Kiswahili kifukuzwe? Impact of exclusion of Kiswahili as a core subject

A day after Education CS Ezekiel Machogu announced the new grading system for candidates in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), stakeholders have come out to condemn the move.

Under the new system, candidates will be graded on their performance in mathematics and one language – either English, Kiswahili or Kenyan Sign Language.

Stakeholders argue that this decision could undermine Kiswahili and that it should be a compulsory subject.

Even though Kiswahili is one of Kenya’s official languages, it is rare to find anyone, let alone a leader, who can fluently converse in the language.

Article 7 of the constitution states that Kiswahili is the national and official language of the Republic.

Our leaders’ command, or lack thereof, of Kiswahili has consistently amused Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

“Mimi binafisi huwa napenda kufuatilia bunge la Kenya, tulifurahishwa zaidi na uamuzi wenu kuanza kutumia Kiswahili katika mabunge yenu, Kiswahili chenu ni burudani kusikiza… Juzi, Ruto alitufundisha ‘Jambo,’ tukasema ‘Jambo,’ lakini the real thing ni habari za mchana hawa Wakenya, kwenda kusaini mkataba, wanasema kwenda kuweka kidole mkataba,” Samia said.

Now, stakeholders feel that Kiswahili should be a compulsory subject and not an option, as it is a symbol of National Unity.

Kwale Senator Danson Mungatana says that he disagrees with the move and that he is ready to present a bill in parliament to abolish the directive by the Ministry of Education.

“Let us prioritize Kiswahili as a national language; it ought to be a mandatory subject in school. Kiswahili kitukuzwe.”

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