Kenya: Clergymen call for review of tax regime, reduction of school fees


Religious leaders have faulted the government of Kenya for the high cost of living occasioned by rise in prices of basic commodities, and called for a review of the current tax regime to cushion Kenyans from the tough economic times.

Speaking at Kangeta in Igembe Central, Meru County Sunday when they presided over the induction of two church ministers into Archdeacons, the head of the National Independent Church of Africa (NICA) Archbishop Dr. Stephen Marete and Bishop Stephen Kalunyu who heads the NICA Mission Diocese which covers Meru, Isiolo and Marsabit noted that the suffering of Kenyans had reached record levels never witnessed before, calling upon those in authority to urgently consider reviewing the current tax regime which will bring a sigh of relief to vulnerable Kenyans.

Archbishop Marete advised that the tough economic times calls for proper priorities by the government, arguing that projects like the BBI referendum which is currently on halt could wait for better times, arguing that the Covid 19 pandemic has already worsened the situation.

The Cleric also faulted the move by a number of universities to increase school fees which led to student protests, arguing that such a move was ill advised and untimely.

He noted that even the previous amounts charged by the institutions of learning were already an uphill task for struggling Kenyans to raise and should therefore be reduced to manageable levels.

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Australia: Student protests show Australian education does get some things righ

Oceania/ Australia/ 10.11.2018/ Source:

Australia’s education system often suffers a barrage of criticism – claims of stagnant or declining NAPLAN results, slippage in international comparisons and rankings, and an irrelevant curriculum, tend to draw the attention of politicians, the media, and the Australian public.

It’s not often we are able to celebrate what’s right in Australia’s education system. But yesterday’s student presence at Parliament house and Friday’s protests where more than 15,OOO Australian students skipped class to demand greater action on climate change should be cause for celebration.

Far from being concerned about an afternoon off school, parents should feel satisfied schools and teachers are doing their job. Participation in these protests meets many of the key goals of our current education system, including students’ capacity to engage in, and strengthen, democracy. Rather than proof of a flawed education system, politically active and engaged students are evidence many aspects of our education system are working well.

Students want action on climate change

Protests called out the federal government’s lack of action on climate change during the protests. Wednesday’s parliament house rally specifically targeted the Adani coal mine project. Students were also seeking an audience with the prime minister to have their concerns heard.

The government’s response to these protests has been, at best, dismissive. Students’ actions have not been recognised as a genuine attempt to engage in robust democratic debate about climate change. Before Friday’s walk-out, Scott Morrison relegated students to the confines of their classrooms, “what we want”, he argued, “is more learning in schools and less activism”.

The students are right: activism is learning. Lukas Coch/AAP

Other members of government have been equally off-hand. Senator James McGrath was more concerned with a spelling error on a single student’s placard than the basis of their grievance. Resources minister Matt Canavan deemed protests as nothing more than a quick ticket “to the dole queue”.

The government’s response is both misinformed and misdirected. Beyond the obvious lack of recognition of political protest as a fundamental pillar of democracy, and means to political change, it also demonstrates a lack of recognition of the goals of Australian schooling, as outlined in our Melbourne Declaration.

The Melbourne Declaration and the role of education

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australiansis a document signed by all Australian education ministers which outlines the mandated knowledge, skills and values of schooling for the period 2009-2018. The declaration is a national road map for education and a statement of intent by both federal and state governments, across partisan lines.

The declaration outlines two key goals:

  1. Australian schooling promotes both equity and excellence
  2. all young Australians become: successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens

It’s the first goal that gathers public attention as excellence and equity, in the form of measurable academic outcomes, dominates public discussion (think NAPLAN, My School, and PISA). More often than not, we’re told it’s here we’re getting things wrong.

In the second goal, the declaration attends to the broad purpose and significance of education. That is, the democratic purpose of education, as an avenue for students’ successful participation in civil society. If events of the last week are anything to go by, our students are all over goal two.

Students at a rally demanding action on climate change in Sydney, Friday, November 30, 2018. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Sustainability is a stated priority in the Australian curriculum. Beyond understanding sustainable patterns of living and impacts of climate change, students are expected to develop skills to inform and persuade others to take action. Through these protests, relevant sections of the Melbourne Declaration read like a tick-list of student achievement. Students have demonstrated:

  • the ability to think deeply and logically, and obtain and evaluate evidence
  • creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness
  • the ability to to plan activities independently, collaborate, work in teams and communicate ideas
  • enterprise and initiative to use their creative abilities
  • preparation for their roles as community members
  • the ability to embrace opportunities and make rational and informed decisions about their own lives
  • a commitment to participate in Australia’s civic life
  • ability to work for the common good, to sustain and improve natural and social environments
  • their place as responsible global and local citizens.

The Melbourne Declaration is a recognition that education is more than a classroom test and more than measurable results. This is not to suggest the much lauded 3R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) are not important in education – they are. Rather, it’s an understanding that education and learning is also, and importantly, social, and sometimes immeasurable in nature and practice.

Australian students’ activities over the past week evidence their knowledge and capabilities in an education system valuing both economic and democratic functions of education.

Rather than dismiss students’ actions as ill-informed or misdirected, or deny their capacity to effectively participate in democratic processes, we should recognise their learning and achievements. Let’s celebrate this achievement in Australian education, and encourage their capacity as active and informed citizens within our democracy.

Australian students understand progress happens when individuals join together to demand change. Politicians, take heed.

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Controversial education secretary meets with Dallas champions for public schools

United States / April 07, 2018 /Author: Mónica Hernández/Wfaa

Resumen: Desde las armas hasta la elección de raza y escuela, la asediada secretaria de Educación, Betsy DeVos, ha sido noticia por su controvertida postura sobre la educación.

From guns to race to school choice, embattled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made headlines for her controversial stance on education.

 From guns to race to school choice, embattled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made headlines for her controversial stance on education.

That’s why her visit to Dallas was met with protests. Some parents believe DeVos is failing students.

«She’s dismantling public education with the idea of charter schools, which naturally segregates the population between parents who care and don’t care,» said Dawn Cleaves, who protested with signs outside Urban Specialists Dallas headquarters.

Urban Specialists, a non-profit that mentors at-risk youth in South Dallas, says, even if you disagree, it’s important to start a dialogue.

They reached out to DeVos after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and invited her to come to Dallas and see their strategies for mentoring at-risk youth and curbing urban violence.

«Let’s figure out where can we find synergy, everyone can be armed with an argument, I’m trying to find a witness. I hope that she can be a witness to us and to others and say there is good work going on in urban centers around America and let this be the first example of it,» said Omar Jahwar, Urban Specialists CEO. «If the vast majority of the kids are in public school, my job is to say how do we serve them at our best level, that’s what this is about.»

At Urban Specialists headquarters Thursday afternoon, DeVos heard from a panel of Dallas ISD students, Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa, and Dallas ISD District 9 trustee Bernadette Nutall, Urban Specialists, and other community leaders on gun violence and bolstering public education.

«I think we’re in this for the long game,» said Hinojosa. «I think a lot of times people go with what they’ve heard or read about, not what they’ve actually seen. Hopefully, we’ll add a new perspective to their paradigm and a new understanding of what’s possible.»

That’s why Dallas ISD wanted to give DeVos a tour of Dade Middle School, which drastically skyrocketed in performance when Dallas ISD invested in new teachers and strategies. In one year, the school went from last to third in middle school performance.

 «We don’t have any kind of effort to privatize any kind of school. What we do want is ensure that parents have the opportunity and the power to find the right educational environment for their child,» said DeVos.DeVos briefly visited classrooms and met with the principal, Nutall, and Jahwar.

«If I had had as exciting a teacher in every one of my classes, I probably would have loved school a whole lot more,» said DeVos.

«I am an advocate for public school education, but she is the secretary of education, so she must hear our thoughts, she must hear how we are finding solutions and what we need for our district,» said Nutall.

As teachers strike for better pay in Oklahoma, DeVos said she thinks about the kids.

«I would hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place and serve the students that are there to be served,» DeVos said.

DeVos wrapped up her visit at 16 Streets Center in South Dallas, where she heard from a police officer, and young men who work with at-risk youth through Urban Specialists.


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