If you feel a news story does not measure up to expected journalistic standards, bring it to the Journalism Dry Cleaner. Through our collective wisdom, we will strip it of all offensive dirt.




Thursday, 30 December 2010


Isn't it amazing the way the media blows hot and cold air at the same time? In Kenya, so much had been written about poor families not being able to give their children a decent education. But now that primary education has been made free, the same press is inundated with reports of how the quality of learning in public schools has gone down. What gives, or is the media just mimicking human nature?

The introduction of the Free Primary Education in 2003 was hailed as a milestone for Kenyans, majority of whom had been barely able to put food on the table, let alone paying school fees.

President Kibaki meets Bill Clinton
Both local and international media extolled the then government for initiating what was hoped to be a major element of redressing social inequalities. As a matter of fact, when former US President Bill Clinton was asked to name one person in the world he would like to meet, he said Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, for this very reason of introducing free primary education.

And so the success story of free primary education for a time, dominated media attention. That is, until the press started awakening to the fact that teachers were overwhelmed by the exponential growth in enrolment, already dilapidated learning institutions were bursting at the seams and the performance of public schools in national examinations was in nose-dive mode.

So 8 year's on, the pioneering class of the free primary education has just received its KCPE exam results and perhaps not surprising, private schools have almost monopolised the top positions in the order of merit.

This trend of the media blowing hot and cold, it however appears, is a global phenomenon. A recent BBC story highlighted the fact that many more Britons were likely to reach the ripe old age of 100. But somewhere in the middle, the tone of the report ceased to be celebratory.

The advance in health care, largely responsible for prolonging the life expectancy in the UK, took a backseat. The dangers of having an ageing population, and questions of who would provide for the millions of pensioners, was thrust to the fore.

So yes. Contradictions abound in the media. But that is just but a reflection of human nature. Never being satisfied is the bane of humanity.


kamanja said...

It is only in death that human beings get satsifaction but as long as one continues to breath, controversy and inconsistence will always form a part of the human being.

Mutemi wa Kiama said...

When has the government ever done good in the media's eyes? The Kenyan media which wants to be the only self regulating of the four institutions of governance :-) Nkt!

Albert Gachiri said...

Death remains a great equaliser Kamanja. Edwin, the dilemma is that, if the media heaps praises on the government, then accusations of being compromised start flying in. And being too critical also has its downside. The challenge is in getting the right balance between the good and the bad.

Mishael Mose Nyangau said...

It has become a norm to blow hot and cold.Parachute journalism is killing objective reporting. KCPE results the Media across the board have condemned public schools without giving them a fair hearing. Can any of the Journalist give me the performance of those private schools, how many candidates did they have, What is the mean score and how many candidates scored 400 and above?

Albert Gachiri said...

Great observations Mishael. The playing field is clearly not that level.