in her mother tongue” (Skutnabb-Kangas & Cummins, 1986) p.28. Nonetheless, they registered many cases of positive as well as negative bilingual programs. The additive (positive) Bilingualism has been mostly experienced abroad, whereas most of the subtractive ones have been found in the United States.Models of Bilingual Programs.
When Lau vs. Nichols was settled, it left the establishment too much leeway even though it cited the school districts for violations of the fourteenth Amendment and the Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964. According to Lyons (1990), the law did not seek any specific remedy, but only that the Board of Education apply its expertise to the problems and rectify the situation. Therefore, in its implementation worldwide, Bilingualism had two faces depending on whom it was called to serve. It could be implemented and verified as the best form of education (for the elite, the middle/upper class) or the worst case of educational formation (for the minorities, the working/lower class).

Which Mode of Education Will You Choose? A Traditional or an Online Education System

With time and evolvement in the technology there is a change in the education system. Now we have different modes of education i.e. the traditional education, distance learning and the online courses. All have importance of their own and all will equally help us in providing us with great level of education and also in getting better employment opportunities. The traditional mode of education is still the most popular and the most expensive among all. Distance learning is not very popular as it doesn’t give the best mode of education for the students and also lacks in the provision of knowledge. Online courses is however, getting more and more popular with each passing day and is also less expensive and, in some cases, even is free.Neglecting distance learning for this post only, we can compare the traditional and the online mode of education. A student enrolled in an online mode of education can get education from short courses to degree programs, whereas a traditional mode of education, for sure will provide every type of education to every class of student. There are online universities, colleges and other institutes providing online courses and then there are regular institutes providing education to both the traditional and the online students. The choice of education is up to the student. The student can get education through any medium and that all depends on the availability of the student.The case for a traditional mode of educationTraditional education is the oldest and the most common way of getting education and it’s also the recommended way of study for the young students. We can look at the pros and cons of this mode of education to know it better:Advantages

A one-to-one interaction between the teacher and the student. It’s easy to deliver things to the ones sitting in front of you and also easy to get for the students to understand in a better way.

The most common way of providing education.

Can choose from number of options.

The more preferable by all i.e. the students, the teachers, parents and the government also.

Education along with other facilities like: cafeterias, libraries, sport and other recreational activities.
Disadvantages

Education is expensive, especially in institutes where the standards, quality and the system of education is on a much higher level.

Students can have to travel long distances to reach to their educational institutes and sometimes even have to move to other locations in order to get a good standard of education. This will also increase their expenses.

Not very suitable for students doing a full-time job.

Not much flexible in terms of study hours.
The case of an online mode of educationNot very new, but as compare to the traditional education mode is new. This too has its own pros and cons and these must be kept into considerations before opting any online course:Advantages

Usually cheaper than the traditional education system, as the cost is minimized to the lowest level.

A good but less effective mode of interaction between a teacher and a student.

The option to get education from any online institute, no matter how far that institute is. This will minimize the cost of travelling and other expenses.

Is more suitable for the people in full-time employment.

A vast option for online courses is available for students, seeking education through the online mode.

Flexibility in the study hours.
Disadvantages

Students are unable to get the facility of any recreational and sports activities, a traditional student can get.

As this mode requires an internet connection and a computer system, and these are meant to be effected by any natural or unnatural cause, their education can be affected badly.

Not preferable by everyone and is not very effective as compared to the traditional mode of education.

Although, vast online courses are available but still there is a limitation on this. You can’t become a practicing surgeon or a doctor through getting education by this mode of education.
This is just a short review on the traditional and the online mode of education system, a much vast comparison can be made and then the conclusion can be made in choosing the best education system. Each of these systems have their own benefits and drawbacks and that too will differ for every type of education seeker.