Osore Ondusye Sets Up Blog for African Teachers in Sweden

Osore's blog: Click on photo to navigate


  • Osore, this is a good idea but I suggest you add information in the English language to attract more people.

  • Hullo Bw. Nambi

    Yes Mr Nambi you are right, I am going to leave information to the effect that readers are free to comment in Swedish, English and even Swahili


  • Mr Osore, thanks but am a woman so Mr/Bw. does not befit my title. Thanks!

  • Osore, you need to contact Chebet who posted an article here last year “calling on Kenya-Stockholm Teachers” to contact her. This could be a good start in understanding how far she has reached out to the group.


  • ***Are you of African origins and are a pupil at primary, high school or college/university levels.***

    Osore, I thought your blog should target teachers and not pupils in primary and high school.

  • wena’s assertions that osore’s blog targeted techers and not pupils may be correct,however they are myopic to a noticeable extend because any credible vision is subject to change and growth and by the way aren’t the teachers and pupils inseparable partiners of some sort?

  • Osore Ondusye

    Hullo Ms Nambi,

    I have never come across a woman called Nambi and never heard anyone say it is a female name.
    So I had no idea that it is a female name. Hadi you also added another name(s), I might have had a clue. However, no malice was meant so forgive me

  • Osore Ondusye

    Bravo Valentine!

    HUllo wena,

    We are teachers because of pupils, and students. Purpose is to bring together so that we put our heads together, do some brainstorming and try to help the youngsters with their educational aspirations. In this endeavour, the youngsters will contribute invaluable ideas, I can assure you. Over the 38 years that I have been a teacher, I have many a time been surprised by what ideas about my teaching many youngster have come up with

  • Osore Ondusye, running a blog means full time updates and not a once in a while appearance, then taking a pause for two months to pick up. So far, all you have done is to request African teachers to team up with you.

    However, you need to delve into issues which will attract readers. I mean serious issues like why there are a few Africans in the teaching profession in Sweden; why African children seem de-motivated to study further; what ails the general Swedish education system and the ongoing reforms; especially during Björklund’s tenure as the education Minister; how can Africans improve their children’s educational achievement through extra coaching after school? What can African parents share in this matter? You should have sections on your blog for African parents and youngsters to comment upon.

    By now you should have put up an academic article to follow up on Chebet’s call for Africans to use their home certificates to join the teaching profession. At KSB you don’t bother with the so-called negative/averse thinkers; stick to your agenda and produce interesting stories, articles.

    First, I would advice you to drop the title of your blog, “Ondusyeoss”, to something more universal which includes African teachers. I know one of your objectives is to later source funds to run an organization. But remember, “first impressions last”. Your blog is colourless, unprofessional looking and has nothing new to offer so far.

    If one googles ‘African teachers’ in Sweden, they are not likely to get your blog on the first ten listed names. ‘Passagen’ is an entry point for youngsters and non-professionals who use it for chats mostly on personal things. There are virtual spaces with decent, free of charge blogs that are known and would pick up on Google almost immediately.

    Running a blog means you and you alone. It is a commitment and commentators will only get seriuos once you begin writing interesting articles. Bring more of your personal experiences here as a teacher. There are so many African-run websites and blogs in Sweden. I bet they will add your link onto theirs if there is worthy substance to attract readers.

    I think you need to step up on the plate if you want to run a blog for professionals.

  • Osore Ondusye

    Hullo Gloria,

    Thank you very much!! I am always open for constructive criticism and new ideas and suggestions. Indeed your ideas and suggestions bear a lot of weight. Particularly the idea that I should post up academic articles on the blogg. You are quite correct; I have been a lousy blogger up to today. Well, the reason why I have been inactive on this issue is that beginning 1st of November 2010, I landed a jobb as substitute Assistant Rector in a school in vällingby. And it has been what Swedes would call “Ett Helvete”. First of all, it has been courses, courses, courses galore! Courses to learn how to lead a school; courses to learn how to manage a budget that runs in the tens of tens of millions of SEK. Courses to learn how to liase with different gvt authorities, courses to learn how to deal with students and parents with their problems, in different situations. So I have been busy, busy and to crown it all, there is no summer holiday for me!

    Never the less, when the pace of this learning phase slows down, I will take to your advice and suggestions. I expect this slow-down to come about around about years-end. In fact a number of people have suggested that for a man of my age and status, I should have set up a web page, instead of a blogg. In fact one Kenyan computer expert offered to do it for me, but I told him to hang on untill I have thought of the logo, the name and nature of material I intend to publish.

    So, in the not too distant future, I will be contacting you again for more advice and suggestions. You sound a very level-headed person; may I ask what you work with yourself?

    Once again, Gloria, receive my heart felt and sincere Thanks!!!!!

    Comment by Osore Ondusye

  • Hamjambo tena wanaafrika uswidini,

    Hope that your summer holiday is proceeding forward according to plan. Mine is! I have stayed for the most part in Stockholm, but will be making a cruise-trip to Talin, where i will stay for a week.

    Excepting Chebet, I still have not heard from Afro-swedish teachers/aspiring Afro-swedish teachers. Please, come on and let’s get together and exchange views.

    You parent with a child/children going to intermediate/high school, please encourage them to make comments on this blogg. They may ask questions regarding their educational aspirations, state their problems at school or simply give their opinions about the swedish school system

    Comment by Osore Ondusye

  • Howdiee to All

    Have you ever heard that these days pupils in Kenya attend school six days a week and in some schools it is seven days a week. Is this healthy for the mind and bodies to the pupils?

    Posted by Osore Ondusye

  • hej afrikan teachers,

    where are you?

  • Osore on comment #12: I wonder where you got the information that pupils in Kenya nowadays attend school six or seven times a week. I have made thorough enquiries and there is no such policy officially. This is the danger of posting a message that cannot be debated upon because it has no foundation.

    Kenyan pupils still attend classes five days a week except for those that have extra classes or what we call “coaching/tuition classes” that are provided for in many cases at a fee, to assist pupils in improving their competencies within various subjects. This is also an aspect which has been in existence for many years. Kenyans invest heavily in education which they deem as key to their success. In this case, many parents struggle to see their children through the education system.

    Pedagogically, pupils should have a break in-between their busy weekdays, thus the weekends set aside for other activities. Remember the adage: “too much work without play makes Jack a dull boy”. However, those attending boarding schools also reckon with extra study time outside the official one – “preps”, “dawn” – because there is not so much to do in boarding schools other than full time studies. The Kenyan education system is competitive, therefore students will sometimes spend all the available time to excel. Asian countries are equally competitive right from the family level to the global level, thus their faster progress towards industrialization.

  • Osore has been away from Kenya for many years he has lost touch with the composition of a school week. Thanks to Adalis for explaining why pupils instead stay longer in school. Teachers in Kenya moonlight for extra money, so they conduct the so-called tuition classes as a scheme to raise money privately.

    As a teacher, why did Osore not ask himself where the Kenyan government would get resources to keep children studying for 6-7 days a week? The current government has not even lived up to its promise to pay teachers their salary arrears pending from the Moi era. Kenya is still lacking 60,000 teachers to cope with the increased number of pupils since Kibaki’s government introduced the policy of free primary education. What about the Kenyan teachers, wouldn’t they be burnt out, let alone lack the time to prepare their teaching schedules? When would they have time to supervise and mark examinations? Kenyan parents, especially in the rural areas, also depend on their children to help with house chores and other forms of labor. Would they allow them to be in school for almost a full week?

    Kenya is a signatory to the international initiatives of “Education for All” and the “Millennium Development Goals” which are concerned with bringing gains to pupils and would not take to such a retrogressive approach, especially since the departure of Dictator Moi.

    I agree with Gloria that so far, Osore has presented nothing new and remains colorless in his call for African teachers to join him. A few of the Kenyan teachers in Stockholm are well known and am sure that if Osore had approached them first before opening a blog in his own name, they would have done their homework together and presented a blog/Website with topical issues covering Sweden, Kenya and elsewhere. Instead, Osore resorted to the lone wolf strategy (this is my property/idea: join according to my terms), and learnt later through a KSB commentator, about Chebet’s earlier call for Kenyan teachers to team up. Maybe if he had approached the few teachers in person, they could have contributed as a group to draw others to his concept. Gloria mentioned a lot of weaknesses in Osore’s call which he needs to improve.

    A teacher should be inquisitive and sometimes provocative to generate discussions. If say Osore had made his investigations, he wouldn’t have mentioned that Kenyan pupils today study for six to seven days a week. He could have probably posed a general question as to why Kenyans spend so much money in education yet the Government is not doing much to increase formal employment. Alternatively, he should have asked why pupils stay late in school (even within day schools). Answers could have varied from participating in sports to other extra curricular activities.

    There are so many interesting educational topics that a serious teacher who reads widely can present to attract others. Anyway, good luck to Osore Ondusye as he recruits African teachers.

  • Y does Osore operate through KSB if he already has his own boring blog?i checked it and sure as Gloria wrote, there’s nothing interesting there.Cud it be that is y he posts more at KSB?Osewe’s success is due to his personal contribution with stories that meet the blog’s aims compared to Osore who can’t get Kenyan teachers to join him.

  • Osore, you either ‘publish or perish’ so don’t feed KSB readers with how busy have been to spare time to update your blog. This is a labor intensive venture; ask Osewe who has perfected the art of running a blog and try to learn something from him. I will not add anything to what I wrote initially, given that others have expressed similar views. Take care.

  • Hullo Gloria,

    Thanks for your constructive criticism. However know that Osewe and I have different roles in life, we have got different priorities. I contribute as seldom to his blog as I do to my own because of other commitments. Nevertheless, as you are one of the few who have contributed to my blog, I take it that you care about communicating with other Kenyans, so keep it upo

    Sincerely Mwalimu Osore

    KSB: Very good attitude Mwalimu…

  • Are you a knowledgeable Kenyan?


    How much Kenyan history do you know? If you know your Kenyan history what was the town called before it was baptized Kisumu? Who was the last colonial governor of Kenya? When did Kenya become a colony and when did Nairobi become a city? Who was the first ambassador of Kenya to the USA and UK?


    Where are Kapenguria, Jonglei Canal, Mtito Andei, Mumias and Karatina located?


    Who was the first Kenyan to come up with a mathematical formula?

  • Mwalimu Osore, although you claim to have other priorities and commitments (maybe more than Osewe), I wonder whether it is smart of you as a teacher to pose those basic questions in history, geography and mathematics. I thought your purpose was to recruit African teachers to form an association. Most of the answers to your questions are already available online.

  • Mwalimu Osore has sunk so low he has now posted those pedestrian questions he asks at pubs visited by Kenya-Stockholmers. Sweden has a way of wasting brain cells after many years of the harsh weather.

  • Hullo Reshema,

    Sure, my purpose is ,to enable Kenyan/African teachers communicate with each other; that is the main purpose. It is true that all what I ask is available on the net, what is wrong anyway if I ask on my blogg? And Reshema, you who is so critical of african walimus in sweden, what is your profession anyway?????

    osore ondusye

  • Hullo there Belle,

    I don’t know how long you have been in Sweden, but your language use (mwalimu osore has sunk so low) does not fit into swedish language use at all. In the swedish language use, code, you would be accused of “användandet av kränkande språk”. However, as I am not a man who is confrontational, I don’t really mind your language use at all. As a black teacher, teaching,, above all of the subjects, Mathematics, to races which are supposed to be more intelligent than the black race, I have heard it all, so your insinuations bite little on me!!!

    All said and done, the comments of all you Kenyans are useful in helping me to enhance communication among kenyan/african teachers/educators. I hold no grudge against you on the grounds of your opinions, Yoiu are welcome to comment on my views, criticiseze, or even abuse me, I won’t take offence!!!.

    Maalim Osore

    • Osore ondusye ndalo mane wasomo Rangala… I can see you are under attack here lakini unajitetea kweli. By the way, Mwalimu, which one came first? The egg or the chicken?

  • Osore, i am happy cleaning at McDonald’s if you are interested in knowing, and am happy with it.u really are communicating what is available.don’t u think you should be using another forum for those of your profession?

  • Hullo makozewe,

    Nice to here from you! Like me you don’t operate under sydonames! You what I call a serious communicator. Your question calls for philosophical reflection. I would say both hen and egg appeared at the same time. Ozewe wuod mama ndalo mane wasomo rangala, wachamo kuon ngo bambo ruokun…..Please write more

    mwalimu osore

  • Hullo reshema,

    Martin Luther King said, and i agree with him, that any profession is a noble profession. Whatever profession you have, he added, the important thing is that you carry it out well. If you are a street sweeper, he continued, make sure that you sweep the street so well that the pedestrians using the street smile at how clean the street is. So I respect those who clean at Macdonalds as much as I respect those who are directors at SEB Banken, the Swedish parliament etc. But to respect those who have exaggerated self importance is a matter that escapes my rational analysis.

    Every which way but one, this forum I have set up is intended for people of Kenyan/African origin to communicate about the teaching situation in sweden, but there is no rule that says that one may not communicate about other issues, as long as it is reasonable communication!.

    At all events not a single Kenyan/African teacher or anybody, for that matter, has touched the issue of teaching or education vis a vis Africans in Sweden. So please, instead of quarrreling let us address teaching and school regarding our offspring. Like I said, other races have the mistaken believe that our race is dumb. Let us kill this myth

    Maalim Osore

  • Yes Osore, that is why you don’t have to ask what I do for a living in Sweden unless I beg from you.

    Meanwhile, what do you think of Mailu’s input? I can see you are more concerned with stinging responses than serious ones like Mailu’s or Adalis’ (#14 and #15) above.

    I have attended out of personal interest, many discussions concerning African teachers and learning per se among Africans, especially at ABF in Stockholm. Imagine, as a McDonalds cleaner. “The quest for knowledge knoweth not one’s occupation” (my quotation).

  • Osore get used to the online social netweorking world. It’s a free for all zone as long as no one insults you. Just to let you know, “sinking so low” has many connotations.

  • Hullo Kenyans/East Africans and fellow Afrcans!

    Three things on my mind:

    1. Parents have sometimes approached me to give private tuition, in Maths, to their children, which I have and am still doing. I teach at both primary and secondary school levels. When I give lessons at the pupil’s/students home the cost is more than when I teach in my own home. If you have got this need, feel free to contact me on 0736350189, 0760641671 or 08-859358. I have many years experience of teaching.

    2. If you have got a writing talent and you are, may be, pondering writing a book or an extensive article, or text of some kind, you may get some tips from me as I also teach creative writing, in English, in secondary school. I also have experience in producing long texts.

    3. There are people of the younger generations, from East Africa, who were born in Sweden and who don’t know Swahilii and, who would like to learn Swahili. I also have taught such people. Too what is more, I actually have written a Swahili teaching book some years back. So if you want to learn Swahili or want your child to learn Swahili, it is just to contact me.

    Sincerely Yours

    Osore Ondusye

  • Hullo wananchi!

    More things on my mind

    1. Over 20 years ago, after Nigeria had been ruled by a series of military regimes, I read a long article, in Time Magazine, analysing why Nigerians had failed to put up a civilian gorvernment. Nigerians, it was asked in the article, who have, up to today, produced well over 10,000 Ph ds, (this was over 20 years ago mark you) why have they failed to establish a viable, respectable civilian gorvenment??? The article itself supplied many answers, one among them corruption. The other day I remembered that article and it fell in my interest to find out how many Ph ds are in Nigeria today, 20 after the article. I quickly browsed through Google but never found the answer. It also fell in my interest to find out how many Ph ds there are in my own Kenya. I did not find the answer either. Does anybody have an idea how many Ph ds there are in the respective countries?

    2. In Kenyan Higher Education, there is something called “Garage Universities”. Anybody knows what exactly this means? A check on the web page of Education Ministry revealed to me that there are exactly 30 universities, grouped in three categories, in Kenya; public, private and and those operating under some kind of licence. I wonder which of these are Garage Universities?

    3. There is a colution, among the runners of the Kenyan Institute of Education, to shut out all, but a selected group of authors of teaching books, in different subjects. A procedure that has virtually placed the authorship of educatilnal material under monopoly. Is this not a procedure that has stiffled the authoring aspirations of academicians who might have a lot to offer? You, as a Kenyan educator who is in Sweden, or the Nordic countries for that matter, how would you fight this knwledge stiffling procedure?

    Your views are very welcome,

    by Mwalimu Osore Ondusye

  • Mulembe, misawa, muliwega, hamjambo, kenyans,

    In 1974, while still a student at Columbia university in New York, I had the privilage of being send to the University of Witwatersrand, in South Africa, to attend a conference organised by the The Association of African Mathematicians. At that time I was toying with the idea of writing a book entitled “Africa Counts”, in fact I started the book, and abandoned the project after some time, but I still have the manuscript. The theme of the book is that Africans are the prime inventors of mathematics. However, at that conference there was a sarcastic, although brilliant, Boer Mathematics professor, from the University of Pretoria, who propounded the theory that Africans cannot think in three dimensions and that is why they build primitve round huts. When my time to speak came, I took him by the bull’s horns, although I was only 24 years old and he was 60. I argued that round huts are the prelude to the circle, so Africans are the inventors of Mathematics. It became a long involved argument into which I don’t want to go now.

    Why I took up the subject is that if you have an interest in Maths lets join hands and finish this book which I started nearlyly 40 years ago



  • Hullo citizens,
    The Nobel Prize in whatever, literature, physics, medicineetc id a prizé that distinguishes the leading brainws in the world. can you comment on our own Nobel Prize winner

    Osore Onddusye

  • Hullo parents,

    Here I come again

    Once upon a time, when I was teaching in a gymnasium in Södertätlje, I got an assignment from that kommun, on behalf of Scania, to meet with children, in intermediate school (högstadiet), who were very talented in Mathematics. The purpose of me meeting the children was to asses their mathematical ability as well as chances of their becoming even better in the subject, whereupon I should help them widen their mathematical prowess. Scania,s aim was to start early recruitment of future engineers, to work in their Hightec departments, at an early age. Scania’s motivation was that the earlier the company started the hunt the better engineers they created. I had to work according to guidelines designed by Scania’s own leading Hightec engineers. I, therefore, met children from grades 6 to 9, for two hours every month, for a whole three years. That job was rewarding in many ways, I learned whole new methods of teaching Maths, I learned how to relate to, and teach, my own accustomed pupils/students, I learned how to approach completely new pupils/students in my teaching of Maths, and last but not least, I made a good amount of money for working so little!

    If you have got a child/children who is/are talented in Maths, I could assist them work towards landing jobs in the Hightec world of, not only Scania, where I still have very good contacts, but also other Hightec areas like the IT sector, the military, oceanography, the aircraft manufacturing industry etc. I assure you jobs in these branches are very very well paid. Imagine your child coming out of a technical clledge after, as short as only 2 years, which some of the courses demand, and walking straight into a job which will put 50000 SEK, net, into his pocket at the end of his first working month in his working life!

    Are you a parent of a talented child do not hesitated to contact me on the numbers given in one of my above posted comments

    Sincerely Yours,

    Mwalimu Osore Ondusye

  • Hullo wananchi,,

    Hamjambo wananchi. I hope you are well, and kicking, like Mzee Kenyatta used to put it, wherever you are. Me, here in Bergshamra, Stockholm, I am well.

    Sometime back one replic contributor accused me of not being as active, on my blogg as Ozewe is on his own, that contributor concluded the replic with the expression: Osore, puiblish or perish! Lately I have been very active on my blog. However, I have not seen any comments on my replics. It is heart warming to read other contributors comments, be they positive or negative. For example I was impressed by the quotation invented by the contributor who posted comment nr. 28. Let us keep the debate lively, it is a great way of learning from others, and others from you.

    Sincerely Yours

    Osore Ondusye

  • Hullo readers,

    Did you know that you can make jokes, satirical/nonsatirical jokes, in a mathematical vein/context, like you can make jokes in any other vein/context? You are interested to know one or two I supply


    • Osore @36: B4 u supply one or two, can you help here please?

      You saw a shirt worth 97 kr but since you don’t have the cash, you borrowed 50 kr from your Mom and 50 kr from your Dad and you now have 100 kr. The shirt being 97 kr you now have 3 kr left as change. You returned 1 kr to your Mum and 1 kr to your Dad in part payment of your debts to them leaving you with 1 kr which you keep for yourself in the meantime. Now you owe your Mum 49 kr your Dad 49 kr. 49+49=98 plus the 1 kr with you, 99 kr. WHERE IS THE MISSING Krona?

  • Hullo East/non-East Africans,

    Here I come again! This time my question is, why are you not, like Assistant Education Minister, Nyamko Sabuni, voicefull about educational matters, and in particular, educational matters vis a vis African Immigrants. I remember, one time, while completing my teaching,degree, when I was doing the so called Student teaching, in calculus, in the USA (askultering in Sweden), in the final year of High School, a kid asked me: do you understand what you are doing? Ofcourse, like I said the other day, this kid being a WASP (White Anglosaxon Protestant), the main race that were the “huvud” perpetrators of enslaving Africans, had learned it from home that a black human being was mentally incable of mastering the principles of calculus, the branch of mathematics, developed by the Britton, IsaaK Newton, and independly by the German,Leibniz, that was originálly conceived in terms of the function of an INFINITESMAL change in the value of the independent variable, and is today understood in terms of LIMITS of real functions. I got very angry at the intellectual insurbodination this kid had subjected me to, but as I was in my third year of a four year degree course in pure mathematics, and the kid was only in his last year in High School, I said to myself, Osore, swallow your pride, which i actually did. Now you my fellow brothers and sisters, we have come to this land, where official policy accords equal rights to all, educational, racial, sexuall inclination, economic status, animal rights etc why can we not take advantage of the oportunity? Wake up to my call and engage yourselves in matters of educational performance of your offspring, or else soon you are going to be reading/hearing, in Sweden, research shows that the blacks are the last when it comes to reading, matematics,English, Swedish general basic skills/knowledge in other subfjects.

    Pls, I am available to answetr any questions regarding your child’s schooling, particularly where maths applies


  • Hullo Wananchi,

    Let us get intellectually involved. I was present when Abul Aziz Lodhi, professor of Swahili and Bantuistics, and, then, the chariman of the Institute of Afro-Asiatic Languages, and other intellectuals, launched the Nordic Journal of African Studies in the early 90s. The journal is a Forum for you, who is intellectually inclined towards African,and in particular, intellectual affairs concerning Africa, linguistically, to air your views.

    Please do not hesitate to contacrt Abdul Azizi Lodhi, Professor Emeritus, Uppsala University, directly, you can find his contact on google. If you have any ideas , about the development of Swahili vis a vis Bantu languages contact either Aziz Lodhi or me Osore Ondusye, as I have academically worked with and studied the lanaguage since 1973.

    Osore Ondusye

  • Hullo wananchi,

    Nobel Prizes:

    Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela/F W de Clerk (a white man whose intelligense is supposed to be “superior” to a black man’s), Wangari Maathai, they received Nobel Prizes in Peace. I don’t mean to be demeaning and say that this is a prize which people receive for not particularly having flexed their intellectual muscles. On the contrary, to receive this prize you must be a woman/man of mental if not intellectual resolve. The question is why has no African received this prize in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Economics, subjects that put the brain to work, logically, in order to enhance the quality of human beings’ life, accordinmg to the will of Alfred Nobel. Wole Soyinka has packed it in by winning the prize in litteratur, a subject that, is regarded not so much for its logical flare but for its mostly creative even if logical flare. In the last ca 100 years that the Nobel Prize has been awarded, only Wole Soyinka, from Africa, has been awarded the prize due to the latter. There has been a black carribean person who has been awarded the prize in Economics. And what about black women who have received the prize, how many are there apart from Tonny Morisson an American “Negress” in literature and Wangari Mathai from Kenya, Africa. Where are the black women in physics, chemiostry and medicine.

    My point is, which race is, given the statistics of Nobel Prize winners, which races have a problem solving mind and which race has a problem experiencing smind?

    Maalim Osore

  • Its a well known facts that black race has very low Iqs!do resdearch on blacks whether they have achieved any innovation hence Whites does the thinking .Blacks has failed miserably in leadership but very good in corruption greedy and weakness in relation to their brain.

  • Conrod is proving to us all”whos brains are smaller” your are smaller than a pea! you are so fucked up totally and actually can even reason like a normal human being.

    I think white people hare blacks because “we have something which whites dont have” otherwise there is no logic att all…why do white sunbath????????????because they want something that we black have naturally.
    Black people are more intelligent that the whites,BUT our possibilities/möjligheter are less. Today in this country”white people have the reason to be AFRAID because the second foreign generation are so educated in sweden that those “swedish white trashes are starting to be other class citizen”

    There are now so many föreighners especially young ones who are doctors,lawyers,data experts, etc….one of my tow friends,her 2 dotters are doctors both of them,her son a pilot in Sweden..and now one of the dotter is studying to become”överläkare”…så in 15 yrs time this country will the other way round!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!conrod keep in min!!!! på vårdcentralen there were only “swedish doctors” when i came to this country only 15yrs ago…….NOW every vårdcentralen have more than one foreign doctor.

    My own son is a docent in Karolinska institutet and he is actually pure Kenyan!!..ha..ha…ha..

    You guys have all the right to be nervous and very very WORRIED!! in future your won children/grandchildren will all be attended by foreign/black proffesionals.

  • Hullo Conrod,

    Two things I put to you:

    First and foremost, my Blog is not a Forum for you, or anyone else, to direct racial slurs/insults to anybody. The blog is, first and foremost, meant for residents of African origin, who are teachers/educators, and even swedes, interested in educational matters, to exchange views regardiing the education situation in Sweden.

    Secondly, if you are going to continue posting comments on my blog, I challenge you to use book and not street English, you “brainy” whatever race you are!

    By Osore Ondusye

  • Kim,

    Your outburst towards Conrod is totally justified. It is absolutely wrong of him to put up such a racially charged comment on the blog. On this blog we aim to conduct a logical and not diabolical dialog. We aim to discuss how the African teaching/educating population can influence our children.

    By Osore Ondusye

  • And hullop Conrod,

    Not so long ago it stood in the papers that members of the SD party, here in Sweden, had used 500,000 SEK of taxpayers money, since the beginning of 2011 alone, to travel in taxies. Alone, a twenty three year old member of the same party had spent 150,000 SEK on taxi travel. Sometime back, some lady, known as Stegö, who had gotten into parliament, and who had been appointed by Prime Minister Reinfelt as some minister, had to decline that position, and even pull out of parliament, because she had not paid for the TV Licence for 14 years. Just now, as you post this scathing remark, deriding the intelligence of my race, accusing the race members of being corrupt, Juholt, the leader of the Social Democratic Parrty, is under fire for embezling nearly 200,000 SEK of taxpayers money, in order to pay his rent. Most likely he has to go. These are white leaders, in a society where corruption is supposed to be “unthinkable”. I have been in this country for 27 long years and I can assure you that I have encountered corruption among the whites of this society a million times.

    Then, me being a black teacher of Mathematics and Enkglish, I have taught white people who have not been able to add two plus two and white people who have not been able to construct a proper sentence.

    So when you talk about white people being more intelligent and more honest than blacks, I laugh, under my armpits, with detached amusement!

    By Osore Ondusye

  • Hullo waheshimiwa,

    This block is a forum for teachers/educators of African origin/connection to share and exchange views on the educational situation in Sweden. In particular it is a forum on which to talk on how your children are finding it in school. Why don’t you contribute


    KSB: Ondusye, ndalo mane wan rangala, where did the one shilling go?

  • Ndalo mane wasomo Rangala,

    Either the one shilling went to the Wachuuzis, the Rejarejas or the Jamnadas hah hah haaaaaaaah!

    Ndalo man wasomo Rangala

    KSB: Ondusye, now, that is not mathematics but propaganda he he he! Give me some theorem like Ondusyethagoras theorem or Osoredis Principle.

  • Hullo Citizens,

    Long long time ago when women were women and men were animals, men would emit a sickening odour and still women would fall for the sickening odour. Can you supply a logical, scientific expalanation for that Ozewe wuod mama. Tzi kasomo unene….kachamo ilwongo ngo kazia…..I regret not having taken advantage of the Luo knowleddge of my sister-in-law, Clementina Anyango. Today I would be talking Dholuo with you fluently

    Have a good evening

    Wuod papa Osore

  • Ozewe wuod mama,

    I am mesmerized by your nomencluture: ondusyethagoras theorem, osoredis princple. This is an echo of Pythagoras Theorem and Archimedes Principle. This nomencleture ties in well with the Theoretical Arithemetic thinking of the Pythagorian school. It was a school that, extensively, addressed the type of your question, where did the shilling go? You are a man of not so little thinking wuod mama

    Osore wo’ondusye

  • Ozewe wuod mama,

    I won’t live you alone! what are they that become shorter as they become longer? If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, what is the shortest distance between two legs? and what is the shortest distance between two hairs hah hah haa!

    ori Osore

  • Hullo wanachi,

    This is about early learning. I remember when I started school in 1955, one of the teachers was called Elizabeth Odongo while the other was called Teresa Nataba. Like all teachers of the time, these teachers whiped our bottoms and curve muscles, whenever we failed maths or wrote wrong English. Today, when I tell Swedes about this, they tell me “you are psychologically damed Osore”! When I know quite well tha this was happening in Sweden not so long ago. Forgive me, but now I forgot the point of contention. Be back later when I recaputulate


  • Hullo parent,

    Logical thinking training

    Ask your child, there are 13 birds on a tree, you throw a stone onto the tree and are fortunate/cruel enough to kill one bird, how many birds remain on the tree?

    Maalim Osore

  • Quote of the day,

    Perhaps there’s also TV in heaven

    Osore Ondusye

  • Hallo Bw. Maalim,

    Pongezi kwa kuanzisha ukurusa huu! Naona mjadala umepamba moto na kufikia kilele cha mkwaruzano. Ningependa kuchangia kwa kuuliza Bw. Makozewe kwamba, huyu bwana kapeena kr. 2 kwanza, kisha 49 mara mbili na bakisho kr.1. Kwangu nitasema hivi, 49+49+2+1=101. Swali lako ni kr.1 ya juu au inayokesekana?

    Munala wa Munala.

  • Mwalimu Osore,

    I have responded to question two under comment number 31, concerning the so-called ‘Garage Universities’ in Kenya, by exploring circumstances behind their operations.

    According to University World News (UWN) which is an online newspaper reporting on global higher education, garage universities exist on the basis of partnerships with for-profit colleges and institutions whose main purpose “is not to produce highly skilled graduates or to conduct applied and basic research.” Students attending such universities “are taught by lecturers and instructors without postgraduate training.” By 2008, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology had around 20 of such universities, while the University of Nairobi allowed some commercial colleges to offer its degrees. Garage universities in Kenya are based at learning centers spread in various parts of the country, managed by unqualified and poorly paid personnel.

    The above phenomenon is also due to commercial collaboration between local institutions and international/transnational actors who tap into the growing global market of private higher education especially within the developing world, which still lacks physical space among other things, to meet the rising demand by students. The mushrooming of private profit making universities without concern for quality is partly blamed on bad governance and the lack of regulation by the government of the day.

    According to a report published by the World Bank in 2003 titled, ‘Higher Education in Developing Countries: Peril and Promise,’ “between the early 1980s and 1996, the total number of higher education institutions in El Salvador increased from six to 42. Many of these were low-quality, ‘garage’ universities, resulting from poor external governance. Despite a law calling for close regulation of universities by the Ministry of Education, supervision was in practice quite lax, with institutions not required to demonstrate their competency to provide education.”

    In the early 1980s, Kenya was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to pass legislation authorizing the establishment of private higher education. This was against the backdrop of austerity measures imposed by the World Bank for the efficiency of service delivery, effectiveness and accountability within the public sector. The infamous package dubbed structural adjustment programs (SAPs), meant that governments had to cut down on public spending in key sectors like health and education among others, then introduced the user-pays/beneficiary pays principle. This meant that whoever gained from a public service was bound to pay for it. In Kenya, the buzzword was ‘cost-sharing’.

    In the field of economics of education, there is a principle that whoever invests in university education, expects higher private and social returns/benefits after graduation (through employment, good income and certain services in society), and should therefore pay to acquire it. Foregone income by someone studying in a public institution is paid to some extent by taxpayers, which is unfair because they do not expect similar benefits. Human capital theory was relied upon by the World Bank for the case of educational reforms in SSA. A workforce with qualified university graduates would speed up economic development.

    It was argued that user-fees would generate enough income in public universities to facilitate their maintenance. Universities would also raise income by charging students for other services like on-campus accommodation, photocopying and so forth. However, this was also the period when Kenya’s political leadership under then President Moi, underwent the worst mismanagement of resources and political interference at public universities, leading to dissatisfaction among many academic staff that fled the country. Some programs within Arts and Politics were also scrapped off for fear of injecting political influence among students and lecturers.

    The demand for tertiary education in Kenya has always been high because of the belief that education is the key to success and many families invest a lot of money for this purpose. With the introduction of cost-sharing in public universities, parallel or self-sponsored degree programs were established in the 1990s, to attract students who had not qualified to join the state-sponsored regular programs. Since then, there has been a steady income generated through such fees, yet the academic staff members complain of excessive workload. Academic standards have therefore been eroded since lecturers also get extra income from the parallel programs at the expense of the regular ones. Currently, there are more privately-sponsored students in Kenya’s public universities compared to the regular ones. The commercialization of these institutions also means that only those who can pay the exorbitant fees get admission. There are claims that due to poor entrance qualifications, some of the parallel degree students hire regular students to write their examinations. Some politicians and labor market officials want the parallel programs to be scrapped off, but university administrators say they generate around 60 per cent of their income from them. (Read more in Daily Nation August 24, 2008).

    The growth of private higher learning institutions led the Kenyan government to create the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) in 1985, through an Act of Parliament to monitor their operations. CHE is authorized to regulate the growth and access to post-secondary education. According to CHE: “Any institution or person offering university level education without authorization by the Commission for Higher Education or having been established by an Act of Parliament is committing an offence punishable by law”. (Cited in The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, September 2005). The body is also concerned with accreditation. It first issues private institutions with a letter of interim authority then awards them a charter status so as to be fully accredited. There are a number of high-cost private universities in Kenya such as the United States International University (USIU), which has been operating since 1969 and obtained a charter status from CHE in 1999. However, it charges fees slightly above USD 4000 per annum, meaning it attracts students with socio-economically privileged background. Others are Daystar University, Catholic University and Aga Khan University which vary in tuition charges.

    The gap left by these well-established private institutions is therefore filled by commercial providers with tailor-made educational programs offered by correspondence or currently, on the Internet. They operate through local partners who open learning centers anywhere in the country to attract students, and are not as expensive as the accredited institutions. Therefore, they don’t care about their entrance qualifications and are mainly interested in generating income from tuition payments. A good example was the case of US-based Newport International University (NIU) which had been operating in Kenya for many years through its local affiliate, Wiseman Trainers and Consultants. It had awarded a number of degrees in Business Administration despite having been warned by the CHE that they would not be recognized by the Kenyan government.

    In July 2005, over 200 graduates at Kenya’s NIU learning center were informed by CHE that their degrees were invalid because the institution was not accredited by the government. Wiseman then claimed CHE was not mandated to validate NIU degrees, yet CHE had done so to 17 other private institutions. In early August 2005, Wiseman Trainers was deregistered by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for associating with an unaccredited foreign institution. This was a clear message from the Kenyan government that it would continue restricting the operations of garage universities, despite the need for more capacity to meet the ever rising demand for higher education.


    Higher Education in Developing Countries: Peril and Promise:

    Click to access whole.pdf

    KENYA: PhDs rare in African universities:

    Parallel degree programs blamed for declining quality of education:

    US-based international university is forced to exit as Kenya tightens regulations for foreign providers:

    Jared Odero

  • A damn well researched posting!

    Hej Jared,

    You have lived up to your not amateur, but advanced status, researcher. This posting gives me, and I hope others, an insight into how chaotic the situation of Kenyan higher education has become. And now the quality of higher education has started spiraling downwards; I wonder to what low level it will plunge. Ofcourse, if they will be the lowly qualified people, graduating with flimsy degrees, then leaving to go and teach the youth in primary and secondary schools, no doubt , basic and secondary school educational quality levels will also plunge. Is there anything we, as representatives of education, we who are highly educated, we who live in developed countries that have advanced educational systems which are well funded by taxpayers money, can do?

    Jared, thank you very for this imlportant information. Please Kenyans, if you have any idea that you can come up with, about averting the collapse of the quality of education in our country let me/us hear from you. One of these we may meet to send a delegation to the concerned authorities

    Maalim Osore

  • Mwalimu Osore, in response to your comment number 32 on matters regarding Mathematics in Africa, I would recommend that you check what has been done by the African Mathematical Union Commission on the History of Mathematics in Africa (AMUCHMA), whose members promote the concept of Ethnomathematics in Africa. This is a field that contributes to the relationship between mathematics and culture.

    AMUCHMA has an online newsletter hosted by the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York which provides an insight into the discourse led by ‘Mathematicians of the African Diaspora’. The first 30 issues are available here: http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/AMU/amuchma_online.html

    It is not certain whether the newsletter is still available because issues 31, 32 and 33 were last published in 2006:

    Click to access amuchma31.pdf


    Click to access amuchma33.pdf

    Mwalimu Osore, in 1973 Claudia Zaslvasky, the late American educator and ethnomathematician, published a book titled ‘Africa Counts: Number and Pattern in African Culture’. A third edition was released in 1999. In this case Mwalimu, you will need a new title for your upcoming book.

    An impeccable bibliography has been listed in honor of Claudia’s work: http://www.math.binghamton.edu/zaslav/cz.biblio.html

    Further References:

    Professor Paulus Gerdes –




    Paul Gerdes: Ethnomathematics as a new research field, illustrated by studies of mathematical ideas in African history –

    Click to access Ethnomathematics%20as%20a%20new%20research.pdf

    Ethnomathematics – http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/AMU/amu_chma_09a.html

    Books on African ethno-mathematics – http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/content.php?pid=6493&sid=1101613

    Books and articles on ethnomathematics -http://www.radicalmath.org/browse_socialjustice.php?t=ethnomathematics

    Ethnomathematics Digital Library (EDL) – http://www.ethnomath.org/search/browseResources.asp?type=country&id=7
    Jared Odero

  • Hullo wananchi,

    I hope all of you are well and kicking wherever you are. I am well here at KTH, where I am undergoing some training to prepare me for certain duties in Eastern African, for a period of 6 months.

    A check on Google reveals that the oldest school in Kenya was established in 1846 and that school is the school at Rabai near Mombasa. By 1932, school nr 14, Kisii School, was established. However, there is no information on how many schools there are in Kenya today. Does anybody have a rough idea how many primary and secondary schools, both public and private, there are in Kenya? I would like to believe that there must be thousands of schools spread across Kenya. Thinking about my home village of Elukongo, in Busia, and roving my mind over the surrounding area of about ten square km, there are 52 schools within this area alone and that is why I suspect that there are thousands of schools in Kenya. Why I am addressing this question is that on that same Google it is said that there is a 50% iliteracy rate among Kenyan children today. Can it really be true that with so many schools in the country, there is still an iliteracy rate that high? Please, if you have any idea as to how many schools there are in Kenya let us hear.

    Maalim Ondusye

  • Mwalimu Osore,

    I suggest that when you present information like the one you have on comment number 58, then please provide the source. Google is a fantastic search engine but certain information can be questionable unless it is cited from an authoritative source. For instance, you wrote that “there is a 50% illiteracy rate among Kenyan children today”. You could have made it more interesting by quoting its source for readers. You have also questioned why there is such a high rate of illiteracy, yet you suspect there are thousands of schools in Kenya.

    I recommend that you visit Web sites with educational data such as: UNICEF, UNESCO, the World Bank, and UNDP (for the Human Development Report and Human Development Index). Country data from the Ministry of Education is also important just as other UN initiatives like Education for All (EFA), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which provide valuable indicators on educational development.

    Uwezo (Kiswahili for capability) for instance, is a four year initiative that conducts annual learning surveys (numeracy and literacy) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. This is done through large scale household surveys on children from ages 6-16. Its results are published in the form of learning assessment reports and are presented to the East African governments and international sponsors. So far, Uwezo has realized that pouring billions of dollars into the education system does not translate into learning.

    The 2011 Uwezo learning assessment report for Kenya titled: “Are Our Children Learning?” presents grim disparities in schools across the country. Urban slums, arid and semi-arid areas in the North Eastern province have the worst outcomes, while children from socio-economically better homes do well. Public schools have worse levels of literacy compared to private schools, and so forth. Many rural areas also suffer disparities in the provision of educational resources.

    It is important to note that a key political campaign promise by President Kibaki which he began to implement in 2003 was the provision of free primary education (FPE). The policy allows for tuition-free studies in public schools. It was noted that many children (1.3 million) who were outside the school system managed to enroll in January 2003. There was panic as families pulled their children out of private primary schools because they believed there would be quality public provision of education.

    According to UNICEF (cited by Fleshman 2005), Kenya’s total enrollment in primary school was 7.4 million in 2004, compared to under 6 million pupils in 2000. However, the FPE political promise did not include increasing the number of teachers required for the highly increased number of children. Kenya still lacks around 60,000 teachers to meet the recommended teacher-pupil ratio per classroom. Somerset (2007) has assessed Kenya’s enrollment trends over four decades and stresses that a lot should have been learnt from the 1974 primary school fees waiver that was a fiasco.

    Mwalimu Osore, there are many underlying or confounding factors at play when it comes to understanding illiteracy. For instance, is it fair to conduct literacy and numeracy tests on pupils in rural areas using only the English language and Kiswahili? If one is not capable of reading texts in English or Kiswahili, does that count for being illiterate? It is important to investigate why many pupils suffer from functional illiteracy. A child subjected to manual/domestic work in the village during various farming cycles is likely to drop-out of school or can only attend seasonally.

    In many Kenyan cultures, the girl child is still subjected to domestic chores and is likely to stop schooling depending with home demands. Early marriage for girls and general poverty also drive children (both boys and girls) out of school to eke out an income. Family structures have also changed a lot in Kenya and many children currently care for their sick relatives thereby affecting their studies. Insecurity, lack of proper sanitation and general gender bias in communities, still hinder schooling processes for the girl child.

    The thorny issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs) also affects children who sometimes cannot attend school as required because of the long distances from their camps, or due to insecurity. There are also many students with learning disabilities that need to be understood.

    Number of primary schools:
    According to UNICEF: “Primary school in Kenya starts at six years of age and runs for eight years. The number of public and private primary schools has doubled since 1997 to 25,000 in 2007. The number of primary school pupils now stands at 8 million.”

    Many factors need further investigation to understand literacy challenges among Kenyan school children.


    Are Our Children Learning? Annual Learning Assessment Report: Kenya 2011 – http://www.uwezo.net/uploads/files/Uwezo%20Report%202011.pdf

    Fleshman, M. (2005). Giant Step for Kenya’s Schools – http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/afrec/vol19no2/192_pg10.htm

    Kenya: Primary School Years – http://www.unicef.org/kenya/children_3795.html

    Schools in Kenya – http://www.schoolskenya.net/

    Somerset, A. (2007). A Preliminary Note on Kenya Primary School Enrolment Trends over Four Decades –

    Click to access PTA9.pdf

    Uwezo Web site: http://www.uwezo.net

    Jared Odero

  • Mwalimu Osore,

    This entry continues to explore the landscape of higher education in Africa, with specific examples cited for clarity.

    Universities in Africa still face a myriad of challenges due to reasons ranging from bad governance and corruption, lack of research capacity and resources (staff, materials and money), political interference, to poor access levels and low throughput rates. However, amidst this generalization, there are success cases in building research capacity. According to Volmink (2005), “research capacity—comprising the institutional and regulatory frameworks, infrastructure, investment, and sufficiently skilled people to conduct and publish research—varies widely across African countries.” In a report published by RAND (2001) which ranked countries as per their national investments and productivity in science and technology, only South Africa, Egypt and Mauritius did quite well, while the rest were categorized as “scientifically lagging countries”.

    A solution to building research capacity is being realized through international collaboration between African researchers and those in the North. However, there is still a long way to go before Africans universities can produce Nobel Laureates in the fields of medicine, physics and chemistry. For instance, results of the top 400 world university rankings 2011-2012 had only four universities in Africa. Three were in South Africa with the first at number 103, while the second and third were ranked at 251-275. The fourth university was in Egypt within the range of 301-350 (Times Higher Education, 2011).

    In an ideal situation, higher education (HE) is a public good that should be funded by the taxpayer. Sweden is a case in point that has a state-sponsored non-profit higher education system. By investing heavily in research and development (R&D), the country stays ahead in the scientific world of inventions and innovation. It could be argued that the Swedish publicly sponsored higher education system ensures that the government knows which areas require what amount of resources.

    African governments need to invest more resources in R&D to be on the cutting edge of science. The East Asian Tigers (South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore) leapfrogged Western-based stages of economic development by investing heavily in science and technology (S&T). These countries developed a manufacturing and export-driven economic model which had its genesis in capital accumulation since the 1960s. Although they suffered immensely during the Asian economic crisis around 1997-98, they have regrouped to be a financial hub worth emulating by other developing countries. This region also invests heavily in higher education.

    Kenyan politicians recall now and then how the country was on the same economic development level with South Korea in the 1960s, yet are doing very little to get the country back on track. With misplaced budget allocations favoring their huge untaxed salaries at the expense of poorly paid teachers, Kenyan politicians can only dream of meeting the Vision 2030 program, which aims at industrializing the country. Although competitive grants are offered to university students through the National Council for Science and Technology, there is no indication that Kenya is producing enough scientists to contribute to national development.

    Implications for the liberalization of higher education:

    Over the years, the provision of HE has grown from the brick and mortar model (conventional), to open universities, mega-universities, media companies, multinational companies and corporate universities, networks of universities, professional organizations and currently in the Internet era, IT companies.

    The insatiable hunger for HE especially in developing countries, has opened borders for various types of access through distance education and local partnerships/branch campuses. The concept of cross-border higher education is touted as a means to improve enrollments. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), cross-border HE “includes higher education that takes place when students follow a course or program of study that has been produced, and is continuing to be maintained, in a country different from the one in which they are residing. Cross-border higher education may include higher education by private and/or for-profit providers” (Cited by Sir John Daniel, 2005). The quality of materials, affordability and accreditation still come into play within countries that accept foreign tailored programs. Therefore, it is important that these are controlled; otherwise they might not add value to paying participants.

    Mega University = Mega Quality? Presented by Sir John Daniel at the 2nd World Summit of Mega-Universities, New Delhi September 25, 2005. http://www.col.org/resources/speeches/2005presentations/Pages/2005-09-25.aspx
    RAND Corporation (2001): Science and Technology Collaboration: Building Capacity in Developing Countries? http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/2005/MR1357.0.pdf

    Top African Universities 2011-2012:

    Volmink, J. (2005). Addressing Inequalities in Research Capacity in Africa.

    Jared Odero

  • Osore,

    It disturbs me that you have not reacted to Jared Odero’s exemplary comment #57 on Ethnomathematics especially since he pointed out that in 1973, a book was published under the title: “Africa Counts”. In comment #32 you wrote that this is the same title for the manuscript you wrote almost 40 years ago, which you want others to team up with you to publish. I find your logic twisted since you should have been aware of the existence of the book during your visit to the Wits University in South Africa, in 1974. You were then based in the USA and being a specialist in Mathematics as you have mentioned several times, Jared’s comment should have triggered a sense of excitement in you.

  • Osore you need to develop your ideas into meaningful texts instead of throwing questions here and there. You have a string of so many questions that are mostly historical and personal. You need to analyze issues deeply then move to the next. I also agree with Jared and Gloria that you couldn’t have been unaware that a title you wish to be credited for now was already published in 1973. You seem to be clueless in ethnomathematics if you cannot respond to Jared’s input on the matter.

  • Hej, Wolle,

    Telling you the truth I was aware of the title “Africa Counts” already in 1971.The original initiator of the title, “Africa Counts” is Dr Robert Strayer o State University of New York at Brockport.. Claudia, a 26 year old, beautiful lecturer of mine, in 1973, at the time, saw this proposal by Dr Strayer and said to me Osore, since you are African and have knowledge of both African and Western Mathematicss, why don’t you, Strayer and I, team up and produce this book? We put this idea to Dr Strayer but he was averse. Finally it was between Claudia and me. But even me and Claudia had differences, like the racist professor in South Africa, she constantly asked me why Africans had never created anything in three dimentions? I got frustrasted and pulled out of thre project. Like the Americans say “winner takes all”. She has won all.

    All said and done, wollie, not in any one of your single arguments have I ever read that your thoughts develop your ideas into meningful texts. Neither have I ever read a deep analysis of yours about any subject. As I said before I am not a confrontational man, However I am not afraid of confrontation but if you confront me do so directly, do not do so under the protection of Jared, he is too good a friend of mine

  • Osore, “Winner takes all” American attitude gave Claudia accolades for publishing “Africa Counts”, yet 40 years later you still hang onto her book title? I am surprised, but if the history you gave above is what happened, then you should have counted your losses and moved beyond Claudia. The field of Enthnomathematics has a lot of aspects yet to be investigated and ever since Claudia’s publication, those references listed by Jared indicate that “non-bitter” persons in Africa have forged beyond thinking they were robbed of the same idea by some racist American intellectual.

    My argument is, it is lame of you as a teacher with all the wealth of knowledge you quip repeatedly on this blog, to talk of a book title that already exists; it borders upon intellectual fraud. I would have loved to read your thoughts about say, the newsletter links that Jared posted. I am not hiding behind him, but only referring to your initial posting about your so-called manuscript, and his response. This is an academic discussion which can involve heated exchanges as long as they are about sharing and disseminating knowledge. Therefore, I don’t see why your response exhibits veiled irritation when mentioning that you have not seen any deep analysis from me. It is you who began posting numerous issues without expounding on them. That is why I wrote that you need to develop them into meaningful texts to get worthy responses. I expected a better approach from you other than thinking I am on your case.

    It’s a common maxim in scientific writing and arguments that allegations get backed by facts beyond reasonable doubt and if one is credited for something false, then another person can only contest by presenting new information. With this in mind, I would like to ask you Osore, was the late Claudia Zaslavsky author of the book “Africa Counts” your lecturer? You wrote: “Claudia, a 26 year old, beautiful lecturer of mine, in 1973, at the time, saw this proposal by Dr Strayer and said to me Osore, since you are African and have knowledge of both African and Western Mathematicss, why don’t you, Strayer and I, team up and produce this book?”

    Osore, I put it to you that you are an intellectual fraud and sue me if you want. Claudia published “Africa Counts” in 1973, so there was no way you had a conflict with her concerning Africans’ NOT understanding of “anything in three dimensions. Claudia was born in 1917 which means she was 56 years-old in 1973. She was not 26 years-old as you alleged in the citation above. She died in 2006 at the age of 89.

    Now Osore, be honest and prove me wrong.

    Again Osore, according to Amazon book publishers, there is no mention of Dr Strayer within the area of Mathematics because he is a historian. You mentioned that he was the initiator of “Africa Counts”. You could have done better by giving details of his interest in ethnomathematics, but as usual, you leave readers hanging without details.

    Robert W. Strayer regularly teaches both halves of the world history course at California State University, Monterey Bay. Until his move to California in 2002, he taught courses in the history of the Soviet Union, Modern Africa, and world history for 32 years at the State University of New York College at Brockport. Strayer received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at SUNY Brockport in 1997 and a similar award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2002. In 1998, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Dr. Strayer began academic life as an African historian, and wrote Kenya: Focus on Nationalism (1975) and The Making of Mission Communities in East Africa (1978). More recently he developed a specialty in Soviet history and wrote Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse?: Understanding Historical Change (1998) and The Communist Experiment: Revolution, Socialism, and Global Conflict in the Twentieth Century (2007) comparing the experience of the Soviet Union and China. He has also served as co-editor of the Explorations in World History series. Throughout his career, his primary intellectual focus has been world history, serving as a teacher, scholar, textbook author, consultant, and member of the Executive Committee of the World History Association.


  • Hullo Wolle,

    It is true that I haven’t checked the sources suggested by Jared, but I I will do so in due course. However, l suspect that you are using a pseudo name whenever you post comments. Jared and I use our true genuine names known by everyone. Usually there is a hidden agenda behind using pseudo names. Well, I am leaving the issue of ethnomaths and moving on!!!


  • Osore, what do you mean by a hidden agenda is usually behind pseudonyms? I explained from the start that in scientific arguments, you just have to prove or disapprove your claims. In this case, I have disapproved your claim that Claudia was 26 years old in 1973. I have also proved that Dr Robert Strayer, whom you also claimed was the initiator of Ethnomathematics, is a historian. Can you prove he that he dealt with ethnomathematics? He is still alive and lectures part-time in retirement.

    Your broad aim for the African teachers’ blog is to engage educators in various educational aspects, yet when confronted with matters which require intellectual banter, you back off into a corner like a scared chicken. You should be a frontrunner on issues concerning African cultures and their role in math, because you purport to be an expert in Mathematics. The link to Africans was presented here by you from the alleged 1973 trip to South Africa. Osore, those were your claims.

    I don’t know you in person, but being an interested party in African matters, I found this section of the blog interesting, so began a follow-up of Jared’s input. However, you have downgraded your intellectual prowess (given your numerous quips in comments) to the level of personalization. I have not in any way engaged you outside the intellectual sphere. I have presented bare facts and all you need to do is disapprove them. Academic criticism, bitter as it is, should primarily be for sharing knowledge and making us think deeper.

    Keep this exchange on the level of brains and not imagined witch-hunting like “pseudonyms” chasing you around with a hidden agenda. You know nothing about ethnomathematics, otherwise you would not have written that you are yet to check the sources suggested by Jared. You could do better Osore. I dare you again to sue me if I have infringed your intellect.

  • I had noted Osore’s intellectual weaknesses long ago and withdrew from commenting, when I challenged him about his claims that Kenya’s school week had been prolonged to seven days. I wrote on comment # 14 that: “Osore on comment #12: I wonder where you got the information that pupils in Kenya nowadays attend school six or seven times a week. I have made thorough enquiries and there is no such policy officially. This is the danger of posting a message that cannot be debated upon because it has no foundation.”

    Jared Odero introduced the aspect of ethnomathematics in response to Osore’s claim that he has a manuscript entitled “Africa Counts” which he needs to publish into a book. Osore then unashamedly wrote that Claudia was 26 years old in 1973 and was his lecturer in USA. Wollie investigated and presented glaring facts about the late honorable educator, Claudia Zaslavsky, who pioneered the relationship between Mathematics and African cultures, then immortalized that in her book, “Africa Counts”. Osore responded that Wollie must be having a hidden agenda because of using a pseudonym. What he avoided was the serious intellectual challenge posed, which shattered his input to zero on ethnomathematics.

    It is an intellectual fallacy to throw in scanty and unproven facts about this important matter. Osore, who pretends to be a Math expert, could have fitted in well by presenting readers with the historical contribution of Africans in basic arithmetics. But he knows nothing on this. For example, he continued lying by claiming Dr Robert Strayer was the initiator of “Africa Counts” and linked his own omission from the project by Claudia, due to racial differences. These are real serious allegations that could pose legal challenges if read by concerned parties.

    In 1994, Claudia wrote an article entitled: “Africa Counts and Ethnomathematics” which discussed her motivation to write the book, “Africa Counts: Number and Pattern in African Culture”. I will quote sections of page three in the article, to dispute Osore’s claims that she approached him to join her in writing the book. I will also fault his inclusion of Dr Strayer as the initiator of the subject in 1971. Read on:

    The book “grew out of demands in the 1960s by African-American students and the community for an African studies program. Not that they specifically requested African mathematics. I doubt that they even considered mathematics when they requested the inclusion of African history, literature, and culture, as well as the Swahili language, in the curriculum of our secondary school. Few people think of mathematics in this connection. Isn’t mathematics culture-free? Isn’t mathematics the same all over the world?”

    Claudia was at that time teaching mathematics in a secondarey school north of New York City which was a district that had voted to integrate schools and was later a model on desegragation. She was further motivated to write her term paper on the development of mathematics in Africa south of Sahara, when in 1969 a college professor came to teach a course in African history to interested faculty members. Readers should remember that Osore claimed Claudia was his univeristy lecturer. The process of gathering material on African mathematics was quite frustrating since there was very little literature for reference at that time.

    She finally wrote a letter to authorities and people in USA and abroad concerned with African studies and the history of mathematics, requesting information on what she later called “African sociomathematics”. It comprised applications of mathematics in African lives, beliefs, numeration systems, form and pattern, etc. She got an encouraging reply from Howard Eves, a mathematics historian. I quote her:

    “He was most encouraging, and offered to publish an article on this important subject if I should collect enough material to write it. The article appeared in April 1970 (Zaslavsky, 1970a).”

    Eves was then “consulting editor for the Prindle, Weber and Schmidt (PWS) Complementary Series of paperback books devoted to enrichment materials for mathematics education and instruction, and I was invited to write a book of about a hundred pages on the subject of African mathematics. What better motivation to continue my research!” It should be noted Osore claimed that Dr Robert Strayer had initiated “Africa Counts” in 1971. Another fat lie!

    In Claudia Zaslavsky’s documented words, I have tracked her links with Africa and ethnomathematics from the 1960s all the way to the time she published the book “Africa Counts”. There is no trace of one lame excuse called Osore, who has no clue in this field.

    Readers, Osore can brag about his heavy credentials in Mathematics and Swahili, but on this very board he created, he has proven to be an intellectual dwarf. Osore is a half-baked intellectual who deos not read deeply and cannot articluate matters to the level required to moderate such a forum. He had no shame describing Claudia as his then beautiful 26-year-old lecturer in 1973, yet Wollie proved that she was already 56 years old.

    No wonder the lukewarm reception Osore has received since he came up with his call on March 22, 2011 to gather African teachers. We are doomed with the likes of Osore running around claiming to be an African educator in the Diaspora.

    “Africa Counts and Ethnomathematics: http://www.jstor.org/pss/40248107

  • I know Osore very well and I think he is a good intentioned person, very happy and discussive. I have had an opportunity to sit with him many times and I do think he is a happy man. However, i think he must have assumed that he could get away with certain comments, may be because he thought that KSB readers are not the folks who follow up matters. I was impressed with Wollie’s contribution because he challenged the facts Osore was presenting here with a lot of skill. These are the kind of debates needed at KSB, not abuses of personalities covered here. No one went personal with Osore even though his ideas were challenged. Somehow, I think Osore is a clean man with few enemies and that could also explain why he has not been subjected to any personal attacks by KSB readers. Somehow, this is positive – that he could start a debate without it turning filthy even though he has not been challenging his intellectual detractors. Osore, you need to come back and reply otherwise your opponents will have the last word and the impression will be that you have lost. Just do it Darling. I will be on your side!

  • I agree with Chambele that Osore should counter the challenges from Wollie and later, Adalis. He should not keep off since he has written clearly that he was a student when the debated issues were taking place in America. He only has to straighten the bended facts he gave in the beginning. But Wollie is way too smart and dug deep into the roots of ethnomathematics and Africa, to beat Osore at his game.

  • Hullo str Chambele,

    Thank you very much, well, my intellect is decsribed as being weak, This is typical african exagerated self importance. Osore has got intellectual weaknnesess,I challenge you to present me a maths problem simple or advanced, but we have to meet personally, in front of other people


  • Dariing,

    Than you, darling, I habour no grudde against anybody but thanks, I will live remember you,


  • Well put Chambele. Osore should have not taken for granted that KSBeers don’t read. They do and are very smart to see when smoke is bellowing yet the fire cannot light up. I mean Osore should not have twisted facts to gain credit on what eventually seems to have left him shaken, torn and bloodied. In science, facts must be supported. In this case, the same Google he has mentioned provides info, is the same one that screwed him properly by countering his bluff. The ethnomathematics argument by Wollie was splendid, sticking to brains and nothing personal against Osore. These are serious times that require no pleasantries but pure intellectual input to show Kenya-Stockholmers are alert and would not be bought by cheap ancient stories without scientific basis. It’s upon Osore to rectify his blunder. But it will be hard because he cannot reverse the claims on Claudia and Dr Strayer.

  • Am a Kenyan in the north of Sweden and bumped into KSB a few months ago. The discussion on ethnomathematics has proven that we have Kenyans who can present scientific arguments without personal attacks. I am very impressed by the facts presented by Wollie to counter Osore’s attempts to claim credit for the title “Africa Counts”. This is a very big lesson to all educators that we must read ‘deep and wide’ before presenting arguments. The more irrelevant we are, and especially when basing arguments on lies, the more we diminish whatever academic credentials we have. Osore should have never staked his reputation by claiming such nonsense.

    As a purported Mathematician, (yes purported because he did not even know the late Claudia’s age in 1973), Osore needs to approach scientific arguments with care because I have read most of his comments and can prove he is not a man who concentrates. Otherwise he should have taken Jared’s entry on ethnomathematics seriously before daring Wollie without facts. He thought by mentioning that Claudia was his lecturer, he would keep Wollie silent. No; Wollie was not cowered and dug deeper, leaving Osore bleeding seriously through his nose. Adalis then signed and sealed the discussion with more facts. I liked the intellectual input; something I look forward to reading again.

  • kweli I should have taken studies at school seriously.i am lost in this place.i only enjoy comments at KSB on scandals among wakenya.Na muendelee hivyo.

  • Osore the challenge is on the lies you presented and you can be clearly judged from them. You don’t seem to understand the danger of lying in science. The facts are glaring and you have lost it on account of that. This is serious. We cannot have educators who purport to be smart, yet do predestrian investigation without basis. Science is based on proof which you do not have in ethnomathematics. Stop deceiving yourself and excusing your weakness by mentioning that this is: “typical African exerggerated self-importance”. And you cannot dare set straight your lies because you are not a scientist. You wanted glory for claims that are not grounded on facts. Do not continue cheapening yourself.

    This must be biting back so hard because it is you who first claimed to have been present when Claudia was taking up the “Africa Counts” project. You have fallen flat in this argument because you thought 1973 was long ago and no one would see through your cheap bragging. The argument here is not about calling one in person to solve a math problem; it is about you Osore lying about an important scientific contribution to our understanding of Mathematics and African cultures. Wake up from your slumber!

  • Osore keep nursing your bleeding nose. On the issue of claiming the title “Africa Counts”, you have lost it big- time. In fact you are the one exhibiting self-importance by lying that you knew the initiator of the title. It’s been disapproved and on that note, you come out as an intellectual fraud. You can solve mathematics problems but cannot defend the roots of African cultures and maths, because you have no idea. That is the basis of this argument but sorry, you do not understand it.

  • Eehh Wananchi,

    I am glad that I have struck a chord which sends my blog vibrating. Criticism is good, eeh Wena, she/he who gets offended or worked up as a result of being criticised is not mentally strong enough to engade in public debate. Like the old adage goes, education shapes a man/woman. One can similarly say that criticism shapes a debator/thinker/an author. So, I am in fact thankful for all the critcism you contributors have come up with. Well the majority of critcs are unnecessarily hostile towards me, which bites little on me , but at least one contributor likes my postings or thinking enough to call me darling. From the name I can see that she is a Kenyan woman. And I am going to try and meet her personally, nani anajua (who knows), may be we shall become true darlings inspite of my intelllectual weakness. Women are the cleverest of our human two sexes. They always know when men are being childish and my darling knows that more than any woman. At any event, let us discuss educational issues, education is why I set up this block. And you, man or woman, who think that I am intellectually weak, my challenge to meet you on mathematics – problem solving duell still stands. My e-mail is ondusyeos@yahoo.se. My telephone nr is 0736350189. I am prepared to meet you, in front of other people, and exchange ideas with you, or simply compete. Be the duell on culculus and analytic geometry, topology, trigonometry, statistics, econometrics or pure mathematics. Eeh brother, sister I am out here for your or my thrashing.


    Osore Ondusye

    KSB: Ondusye, ndalo mane wasomo Rangala! Very mature approach to criticism. I remember you asking Wakenya one day whether the universe is finite or infinite. Do you remember? Don’t give up because as Njoro put it, “KSB is KSB”. Sometimes, I am surprised with what happens here but do I say? I do agree that some opponents were “too harsh” but that is life.

  • Hullo citizens,

    Once upon a time, there was a magazine publisher in Kenya called Hillary Ng’weno from Bunyala, in Western Provfince. He had read Nuclear Physics, I don’t remember, at some universities in the USA and Germany. While a student in the USA he wrote articles for the Daily Nation. The articlåes were interesting for me, who was then, in Form 3 in 1975. One time he wrote on Water, and I who was interested i Maths and Phypsicis followed the subject closely…..to be contiinued

    Maalim Osore

  • Osore, it is good you have conceded defeat (in hidden words) and appreciated the criticism, whether constructive or harsh. You should have done that a long time ago to avoid the wrath that escalated as you added irrelevant comments. I hope this is a lesson to you that: stick to pure mathematics and keep off ethnomathematics matters, because you clearly have no clue there.

  • Osore, once again you are up to your pranks. How could you be in Form 3 in 1975, yet claimed earlier to have been in the USA as a university student in 1973? For heavens sake, learn to complete your comments. It wouldn’t take so much to use the space fully, instead of three lines then write “to be continued”… Boring stuff!

  • OHej wananchi,

    Bwana/Bi Yaori you are correct. I meant 1965 and not 1975. I was in form three in 1965, I have erred, it is human to er as the saying goes. Well, if you are throwing stones at me for making this mistake, I would like to refer you to a saying by Jesus, if you are a christian, “Let he/she who has not sinned be the first to cast a stone at this lady” then Jesus continued to write something in the sand. To this day no one knows what Jesus wrote in that sand.

    I am here, challenge me however much you want it is good for my intellectuall development

    Mwalimu Osore Ondusye

  • Osore at this rate nobody will take you seriously. Keep feeding readers with half truths and they will keep on bombarding you.

  • Hullo ttkkk8,

    Why the pseudonym, I don’t take you seriously either, if you are not man enough to use that genuine and noble name, given to you by your mother/father at birth. What lies behind hiding your name?


  • Osore concentrate on content and not names.People are now monitoring you more after your lies were exposed. Understand and answer CONTENT instead of pecking on small isuues like pseudonyms aka HANDLES, in online loco.

  • Kwa Nemsi wangu Maalimu,

    You are my best friend of all the time, but you are letting me down. You opened a blog where the minds of the people you wanted to address were purported to be without fear and the heads were to be high academically. Your blog was according to you, a place where “teachers” can meet and knowledge was to be free. Maalim, you are fragmenting the above by narrowing your answers to Dr. Jared, wollie, ttkk8, Wahome and Osewe aka “makozewe” just to name afew who I think are making your blog to be what you wanted.

    The above mentioned people have a very clear stream of reasons to contribute to your blog. They have widened the scope of your blog and thoughts of many. Maalim, can you try to clear the comments on your blog in a more academic way and give clear answers before you can “hip hop” into “darling darling Chemele”. I have no doubts about your intellectual capacity but you have to do something if you want your blog to keep on boiling.

    Are you sure you want every “teacher” everywhere could be free to use any name at any time without you screaming “PSEUDONYM” Drive away your fears of pseudo and try to pull-up your socks to overcome the challanges on your blog. Pseudo lives among us so we are here. Dont be afraid……. to be continued.

    Note: I like Dr. Jared, Wollie and Adalis contribution. Maalimu Ondusye, jukumu lako sasa hivi ni kuweka mipaka ya maeneo ya sabati kwenye mizozo ya wasomaji wako.

    Munala wa Munala

  • Mr Munala wa Munala, your comment is spot on. You have told Mwalimu Osore the truth that has been repeated many times, yet he gets emotional and sees malice in those commentators whom he claims use pseudonyms because they have a hidden agenda. I took a while before responding to his comments because I had waited in vain for a serious academic input. When I began responding, I expected a relevant follow-up, only to realize that Mwalimu was good at posing questions but could not react to the responses. He would instead add new comments.

    The African teachers’ forum he started is fantastic to all interested parties, but as the moderator, he is a big disappointment. Mwalimu tends to take his readers for granted, and probably assumes he has more experience in life, thus beyond challenge. When I introduced the concept of ethnomathematics as a follow-up to his claims on the book title “Africa Counts”, Mwalimu began messing up and made the biggest blunder ever; he lied that he had been part of the project in 1973. He had earlier stated that during a conference presentation in South Africa in 1974, he encountered a racist White professor who mentioned sarcastically that Africans had no understanding of three dimensions in Mathematics. When he lied that he had been invited by the late American educator Claudia Zaslavsky to join the “Africa Counts” project in 1973, Mwalimu lost it. Wollie proved that Claudia’s book was published in 1973 and also proved that Mwalimu was wrong for having claimed that Dr Robert Strayer was the initiator of “Africa Counts” in 1971. Adalis later confirmed with evidence that Claudia had begun investigating the connection between mathematics and African cultures in the 1960s. Why then, would Mwalimu commit a reputation-injuring blunder by claiming he still has a manuscript for the book “Africa Counts” that he wants to publish?

    Mr Munala, you have pointed out something that Mwalimu should guard against when commenting, which is: WOMEN. He clearly has a soft spot for handles with female names and no matter how much criticism he gets from them, he will propose contacts or show more interest, outside the relevant topic. It is a bias because he seems more charmed with their names than taking seriously the content of their comments. His flattery with “Chambele” who used the word “Darling” is such an example. This was after a weekend of serious academic bombardment from Wollie and Adalis. By then, Mwalimu could not respond and when he did, he just added more lies that sealed his fate. His intellectual credentials were challenged; a fact that must have hurt his ego, given his response on Monday.

    Mwalimu must take full responsibility for his half-hearted approach to academic discussions because he is now being monitored on everything he writes. He has already been told bluntly that he can’t be taken seriously if he throws comments that he picks from Google but cannot expound on. Not everybody is a mathematician, yet the discussion on ethnomathemantics could have generated interesting input if Mwalimu had not lied. Readers recall the charm he used to write about Claudia, whom he claimed had been his beautiful 26 years-old lecturer in 1973. I read this and shook my head in disbelief because I had just posted the lady’s bibliography with her date of birth. Had he taken a moment to read it, he would have noticed that she could not have been that age in 1973.

    Mr Munala, I fully support your sentiment that Mwalimu Osore must pull up his socks to be taken seriously. He is the moderator of this section, meaning he should steer discussions and exhibit wider knowledge. Adalis might have been right initially by writing that Mwalimu has been away from Kenya for many years he has lost touch with some basics in the education system. Interestingly too, I have not read anything concrete from him concerning the Swedish education system, which I assume he knows, or the American one that he went through as a student some years ago.

    I suggest that Mwalimu should develop issues further to allow commentators’ views, and then make a follow-up. Otherwise, leaning more upon sympathies from “Darling” and showing a soft spot for women will just continue damaging his intellectual contributions in this space. In addition, spending so much energy asking people not to use pseudonyms will not help because as long as nobody is insulting him, he should concentrate upon content. There is no law in the blogosphere which demands that commentators should use their real names.

    Jared Odero

  • Good Jared,

    We proceed with important issues!

    Recently there was a teachers’ strike in Kenya due to the fact that the nation was suffering from a lack of thousands of teachers. This situation, according to the teachers themselves, has caused abominable working conditions for them. I have relatives who are teachers and seeing the way they live, I know that Kenyan teachers are working under very trying circumstances, in addition to being paid very little money. We who are in the diaspora ought to contribute suggestions on how to help ease the horrible conditions under which Kenyan teachers are working. My own suggestion is that, for example, people in the diaspora, who are teachers, or like to work with education, or simply want to help, volunteer to go and teach down there for some time.

    How are they going to survive is a given question, of course. Some kind of arrangement could be made to enable volunteers survive. For example, one could approach the Swedish Education/Foreign Ministries, Sida/Sarec, Forum Syd etc. to fund the teaching of the volunteers. Since volunteers only earn ca 10000 SEK a month after tax, the volunteer package could include some kind of simple, but fairly comfortable living quarters. Sort of like how the USA Gvt. has done it with their Peace Corps. They must only live in a certain kind of residence financed by the state. And they do get an allowance which enables them live a fairly comfortable life. If such a deal is struck, we will be helping to lift a heavy burden off the shoulders of teachers in Kenya!!!

    Mwalimu Osore Ondusye

  • Hullo Wananchi,

    Ever heard of the claim that the Kenyan system of education is superior to the Swedish system. the main argument propounded is that swedes are poor in English. People forget that swedes have got their own language and English is just a second language. At any event, this attitude reminds, me of those days when I was in primary/secondary school, the colonial days that is. In those days when you came with a degree from, for example, India, people (even those who had never seen the gates of a university) did not recognise it, or simply mistrusted it. I will recall that even degrees from the USA were mistrusted. My own brother, a product of Makerere, was one those who mistrusted USA degrees, on the arguement that there was no such a thing as specialization in US dgrees. The US university arrangement of courses leading to degrees was to jumbled as to call for specialization he argued. In reality my brother did, simply, not understand the system

    The point of contention here is that these country people who claim that swedish education is inferior should explain to us why the swedes have contributed to development of science so much, yet you never hear of anyone from our country who has contributed. You just need to check google for who invented the shift spanner and it will be a swede, who invented the half-sunken gunboat and it will be a swede, who has innovated and developed medicines that have become leading in the world like Losec and it will be a swede aaand then the man who has made sweden to be associated with higher education and research, the inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel. It is laughble to hear someone say that kenyan education is superior to the education of this land of acclaimed inventors and hodari researchers ,

  • Mwalimu Osore, I shall comment briefly on point #88.

    The argument that Kenya’s education system is superior to the Swedish one must be based on ignorance because the two countries have very different systems. If the claim is based upon not using the English language for instruction in Sweden, then again one should remember that it is a second language for all Kenyans in general, unless within specific families that use it a native tongue. The education systems in the two countries are based on very different histories and principles.

    What is questionable within the Swedish education system especially at the basic level, is the method of teaching. Whereas Kenya’s method is rigorous and exam-based, the Swedish one seems relaxed and based on providing more chances to students to progress into the next grade. Sweden offers “social promotion” which automatically elevates all classmates to the next class, and offers remedial assistance to those lagging behind. In Kenya, “grade repetition” is almost compulsory to correct failure. Anyway, there are so many differences in both countries and we need to be particular when making comparisons.

  • Mwalimu Osore, while considering the Swedish teaching methods, school materials and teacher qualifications, I would like your views on why Swedish schools have been performing poorly for the last decade in Mathematics, compared to their counterparts in the EU and OECD.

  • Yeah Bw Odero,

    I agree with you. According to the PISA evaluations, Sweden only lands on position nr 13. when it comes to kids´, around the age of 13, ability in Maths, English and Reading Skills. My views on why Swedish Swedish schools have been performing poorly are actually corroborated by what you yourself state in comment 89.

    Based on my own experience from a swedish classroom, a Swedish pulpil/student is the most spoilt pupil/student, in the world, when it comes to taking responsibilty for one’s school work. I recall a pupil throwing around, chairs and tables in the classroom, and even wanting to physically assault me, for not giving him a pass-grade. The boy never did his home work, he never spoke English during lessons, as I insisted on only communicating in English during my English lessons. When i went to the Principal to report the boys behavior, the principal was apathetic and in fact we exchanged ideas in not so reasonable terms.

    At any event, this poor preformance of swedish pupïls/students in world rankings has its root in the days when Olof Palme was Education Minister. It was he who came up with the idea that as all human beings are equal, it is not just to grade children in the low grades. In fact Palme wanted to go so far as abolishing grades at all levels of learning. Grading their work, he argued, takes away the self confidence of those who are weak. Following this tragic reasoning, the authority of the teacher was thoroughly limited. Well, reality has caught up with the Swedish educational system, now they are embarrassed that countries like South Korea, India, China, Finland are ranked waaay ahead of Sweden.

    Whatever the case, how come that PISA evaluators never bother to include contries like Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia etc, I mean countries in the so called underdeveloped world?. Could it be that no research worth the praise has ever been registered from this regions????

    Mwalimu Osore

  • Mwalimu mtumkomanthi

    You guys (the lost lot)are too damned fellows missing the whole concept /Aims/and education goals.
    Education in Kenya and Africa was based and is still based on Slave/master relationship and you have the right to despute and even challenge my opinion.
    Apart from conforming African people from the command of English/French/Spanish and Portugues what else does the whole education system in Africa has achieved in terms of Innovation/creative education/research/higher learning institutions (universities) has ever contributed to anything be it Economicall planning/Maintaining the Colonial legacy institutions etc.
    Is there any institution in Kenya that can make a needle?
    A wheel-barrow to change a Kenyan farmer from carrying her/his burden of coffee to the factory.Why are Chinese engineers building Mammoth and huge roads in Kenya and the Cement/tarmac/Curverts are not comming from China?
    The chinese govt is just(only) bringing Machines and other heavy construction machines eg:cranes but the rest is comming from our Kenyan soil.
    Kenya need to Overhoul the whole education System intentionally based on Slave/master relationship even reforming the education system is not enough. Kenya need to radicalize the whole education system for our country to match developed countries.

  • Mwalimu Mtumkomath,

    Bravo, we are more or less talking the same language! I have heard many kenyans tell me that kenyan education is sperior to swedish education. However, in what way, nobody has ever told me. The fact of the matter is that, when it comes to education, Sweden is regarded as the land of “the educated”, I got to hear this when I was in Japan. “Ah, somebody exclaimed to me in Tokyo in 1998, you live in that country of educated people! Ofcourse she had in mind that the highest academic award, the Nobel Prize, in the world is offered by the swedes.

    We have got Ph ds, Ph ds and Ph ds in Kenya and we have got the so called free primary and even high school/university education, and yet I have to send money for my relatives school fees, both at basic and higher school levels. In Sweden where the education standard is supposed to be lower than the Kenyan standard, education expenses are footet by the tax payers. If there are tax payers in Kenya and yet their tax money does not finance the youngster’s education, you cannot surely claim that kenyan education is superior to swesdish education. What I think is that something is seriously wrong in all kenyan systems, be it education, immigration, labour etc

    On Dec 10th this year Sweden, whose education system is “inferior to the kenyan sytem” is, once again, awarding the highest prize in academia. I wait to hear when another country including kenya will award this coveted prize

    mwalimu Osore

  • Mwalimu Osore,

    Many thanks for the excellent input that refers to your own classroom experience. It’s appalling that the Swedish education system is still guided by an egalitarian approach that promotes non-competition for the sake of not affecting students’ psychological standing in competitive examinations. However, this is changing and hopefully the country will soon be among the leaders in literacy evaluation conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

    During a Swedish Radio (SR) broadcast in August 2011, a representative of the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) proposed that the government should spend between SEK 1.3 to 2 billion, to improve the skills and capabilities of mathematics teachers in Sweden. This will be achieved through collegial learning (learning from one another) and having access to experts. A Web-based platform shall also be used to facilitate the process.

    Anders Palm from Skolverket then told SR that “in primary school, students are often taught maths by sitting at their desks and working out simple problems from workbooks, a method which is viewed as counterproductive”. He explained further that “one in three high school teachers have said they don’t know exactly what students should be learning, while half of middle-school teachers have been shown to lack the right credentials”.

    The Swedish government heeded to the call to improve the poor maths performance and reported in September 2011, that SEK 2.6 (USD 404.9 million) will be invested for this purpose.

    The Minister for Education, Jan Björklund, informed the news agency TT that: “Mathematics isn’t just any subject. It is a fundamental and basic skill that is completely decisive for Sweden as an industrial nation and for our country’s prosperity”. He felt that non-qualified teachers and inadequate teaching methods were partially behind the fall in maths standards. He also said that “Students learn mechanical counting but have no idea what they are doing”. In this case the government will step in to influence teaching methods that shall be more lecture-based with more explanation from the teachers.

    A lot needs to be done from the perspective of Swedish teachers and students. For instance, there’s news on Skolverket’s homepage that more digital tools will be applied to enhance the teaching of maths. These will also allow interaction among teachers and students.

    In terms of including the developing countries in PISA evaluations, I have my reservations because the learning situations are very different. However, they already have local evaluations and later when things get standardized, can compete globally. For instance, South African students once entered a PISA evaluation and scored last on the list of participants. The reason was that the respondents were not familiar with most of the items asked, such as the ingredients used in making yoghurt. It is the same as asking Swedish students to discuss survival skills in an African village without having been there. Therefore, it is very important that when testing literacy skills, local conditions are put into consideration.

    There are other relevant educational evaluation programs being run in conjunction with UNESCO, the World Bank and other international organizations. For instance, in comment #59, I referred to the Uwezo learning assessment initiative which conducts literacy surveys in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The measuring instruments are local and evaluators investigate households in a holistic manner to capture various learning challenges among students.

    Another body that monitors and evaluates the conditions and quality of education is the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ). It is a non-profit developmental organization of 15 Ministries of Education which gets technical assistance from UNESCO and the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). Kenya is a participant.

    Developing countries just need to improve their evaluation programs and policy makers need to take the evaluation results seriously and implement them.


    Are Our Children Learning? Annual Learning Assessment Report: Kenya 2011 – http://www.uwezo.net/uploads/files/Uwezo%20Report%202011.pdf

    Billions to stop Sweden’s maths skills slide –

    Skolverket –

    Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ)

    Sweden looks to halt maths education slide –

    Uljens, M. (2007). The Hidden Curriculum of PISA –

    Click to access the_hidden.pdf

    Jared Odero

  • Jared, many mathematics teachers in Sweden lack the required teaching skills which causes the poor students’ performance in the subject. Although the country has a competent base for reseach, teaching methods within the basic to high school levels have dropped drastically in the past ten years. Many teachers need re-training if Sweden wants to score better in the PISA literacy evaluation.

  • Osore, I think Jared’s answer was clear that there is no comparison between the Kenyan and Swedish systems of education. I don’t understand why you should dwell on the matter. You, as an experienced teacher, should explain that the two systems are incomparable – apples and oranges. However, there are many weaknesses in the learning processes in Sweden, which are contributed to by teaching methods and teacher qualifications.

  • Mwalimu….i haf eaten alot of ndumas today,i think i haf constipation ,i haf not peen to the toilet for the last one week,and my stomachi is swollen,ndo u haf any atvice? Tanking u in atvance…

    Clay Onyango

  • Sweden does not have the Kenyan motto of “Education is the key to success”. With respect to the institutional autonomy allowed in school operations, the government is detached from direct administrative control. In this case, the school administrators create local rules.

    For some students, schooling is viewed as a boring process, forced, and not optional. It could explain why so many youngsters don’t bother with college or university studies, and instead take blue collar jobs. Unfortunately, some immigrant students get absorbed in this trend and drop the strict ways of schooling from their mother countries.

    Sweden is politically stable and industrialized, therefore able to participate in numerous operations to generate national wealth. There is a small clique of “A” students that maintain high standards all the way to become renowned scientists. The rest keep other sectors running. What is seen as a lack of discipline observed openly in Swedish upper primary to high school levels from the perspective of some Kenyans, is probably what makes them think education is inferior here compared to Kenya. Kenyans generally view negatively the habit of smoking and drinking alcohol among the youth, playing truancy at school, and enjoying certain freedoms. This is also why there are “free schools” in Sweden that favor certain immigrant cultures or religions, to avoid keeping children in mainstream Swedish schools.

    It’s now been announced that schools in the Stockholm Municipality will begin text message services to inform parents when their children don’t appear at school within the first 30 minutes. In a broader sense, the ongoing school reforms have hinted on many things that prove students in Swedish schools also need to work hard to improve in maths and science.

    In conclusion, I don’t think a casual discussion of “education systems” is enough to categorize which is inferior or superior, without a deeper understanding of what systems mean.

  • Hullo respected wananchi,

    Let’s shift the dialectic in a different bearing a little bit! On the one side of the equation, in Sweden, there is a yearning for qualified labour, so much so, that now talk is raging of people immigrating to sweden on the basis of their trade, to fill the multiple vacant places, on the other side of the equation, there are thousands of highly qualified immigrants without work, any logical explanation for this? I have my own explanation, but first I want to hear yours

    Mwalimu Osore

  • Hullo Ikhejeke (Clay),

    Good anecdote! you reminded me of a time when there raged a debate in Kenya as to which tribe spoke the queen’s English? Some argued that it was the Luos, as Lilian Orieny misled her swedish, husband Per, sometime back, while some argued that it was the Luyias, while some argued that the Miji Kenda tribes, because they came in touch with the first english men (already i 1753), were the best english speakers in kenya. According to former Attorney General, Charles Njonjo, himself a kikuyu, the kikuyus are, or were, during his tenure, the worst english speakers in kenya. I recall him saying in parliament in 1981, this kikuyus who say I am ngoing hom, nidhank you mnoo etc, are they teaching our children kikuyu or english?

    Charles Njonjo and Wamalwa kijana are supposed to be the two kenyans who really spoke the queen’s English. This could not be further from the truth. Let me tell you something! This is all a fallacy! When it comes to whatever language, you have to be born with the language, grow up with that language so that it manifests itself on/in the brain to the extend where the accent, intonation and phonology will never be substantially affected by outside influnces. That is when you may be said you “speak the queen’s english” your mother tongue that is.

    If you don’t agree with me then, with detached amusement, under my armpits, I laugh when I remember how my own Luyia tribesman Justice Chessoni, from Kabaras, used to say I am Chastis Chessoni, my own Bukusu classmate in Form one, in 1965, introduced himself as my name is M tapliu Napangi instead of M W Nabangi. Or I don’t forget when, I went to work for what was then National and Grindlays Bank of Kenya, on Tom Mboya Street, now Moi Avenue, one Luo George Owili asked our facilitator, what rapiiidi steps are we going to make in this bank?

    The point of contention is that a Luo, Luyia, Kikuyu, Mijikenda, Kamba etc, if you were not born in Britain and grew up there to be at twelve, matter of factly 18, you cannot speak the queen’s english. Ask Mr Dan Munala this is what we deal with

    Mwalimu Osore

    KSB: He he he Osore Ondusye ndalo mane wasomo Rangala, can you decifer this spoken by a piraimari sikul ticha in the rimbamblig ov Genya. Si wos tiching the kidis ambout load sefiti: Se seid: “Before you klos the load, ruk reft and then lait and then klos”.

  • Osore the example of who speaks the best English in Kenya should be part of pub talk, not something you bring here for educational purposes. How does it enrich our intellect?

  • Osore, you need to remember that Kenyans are conditioned by tribal bias and think that their own tribes are the best in whatever issues. Go to London and listen to the hotchpotch of English dialects among the original UK-born people, then there would be no discussion of who speaks better English in Kenya. Across USA it’s just mind-boggling; many Americans can’t even speak good English, let alone the scary dialects.

  • Osore, some of the examples you give don’t add sense pedagogically. What does it matter the accent or dialect another Kenyan has, when speaking the English language? It is not our native language and we are all bound to be influenced by our mother-tongue when speaking it. It is the official language in Kenya, but that is because of the colonial legacy.

    As a teacher, you should have referred to the deterioration of teaching levels in the English language in Kenya. As a matter of fact, a lot has changed in the quality of teaching, writing and speaking both English and Kiswahili, especially in Kenyan public schools. Many private schools still maintain high standards within these languages and produce competent students that later become renowned linguists.

    I also contest your claim that you only have to be born in Britain to speak the Queen’s English. No, you just have to go to some of the most expensive British-based schools in Kenya or a high-cost private school from childhood, and you will speak the Queen’s English. Some public schools are just as good. How come so many “wana bara” speak and write better Kiswahili than the Coastal people? Another example is right here in Sweden where many immigrants were born elsewhere but have perfected their written and spoken Swedish, you would never imagine they were foreigners. Any foreign language just needs mastering.

    Osore, this is the definition of the Queen’s or King’s English:

    “The Queen’s English refers to grammatically correct and coherent written expression in the English language. It does not refer to a specific accent, intonation or regional variation of the spoken language.”

    More information so that we end this meaningless topic:

    “Gramatically correct English. Plain, to the point, free of euphamisms, jargon, slang, inuendo, etc. There are some who deride the Queen’s English as too exacting, too demanding, and accuse it of being a tool to discredit those who may have a valid point, but lack formal education, and are inarticulate, and use slang and incorrect grammar. The answer, of course, would be to give everyone a formal education, not to reject the proper pronunciation of words.”

    From Wikipedia:

    “Received Pronunciation (RP), also called the Queen’s (or King’s) English, Oxford English or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms. RP is defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as “the standard accent of English as spoken in the south of England”, but some have argued that it can be heard from native speakers throughout England and Wales. Although there is nothing intrinsic about RP that marks it as superior to any other variety, sociolinguistic factors have given Received Pronunciation particular prestige in parts of Britain. It has thus been the accent of those with power, money and influence since the early to mid 20th century, though it has more recently been criticised as a symbol of undeserved privilege. However, since the 1960s, a greater permissiveness towards allowing regional English varieties has taken hold in education and the media in Britain; in some contexts conservative RP is now perceived negatively.”

    Queen’s English: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Queens%20English

    Received Pronunciation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_Pronunciation

  • Osore now you know that the Queen’s English has nothing to do with accent/dialect or that you must be born in Britain to speak flawless English.

  • Osore: under comment #81 you wrote “I was in form three in 1965” yet you mentioned later on # 100 that: “my own Bukusu classmate in Form one, in 1965, introduced himself as my name is M tapliu Napangi instead of M W Nabangi.”

    You must be a very confused teacher Osore. Were you in form one or form three in 1965?

  • Osore wake up! You need to stop your archaic examples and begin reading widely. Below is the example of Shiro Keziah Wachira, the Kenyan girl who scored the highest marks in English language exams globally. She was born and bred in Kenya, not Britain.

    Kenyan girl beats world in English examination

    By CHRISTINE MUNGAI, cmungai@ke.nationmedia.com
    Posted Friday, July 15 2011 at 22:24

    Shiro Keziah Wachira is extremely articulate, almost disarmingly so. She is only 16, but speaks like a person twice her age.

    The first time one meets her, one is taken aback by her eloquent and coherent speech, devoid of redundancies like “umm”, “as in”, “like” and “yaani” that characterise a typical Kenyan teenager’s speech.
    “We only speak English at home. I read everything, and that’s mostly due to the influence of my mum and dad. We have a big library in our house. I can’t really say I have a favourite genre of literature, I give anything a shot,” says Shiro.

    Her parents’ influence has certainly paid off. The former student of St Austin’s Academy, Nairobi, scored the highest marks in the world in English Language when she sat for her Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) O-level examinations in June 2010.

    She beat more than 420,000 students from all over the world.

    “The news was unexpected, but I was very proud of myself,” she says.
    Her English teacher at St Austin’s, Mr Frank Atuti, says she is an exceptional student and that her command of the English language is far beyond that of her peers.

    “I taught her for five years, from Year 7 (equivalent of Standard 7). She is very bright,” says Mr Atuti. “By Year 9 (equivalent of Form 1), she easily got bored during English lessons, so I ended up setting special work for her at a level higher than her classmates. She would help me teach some of the lessons, and sometimes even mark work from the lower classes.”

    Her teacher attributes her skill to her voracious appetite for books, saying that he shared all kinds of literature with her. They included Shakespeare’s works, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Weep Not Child, newspapers and magazines.

    “She reads very widely, regardless of genre, but her forte is in analytical skills. She is able to think abstractly, and is very clear in the way she puts things across,” Mr Atuti says.
    He says that Shiro’s writing is marked by expert word play and rich expressions.

    “At O-level, we expect fairly plain language from teenagers. I was always impressed by the way she used figurative expressions and descriptive language. I don’t remember her misspelling a word.”

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun is one of Shiro’s favourite books as she “enjoys fiction that is linked to historical events”. The work is a fictional account of the 1967-70 Biafra War in Nigeria.
    The Cambridge IGCSE examinations are taken in 135 countries. Students at more than 2,500 schools around the world do the course.

    First Language English, in which Shiro excelled, is the third most popular IGCSE subject worldwide. But her talent is not restricted to English alone. She obtained two As and seven A*s in the IGCSE examinations. The A* grade is a score of 90 per cent or more.

    Would get very bored

    As a first language speaker, English is not that fascinating in class. In my French class, I had a classmate who was French, and he would get very bored. That’s how I would feel sometimes during English lessons,” Shiro says.

    Her father is a constitutional lawyer and her mother is an accountant. Her 14-year-old brother is in Year 10 (equivalent of Form 2) at St Austin’s.

    Mr Mumo Mwendwa, the head of Academic Services Limited that manages St Austin’s and Coast Academy, says that Maina Wachira is also an A-star student following in his sister’s footsteps.

    “Admittedly, he has big shoes to fill, but we are definitely expecting big things from him,” Mr Mwendwa says.
    Shiro has no ambitions of becoming a writer though. She is currently doing her International Baccalaureate at Aga Khan Academy. She wants to study economics for her undergraduate degree.

    “I haven’t yet figured out what I want to do for my post-graduate course, but I definitely want to do economics at undergraduate level,” the girl says.


  • Osore Ondusye dominates in pub arguments with people that don’t question his intelligence and think he is the smartest human being. This section he began has shown that when it comes to writing serious academic matters, he is a big mess. He doesn’t read or understand the continuous changes in educational matters anywhere. Commentators overshadow him with intelligent contributions in all the topics he presents.

  • Hej Awinja,

    First and foremost I don’t think I am the smartest human being. I mean, a man who has studied mathematics to level 400, like me, at the university, is not particularly well equiped to regard himself as the smartest human being , For your information level 400 study of maths at the university is a fairly high level.

    Awinja, “commentetors overshadow me with intelligent contributions in all topics I present”, you say. At any event, i have not seen any comments from contributors, on your critisicing me, whatever the case,this is a lively debate, carry it on!!!!!

  • Hello Jaduong Mr Osore,
    Its been an interesting ride so far ,well l am at the moment trying to get to grips with what Dr.Odero mentioned about Ethnomathematics.We also have cases in Sweden ,of those among us who cannot even read and sign documents for lack of written skills ,however through acquisition of skills ,handed down through tradition can translate complex puzzles in to for example mechanical car repairs,dress making capabilities ,or at best repair radios.That is in itself manifest of the very simple ways to address the problem of mathematics.The internet is awash with papers and research projects as to what have been undertaken or are still being done to address what is been now termed ethnomathematics .I do believe that its in order to inform Osore , lets send him pages and pages of reasearched data so that he can be able to wade through them and be more legitimate ,as he claims .We are in the so called “mstari wa mbele”
    Ean Wuod Luo

  • Osore, the problem is that apart from your claimed knowledge in mathematics, you are not broad in encompassing other matters in education. Within the month of October alone, commentators literally thwacked you by giving in-depth analyses on topics that you presented. Being the moderator of this section (I don’t call it your blog, because yours failed to attract readers with its colorless features) which you initiated, you should research your topics before presenting them for comments. The current one on the “Queen’s English” should have been confined to pub talk as suggested.

    Wollie’s reaction with the definition of the Queen’s English was enough to explain that you did not know its meaning. Your examples are old-fashioned without understanding that as a teacher, you should read and add new knowledge. You claimed authoritatively that: “The point of contention is that a Luo, Luyia, Kikuyu, Mijikenda, Kamba etc, if you were not born in Britain and grew up there to be at twelve, matter of factly 18, you cannot speak the queen’s english.”

    Commentator #106 gave the example of a Kenyan girl who beat over 420,000 English language candidates worldwide, yet she was not born in Britain. You must understand that so far, your ideas are mediocre and should only be used among those who hero-worship you, because they think your archaic examples are so special they cannot contest them. You are a walking museum.

    I insist that commentators have overshadowed you because in every answer, they go deeper in linking your topics to pedagogical realities. You on the other hand, have no knowledge in linking arguments to available educational resources like scientific literature which includes gathered data, contemporary debates, and other realevant factors. You have only presented a few classroom examples that are subjective and not scientific. Scoring highly in your math exams is not enough proof that you are articulate in other areas of education. So far, with your rudimentary rejoinders, you are not.

    Your biggest weakness on this board is showing self-pity then cowering into a corner when challenged about your shallow approach to educational issues. You don’t read new things; meaning you are stuck with examples from the 1960s that contribute nothing to the current discourse. You have been advised before to compose your comments in a relevant way before presenting them. Instead of the subjective example of various Kenyan tribes and their accents/dialects, Wollie wrote that you should have challenged the deteriorating standards of teaching and speaking the English language in Kenya. But you could not, because you don’t read or think widely. You initiated this for African teachers, so you should be above petty examples that restrict commentators’ responses. That is why I have argued that they are smarter to broaden the Queen’s English debate beyond your deameaning example of tribal dialects. Anyway, the saying goes that: it is hard to change the habits of an old dog.

  • Osore why you get criticized is your narrow ideas. On the Queen’s English comment for example, why did you write: “Some argued that it was the Luos, as Lilian Orieny misled her swedish, husband Per, sometime back”. She might have given a personal opinion contextually, therefore common sense dictates that you should NOT have used it here. We were not present then nor is she a current commentator, so in a way you infringed upon her privacy. You have a problem with framing questions, which is probably an attribute of your mathematics background that deals with figures more than words.

    The field of education includes almost everything and not only mathematics. As mentioned by Awinja, scoring highly in math is not proof that you understand other areas. In other words, you should think outside the box. You have scored zero in your claim that only those born in Britain can speak the Queen’s English. I am glad that with accurate definitions, commentators have drilled its meaning into your brain. Your problem as mentioned by others, is you don’t read or adjust to contemporary educational changes. You are stuck to old personal shallow examples that are not challenging to the intellect. You don’t even know whether you were in Form One or Form Three in 1965, yet shout from the rooftops about your expertise in mathematics.

  • Hehehehehehe! I don’t know what is wrong with this man Osore Ondusye Mwalimu. I hope he is doing some experimental study on Kenyans who live in Sweden and their academic credentials. I do a gree with majority of the comments given by the people who are contributing on this blog. Mr. Osore has failed to prove that he is what he claims atleast on this forum.

    I thought by this time though late he would have improved on his research capacity and come up with some material that academicians can scratch their heads and think more broader. Things are getting out of hand and on the latest, I thougt Osore will come up with something more better on the English subject but still his arguements are below what I will term as someone who is serious with what he is talking about. Osore has limeted his size of processing information which is very sad.

    I thought Mwalimu will come up with something on phonological, orthographic and morphological process in English as a foreign language to those who were not born as native English speakers. This is a field where many language researchers are now trying to navigate to explain the above. They are wondering how some foreigners can speak and write a more better English or rather (foreign langauges) than the native speakers. This is a field I would have been happy to see him talk about since he mentioned my name. Thats what we work with and I would like to see how people will contribute to the above subject.

    I would recomment Osore to read a book called EUROSLA VOL II 2011 EDITED BY LEAR ROBERTS, GABRIELIE PALLOTTI AND CAMILLA BETTONI. I have the book if you want it but also you can get it at the language depart. at the Stockholm Un. I hope it will teach you more on English as a second language and the level of agreement among experts. Many of the above contributors have also tried to shade light to what is very common to many but to your knowledge I think it is a good in-put.

    Munala wa Munala.

  • The Internet is a great repository if utilized properly. I therefore agree with Tony Odera that Mwalimu Osore should access relevant material to increase his knowledge. I equally agree with Mr. Munala’s latest comment that things seem to be getting out of hand for Osore.

    I wonder whether Osore had a clear agenda when he opened the blog for African teachers because right from the start, he was criticized for its poor design and the penning of private thoughts that were not academic enough to attract commentators. I began commenting in mid-October but got little reaction from him. I expected interaction by way of follow-up, but realized he had a limited perspective in most of the topics. In the matter of why Swedish students don’t perform well in mathematics compared to others in EU countries, Osore tactfully avoided discussing the poor qualification of teachers in Sweden. This was an important topic that should have covered challenges faced by immigrant children in learning maths. His response blamed students, yet a poorly-qualified teacher contributes to a student’s poor performance. The worst was on the issue of ethnomathematics that left commentators questioning Mwalimu’s capacity to engage in academic discussions.

    I posted Chimamanda Adichie’s video for Osore to listen and understand her presentation about “the danger of a single story” which seems to be what he subscribes to, in his personal thoughts that don’t resonate with educational matters. For instance, Osore was so clear that one cannot speak the Queen’s English unless they were born in Britain. In addition, he referred to various Kenyan tribes and how their accents/dialects affected spoken English. Commentators then responded with various questions and definitions of the term “Queen’s English”.

    In my opinion, Osore had used his generation’s understanding of the concept without investigating its meaning. He even wrote about a Kenya-Stockholmer who had misled her Swedish husband in believing that the Luo were the best English language speakers in Kenya. Honestly, this was skewed and unacceptable in such a forum. We need to avoid examples that are tribal, sexist, racist and personal, especially if the persons named are not in a documented study. Who cares about Charles Njonjo’s private view about the Kikuyu accent when speaking English? How does it help education providers?

    From the definitions noted by Wollie, nothing says that only those born in Britain can speak the Queen’s English. Moreover, the term is currently derided because it’s becoming redundant. In my opinion, Osore seems to have no confidence in Kenyans’ capacity to speak grammatically correct English. However, there is proof that our own girl Shiro Kezia Wachira, led in last year’s Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) O-level English language examinations. Mwalimu should spend a moment listening to the excellent English spoken by Kenyans like lawyer Njoki Ndung’u, poet Shailja Patel, Coca-Cola executive Susan Mboya, the CEO of Kenya Human Rights Commission Muthoni Wanyeki, and Ory Okolloh of Google, among others.

    As noted by the commentators, Osore should have applied a pedagogical approach to the English language example instead of making a mockery of other tribes. He should also learn to present scientific proof when using authoritative language. But will he stop his repeated blunders? Only time will tell.

    Jared Odero

  • Osore, for comment #99, a factor affecting the entry of qualified immigrants into the Swedish employment market is racial discrimination. In a report published in the Metro newspaper a few years ago (which I cannot get at the moment), dark-skinned Africans stood the least chance of getting employed, while a dark-skinned American (from USA) had a better chance, since there is a perception that Swedes generally admire anything and anybody American. It’s a controversial allegation, but it’s been found out that the most Americanized people outside the USA are Swedes.

    As an African, you can speak the best Swedish on the phone but when you are invited to an interview (if you are lucky), your skin color sometimes betrays the qualifications you hold. There is also the spread of islamophobia that discriminates people with Middle-Eastern physical appearance, probably because of the ongoing political conflicts. Anyway my comment is just a tiny aspect in the whole equation.

    A report published by the Finance Department in 2003/2004 after a long investigation, found out that discrimination against immigrants was not only by employers, but also by employees at the employment bureau (arbetsförmedling) and social services. Acts of discrimination against job-seekers were sometimes carried out consciously or due to ignorance.

    Annika Århammar who published the report said that it was not easy to eradicate discrimination because it’s about individual people’s attitudes and understanding. It is not only racial discrimination that hinders immigrants from joining the Swedish labor market; they are also quite often categorized as a homogeneous group, regardless of their origins and personal backgrounds.

    Academically qualified foreigners also have a problem getting the right jobs because many employers lack the knowledge of interpreting their qualifications and education systems. Annika noted that the children of immigrants who have been out of employment for a long period also faced difficulties in finding work.

    When Sweden enacted a new law on December 15, 2008 to allow the recruitment of skilled workers worldwide, it was seen as a big step. It offered possibilities for migrant workers to get permanent residence permits and for the “paperless” within the country, some hope for legal stay. Even before the law was passed, there was a section of people that warned it would be misused to encourage human trafficking and the exploitation of people for free labor (non-payment of workers).

    Eric Sundström has reported in today’s issue of “Dagens Arena” (an independent online newspaper), that cases of people working under slave-like conditions are increasing, because the government did not think through the law while drafting it.

    The deregulation of labor laws has set the field free for unscrupulous employers and trade in illegal work permits. The OECD and border police have now criticized the law for its many weaknesses. During one of the episodes on Swedish Television’s program called “Agenda”, a Chinese woman narrated how she was offered heavy kitchen work for SEK 2000 (two thousand) per month, otherwise she would be sent back home.

    Sundström reported that there are a lot of problems with the new labor rules. For example, to get a work permit, the employer sends an employment invitation to the Migration Board indicating that the salary and working conditions for the potential employee, match those of the Swedish collective agreement. But the paper is not legally binding and nobody checks the salary which is paid later on. Sundström pointed on the lie by Immigration Minister Tobias Billström during the program “Agenda” that the employment invitation is binding. He added that Billström further lied that he has instructed the Board to be watchful about fake employments.

    If the salaries are not equal to the initial agreement, then the migrant workers have difficulties claiming any rights. If they are seen as troublemakers, they can lose their job and work permits. Unfortunately, the Migration Board lacks the means of controlling such situations. Another example is that of migrant workers meeting non-serious employers whose sole aim is to exploit them for cheap labor.

    In conclusion, Sundström challenged the Opposition bloc to come up with a better proposal that would give more rights to migrant workers and stop their exploitation.

    Invandrare diskrimineras på arbetsmarknaden

    Stärk arbetskraftsinvandrares rättigheter!

    Sweden relaxes labor migration rules

    True or False: Sweden is the most Americanized country in the world? http://blogs.sweden.se/expat/2011/11/06/true-or-false-sweden-is-the-most-americanized-country-in-the-world/

  • Where are you Osore where? You asked for opinion on immigrants versus the Swedish labor market that Wollie has contributed to. We now need your views as promised.

    The Swedish labor market is not yet fair to academically qualified immigrants in terms of job placement. At the policy level it feels as if the Government has good intentions, yet many employers have not adjusted to the reality that working and tax paying immigrants are better for economic grwoth, than those fed under the social welfare system.

    A few years ago a study found out that there were many foreign-trained unemployed doctors in Sweden. Around that time, the Stockholm Municipality invited a large number of Polish medical doctors to get intensive training in the Swedish language for six months then get employed as doctors. Another example is there are many trained pharmacists who have left Sweden for England after being educated by taxpayers’ money, yet end up as taxi drivers.

    It is therefore necessary that a certain level of affirmative action be imposed to employ immigrants according to their qualifications. There should be more training places and quick validation of foreign certificates then Swedish language training. It takes a medical student in Sweden 15 years to be a specialist doctor. In this case immigrants need to face less bureaucracy to ensure their inclusion in specialized jobs without compromising comptence.

    Here’s an interesting view in Swedish on how quick foreign trained doctors need to get employed: http://www.newsmill.se/artikel/2011/05/18/invandrade-l-kare-m-ste-snabbt-f-b-rja-arbeta

  • Stop it Just simle as that>To compare Kenya education System and Sweden is like comparing Day and nights!
    Ama Kifo na Usingizi!

  • Osore you are needed to answer about immigrant challenges in the Swedish labor market; a topic you began on November 1. You cannot be the busiest man in Stockholm not to communicate with the commentators.

  • Naturally the Swedish employment market is full of racist apologists who will use all barriers to block immigrants even if they are qualified and can speak good Swedish. Your skin color determines where you live in Sweden regardless of how much money you have. There are lots of proof from documented TV shows with hidden cameras revealing serious racism in all sectors in Sweden. Go and investigate if you don’t believe it.

  • Osore Onduasye must be a primitive African to pretend he is a trained teacher yet has no knowledge of what is happening in Kenya, let alone Africa. He has no idea about Kenyan education or politics. I don’t know him in person, but think he is a liar from what I have read many times here. How can Osore create a blog where he can’t answer questions or write tangible experiences? He has no knowledge of current affairs either. Is this the result of his educational training in USA and Sweden? Disappointing! A shame about his lies on ethnomathematics and the bullcrap example of the Queen’s English.

  • Can anybody tell us how good Osore is as a teacher? Can any of his former so called students tell us how smart he is in the classroom? His comments here don’t match any good teacher training.

  • Thanks Kenya Education system ! The country has produced very highly qualified Religious clerics to preach how Kenyans are sinners and must repent so that when they die their spirits will see god and their names will be written in Gods file.
    (black book!
    Thanks for this system that has produced right -wing religious fanatics and fundamentalists. We shall see where this system will end .

  • Ethnic discrimination in Swedish labour market

    Considerable ethnic discrimination exists in the Swedish labour market, which cannot be explained solely by human capital factors, such as education or language skills. Discrimination can also be generated at community and institutional level. To help solve employment discrimination, information campaigns should focus particularly on people making recruitment decisions.

    Evidence of migrant non-integration

    Recent research from Sweden shows that there is extensive ethnic discrimination in the labour market. In Sweden today, approximately 11.5% of the total population were born abroad. The largest groups of migrants are Finnish and other Scandinavian nationalities, followed by residents of former Yugoslavia, and Bosnian, Iraqi, Iranian, Polish, Turkish, Chilean and Lebanese people. Migrants, particularly non-European migrants, have higher unemployment rates and lower wages.

    Of the two waves of immigration – the labour immigration from the 1940s to the early 1970s, and the refugee immigration since then – migrants from the latter group have had the most difficulty integrating into the Swedish labour market. However, the labour immigrants who came to Sweden years earlier are, on average, less educated than the refugee immigrants. This strongly suggests that human capital factors alone do not explain the non-integration of migrants. The gap between native Swedes and migrants remains in unemployment rates and wage income, even when various background factors are controlled.
    Moreover, these differences persist for second-generation migrants or adopted children; this strongly suggests that other traits (such as skin colour or ethnicity) play a role in discrimination, in addition to the so-called ‘Sweden-specific human capital’ (such as language skills and cultural competence). It also implies that there is direct and transparent ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labour market. For those whose parents were both born in a non-European country, the unemployment risk is 11 percentage points higher than for those with two Swedish-born parents.

    Three mechanisms of exclusion

    Three mechanisms of exclusion are identified as particularly significant: stereotypical thinking (so-called statistical discrimination: e.g. ‘All Turks are…’); segregation of networks of native Swedes and migrants (networks are based on ethnicity); and institutional discrimination. In the latter, institutional settings have intended or unintended discriminating consequences for certain ethnic groups. These three mechanisms are interrelated in many ways, which means that a holistic approach is needed when thinking about possible solutions.

    Stronger social integration, i.e. a fusion of networks of migrants and of native Swedes, is likely to reduce the power of ethnic stereotypes. The crucial policy problem that must be solved, therefore, is how to create a closer integration between different ethnic networks (which is not the same as arguing that migrants should be assimilated into native Swedish society and culture). To that end, it is argued that there should be a policy aimed at counteracting the emergence and consolidation of ethnic enclaves in urban areas.

    Key role of gatekeepers

    Certain key actors (such as foremen or work managers) hold ‘gatekeeper’ positions in the labour market and may discriminate against migrants in two ways:

    • by making recruitment decisions based on stereotypical, often prejudiced, beliefs about group-specific characteristics;

    • by choosing people whom they know or who are recommended by people they know (i.e. only using their own networks).

    For example, a foreman in Volvo’s large car factory in Gothenburg said:

    ‘You could put it like this, as a foreman you’ll get a lot of preconceived ideas about immigrants, and about certain immigrant groups. Because it is always the fact…that if you have had two persons of a nationality that haven’t been good, then I, as a foreman, do not want to have two new ones of the same nationality (Augustsson, 1996, p. 81, according to Rydgren, 2004).’

    In other words, immigrants are treated as a homogeneous group, while native Swedes are, implicitly or explicitly, seen as a much more heterogeneous group. To address this perception, information campaigns and education about other ethnicities should, in particular, be directed towards people in gatekeeper positions, as they may discriminate against migrants, often without being aware of it.


    Rydgren, J., ‘Mechanisms of exclusion: Ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labour market’, in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies , Vol. 30, 4, July 2004, pp. 697-716.

    The study was conducted within a larger project (The European dilemma: Institutional patterns of ‘racial’ discrimination ), financed by the European Union’s Fifth Programme.

    The entire article can be found in: IngentaConnect Mechanisms of exclusion: Ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labour market.


  • ‘Sweden can’t afford to lose clever immigrants’
    Published: 7 Nov 11 11:27

    Sweden can’t afford to keep discriminating against those living in the suburbs and thereby missing out on the payback of years of investment in education and skills, journalist Carlos Rojas argues.

    The story of my group of friends is not unique among those groups of friends raised in a “million homes” area (miljonprogrammet, referring to the one million homes that were built in the 60s and 70s to house Sweden’s increasing population).

    We were six, all born in Sweden, or arriving as toddlers. All except myself hold university degrees, and Sweden has thus invested in our healthcare, pre-school, elementary school, high school and university.

    Now half of us are gone, emigrated. For a while I was the last one left, but two have returned. The other three will most likely stay outside Sweden’s borders and thus be resources lost to our society.

    They are Swedes, but were never viewed as such. At least not in the same way as other Swedes. At least not by others. It led to a complex self image, but above all to the situation that they didn’t get the jobs they, according to all statistics, should have got considering their academic achievements.

    We in Sweden have long sought to simplify the higher unemployment rate among immigrated citizens, an issue which has resurfaced after Statistics Sweden’s (Statistiska Centralbyrån – SCB) labour market report for the second quarter that was released recently. I would argue that this is a form of discrimination which has much more to do with where you live than what has been admitted.

    In Botkyrka municipality, south of Stockholm, this becomes apparent if you compare the areas Fittja and Tullinge.

    The employment rate among women born abroad is 42 percent in Fittja, and for women born in Sweden in the same area it is 52 percent. In Tullinge on the other hand, it is as high as 60 percent for women born abroad, and 72 percent for women born in Sweden.

    The figures show that while international background plays a part, where you live is at least as important.

    It is unsustainable that Swedes are treated differently and many times disrespectfully because of their national and international roots. The effect of this won’t be any London riots. The effect will be that people will close up shop and leave.

    The contempt isn’t as explicit here, and when for example a police officer calls someone in Rosengård (an area in Malmö with a high percentage of immigrants) “apajävel” (litterally “damn ape”) it results in a form of hullabaloo that signals that society doesn’t accept contempt. That makes it difficult for violence to escalate.

    But to exclude people from the jobs market because they are who they are, is also a form of contempt. And no one puts their foot down against that.

    When there are no signs indicating change, many will look to the alternative of finding a society that suits them better. My friends who’ve moved abroad have stayed there much because they are seen as resources there, in countries as diverse as Chile, Italy and China.

    In a clip SVT news programme “Aktuellt”, broadcast in connection with the SCB report they interviewed a guy from Rinkeby (one of the “million homes” areas outside Stockholm). I will never forget his words: “I want to make Rinkeby a better place. Try to make people understand that we are just like everyone else, and can get jobs like everyone else, like ordinary people.”

    Ordinary people. Should he have to take responsibility to be seen and treated as an ordinary human being? Or should those with power over his life by having the opportunity to hire him do so?

    For me the answer is obvious. Because I have a sound view of human beings, but also because I have a knowledge of basic maths and I can read forecasts. Such as the one from SCB which shows that almost 10 percent of Sweden’s population in the year 2060 will be older than 80 years, compared with slightly over five percent today. All this during a prevailing population increase.

    If we don’t all copulate freely we will surely need to increase immigration during the coming half century. And if we can’t even get the ones that have immigrated to stay, how will we then get others to want to come?

    There is no alternative. We have to change our approach now.

    Carlos Rojas is a journalist and the founder of an initiative which aims for change in the “Million homes” areas of Swedish cities. He was also one of the founders of prize-winning magazine Gringo which had some impact in the Swedish debate in the mid-2000s.

    This article was originally published in Swedish in the Aftonbladet daily.

  • Those who doubt the creativity of Kenyans in science should read the following stories of our amateur inventors and innovators who understand our local needs.

    Plenty of Ingenious Inventions as Universities Hold Exhibition in Nyeri
    By SATURDAY NATION Correspondent, 26 March 2010

    Nairobi — A wealth of untapped knowledge went on display during the eighth exhibition by Kenyan universities, organised by the Commission for Higher Education in Nyeri this week.

    The exhibition, which ends Saturday, brought together 34 universities and university colleges across the country under the theme: “Focusing on Quality and Relevance.”

    Two such displays were striking: The University of Eastern Africa, Baraton’s extracting biodiesel from algae, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology’s ambitious project to fight counterfeits.

    With the world tilting towards green energy, scientists across the world are exploring a number of alternative sources to power the global industrial engine. Top on the list is bio-diesel, extracted from plants like sunflower, jatropa, and maize.

    According to Erick Onkoba of Baraton’s industrial chemistry department, these sources could risk the lives of millions of starving people across the globe by diverting food crop and millions of acres of agricultural land to energy farming.

    Which makes algae, a greenish water plant, a precious source of biodiesel. “It is cheap, easily available, and clean,” says Onkoba. Any Kenyan farmer with an eye on the future, he says, should seriously consider algae farming. With an initial capital of as little as Sh1,000, one can fill up a 10 square metres with enough algae to make several litres of biodiesel.

    At the JKUAT, Calvine Ominde, a PhD student, explains the futility of the Central Bank of Kenya using water marks to prove its bank notes are genuine. He quickly demonstrates that counterfeiters have already found a way around much of authenticity markers in Kenya. His solution? Using laser to burn a counterfeit-proof mark on all genuine products in a process called holography.

    The technology is yet to land on the Kenyan shores, but according to the PhD student, it is the high time anti-counterfeiters put their money on it. “Unlike the water mark, a hologram is difficult to counterfeit because it is a more precise, is three dimensional, and the sheer costs involved could put off potential counterfeiters,” explains Calvine.

    Calvine and his two PhD supervisors, Dr Geoffrey Rurimo and Dr George Nyakoe, reckon they can help local companies come up with cheaper holographs using locally available materials.

    Kenyans racing ahead with small-scale alternative energy inventions
    09 Jun 2010 12:47

    Source: alertnet // AlertNet correspondent

    By Geoffrey Kamadi

    NYERI, Kenya (AlertNet) – A bicycle wheel, an assortment of mirrors and a ball of string seem unlikely components for a piece of cutting edge green technology.

    But this unwieldy-looking ‘solar concentrator’ is the latest product in a renewable energy revolution spreading across Kenya.

    Amateur inventor Peter Irungu Mwathi came up with the idea as a way of providing farmers with cheap heat without the need to burn wood from forests.

    Consisting of square mirrors arranged on a curving metal frame that measures 4 feet by 6 feet, the solar concentrator reflects the sun’s rays onto a container a couple of metres away, heating the contents.

    The heat can enable farmers to sterilise soil in preparation for planting seedlings – a job usually done by burning wood on top of the earth. Farmers can also heat water or roast their produce, such as nuts or coffee beans.


    Mwathi, a 40-year-old agricultural economist by trade, was inspired by memories of his mother bent double collecting firewood in the bush in his home village of Gichira.

    “I made a mental note in my young years to do something about what we went through,” he said.

    The downside is that at $250 each, a solar concentrator costs around a third of the average income in Kenya. Although Mwathi allows farmers to buy in installment payments of $62 each, the cost is still a prohibitively large outlay for many.

    In the last seven months since Mwathi started producing the solar concentrators, just five farmers in and around Gichira village have bought one.

    Ruth Gathii, a 50-year-old farmer from neighbouring Mukuru-ini district, plans to buy a concentrator to roast her macadamia nuts. Gathii, who has two grown up children, says the raw nuts from her two-acre farm fetch 56 cents a kilogram. Roasting them herself would allow her to charge more.

    Part of what is driving her desire for a solar concentrator is the increasing scarcity of wood.

    “There are no forests to collect firewood from anymore,” said the mother of two. “Firewood vendors overcharge because of the scarcity of the commodity.”

    Mwathi hopes to expand his project, and lower the costs, by training young people to make the solar devices. He has approached Kenya’s Ministry of Youth Affairs to see if they will support the project.


    Kenya has a growing demand for home-grown solar gadgets, which are currently imported and incur high taxes.

    While Mwathi is busy harnessing the sun’s energy, Simon Mwacharo, a fellow inventor, is focusing on another natural energy source: the wind.

    The 45-year-old designs and installs wind turbines at Craftskills Enterprises on the outskirts of Nairobi using locally available raw materials such as scrap metal.

    With the help of his employees, Mwacharo is putting the final touches to a 10 kilowatt wind turbine, destined for Nigeria’s Delta state at a cost of $47,500.

    His aim, he said, is “to light up Africa.”

    Mwacharo, a father of four, made his first wind turbine at the age of four, using tin sheeting, twigs and an 8-volt motor from a broken-down radio. The turbine lit the bulb of a hand-held torch for weeks.

    He grew up in a village in the Taita Hills in Kenya’s Coast Province, buffeted by strong winds from the Nyika Plateau.

    “One day I witnessed a gust of wind yank away the iron sheet roofing of three classrooms as well as the trusses and rafters, all made of blue gum tree,” he recalled.


    He believes wind-generated power is the best and cheapest option for many households in Kenya, especially for villages not on the electricity grid. A World Bank study found that households in slums and villages without electricity in Kenya spend up to $100 a year on kerosene, batteries and candles to light their homes.

    In Chifiri, near Bura in eastern Kenya, a Craftskills turbine powers a water pump that filters 422 litres of water an hour from a brackish pond. It is the only source of water for 500 villagers.

    Kenyans are increasingly willing to invest in clean energy technology, said Daniel Macharia, regional project manager of the Global Village Energy Partnership, an international organisation that supports small enterprises in the energy sector.

    The pace of Kenya’s green revolution is gathering. In recognition of the government’s commitment to green energy the World Bank approved a $330 million loan in late May to help the country invest in renewable energy.

    Meanwhile, small-scale projects springing up in different corners of the country are testament to a growing recognition among rural communities that the best way to get energy is through renewable sources.

    Philip Musyoki, a 49-year-old subsistence farmer from Tala district, east of Nairobi, joined forces with his two brothers to buy and install a 1.8 kilowatt Craftskills wind turbine to power their homes in Kyakatulu village.

    The brothers spent $750 to buy the turbine.

    “The wind turbine now caters for the electricity needs of a combined 22 rooms from the three houses,” Musyoki said with delight.

    He believes it has saved them more than $40 a month compared with what they would have spent on paraffin and radio batteries.

    Raveen Mbithi, a teacher at a primary school near Ol Doinyo Sabuk, outside Nairobi, is already getting a return on her investment in a 700 watt turbine installed in late 2008.

    She runs an energy kiosk for the local community, charging a small fee to recharge mobile phones and car batteries, which are used to power electrical devices in homes and businesses.

    She calculates that the turbine allows her to bring in about $5.60 a day in extra income from charging about 10 mobile phones and three solar or car batteries a day.

    “All renewable energy technologies require high upfront capital expenditures,” said Macharia of the Global Village Energy Partnership. “But in the long run they provide cheap energy.”

    Geoffrey Kamadi is a freelance Kenyan journalist based in Nairobi. He has written widely on science and health issues for local newspapers as well as online publications. This article was produced by Panos London

  • OECD’s PISA: A Tale of Flaws and Hubris

    by Heinz-Dieter Meyer — December 19, 2013

    This commentary discusses the latest PISA results, and criticizes the influence of the OECD upon global education discourse.

    In the latest math-focused PISA survey, Shanghai, Singapore, and Korea top the rankings, bumping three-time leader Finland to 12th place, with Massachusetts and Connecticut (which were assessed separately for the first time) scoring significantly above the US average.

    Responding to the US’s overall average performance, secretary of education Arne Duncan repeated his wake-up call of three years ago, calling on Americans to “face the brutal truth that we’re being out-educated.” PISA organizer Andreas Schleicher commented that the US education continues to tread water while Brazil, Germany, Poland, Singapore, and Shanghai have all pulled ahead.

    The hand wringing about failing schools, sagging economic competitiveness, and the urgency of radical educational reform was repeated the world over. The Times Higher Education saw ‘East Asia on the Rise” and for the Guardian PISA proved that UK students still lag behind the rest of the world. In low-ranking Mexico the crisis mood was even more pronounced. Newspapers announced that PISA “shows a failed education system.” And Mexico’s president Nieto commented, in perfect OECD-speak, “that the conditions of education in Mexico are still far from what our students need and deserve to compete and triumph in a world that is increasingly more demanding and that requires higher competitiveness.”


    Apart from Finland’s sudden tumble to 12th rank (difficult to explain given the country made no changes to its education practice or policy), the most eye-popping problem raised by the PISA rankings is that it derives all its rhetorical thunder from a profoundly skewed comparison. A majority of large, complex, ethnically or culturally heterogeneous education systems are held up to a deceptive comparison with a group of small city- and nation stations that are culturally homogeneous, and often politically authoritarian. Large and unwieldy systems like the United States (scoring 481), UK (494), France (495), Italy (485), Spain (484), are compared to spic-and-span city states like Singapore (scoring 573), whose government enjoys such arbitrary powers as the imposition of jail sentences on people who spit or chew gum in public.

    The top group also includes Liechtenstein (PISA score 535), a “country” the size of Staten Island, sporting the highest per capita income in the world, with a total population of 35,000 and a high school population that would fit snugly into a single American urban high school.

    Other top performers include Hong Kong (561), Macao (538) and, of course, Shanghai, accepted by OECD for the second time without question as the Chinese entry into PISA.

    If we set these (quasi) city-states aside, the distance between the group of top performing countries and the group of alleged educational mediocrities like the US shrinks from a 120 point average to a 60 point average. If we further leave Korea and Japan aside to focus on Western democracies only, we find that high performing Canada (518), Germany (518), and Australia (504) outperform the putative educational laggards like the UK (494), France (495), or US (481) by some 20 or 30 points.

    In other words, when comparing like with like, the differences shrink from a headline grabbing 120 points to a fairly unspectacular 20-30 points—roughly equivalent to the fluke point-loss sustained by three-time PISA darling Finland—a country that did not change its education practices or policies!


    That the likes of Liechtenstein and Singapore are to the real world of public education what Disneyland is to a gritty urban playground is not the only problem confounding PISA results. Another problem is that top-performance in PISA also clusters around cultural and political idiosyncrasies which liberal democracies are unlikely to want to emulate.

    Governments that get away with heavy fines for spitting and banning chewing gum (Singapore) or with jailing academics who call for more democracy (a word that drew a blank when I googled it in the library of Peking University a few years ago) naturally can wield educational clubs of a size that democratic nations lack. The effectiveness of these clubs is further magnified by long cultural habituation to cramming, all decisive make-or-break-entrance exams, and a system of shadow education that leave students little or no leisure time.

    Thus we know that 88% of South Korean elementary school students and 61% of students in high schools receive private tutoring in cram schools. Private tutoring in South Korea represents 2.3% of GDP, equal to half the public education expenditures. In fact, while PISA holds Korea, Japan and Shanghai up to the rest of the world, many Koreans, Chinese, or Japanese take a much dimmer view of their schools, with their need for heavy out-of-school tutoring and the associated problems of depression, suicide, and a pervasive stifling of students’ academic self-motivation (Heyneman, 2013).

    As someone who went to school in Germany when teachers there held unquestioned authority, I was amazed how the absence of that authoritarian attitude made the job of American teachers that much more difficult. On my visits to schools in China I have seen a mentality of collective docility much closer to my experience in Germany than in the US. With obedient students, teachers don’t need to spend time on discipline or “classroom management.” And while much of what we observe in the Eastern educational tradition is admittedly intriguing and enviable—deep respect for learning, reverence for the role of the teacher, and filial piety—these features often come on the back of less enviable characteristics like unquestioned obedience to authority, limits on free speech, and acceptance of paternalistic government we would be unwilling and unable to emulate.

    This tradeoff between individual liberty and efficiency is routinely ignored, as the US and other of the alleged educational mediocrities are held up for comparisons to Shanghai, Singapore, or Korea. So let’s remind ourselves that as citizens of liberal democracies we give up a degree of orderliness and efficiency for the sake of the freedom of individuals to think for themselves, express their thoughts without fear, and self-organize in voluntary associations. That is part of the preparation for civic self-government that our schools are charged with and our courts regularly uphold. Despotic governments do not face these tradeoffs. They can literally “shanghai” their people into working overtime in preparation for a presumably all important test (Zhao & Meyer, 2013). And while the result may be higher test scores in 9th grade math, there is no proof that those advantages translate into greater ability to come up with novel ideas and take risks in their pursuit—all features of an entrepreneurial attitude needed for economic prosperity. On the contrary, there is evidence that PISA success and entrepreneurial attitudes are inversely related (Zhao & Meyer, 2013). Nor is there any proof that whatever academic advantage the 15-year old inhabitants of authoritarian city states may enjoy carries over into higher education.

    In fact, insiders often describe higher education in countries like Korea or Japan as marred by de-motivated students whose curiosity and ability for self-guided study has been numbed by years of high-stress drill. In a paper on Korea’s “examination wars” Korean sociologist Hae-Jong Cho reports that university courses “in liberal arts and social sciences that require analytical and critical thinking confuse and frustrate them endlessly. They are particularly annoyed by questions which do not have definite answers” (Heyneman, 2013, p. 297).


    But the din about changes in rankings is masking the even more profound problem that in the wake of 15 years of PISA assessments, democratically elected national authorities are increasingly ceding control over their schools to an unelected, unaccountable body of OECD experts.

    “PISA has become accepted as a reliable instrument for benchmarking student performance worldwide” is the conclusion of a recent OECD study on PISA’s global effect (Breakspear, 2010, p. 4). This goes beyond the well-publicized cases of “PISA shock” that led countries like Germany and Japan to better align their curricula with PISA requirements. The OECD study found that almost all 60+ governments used PISA to change their assessment and curriculum in order to “include PISA-like competencies.” As the US representative on the PISA-Board put it: “PISA has been assessed, along with other frameworks, in the formation of the new Common Core Standards” (p. 24), which now includes a strong emphasis on “reading competence” in decoding technical manuals and newspaper articles at the expense of understanding and interpreting works of literary merit.

    There is little question that through PISA the OECD is reshaping the curriculum of public schools and the norms by which we judge them. The question is: should they?

    The core of OECD’s mission has always been the growth of market economies, a mission that is safeguarded by member nations’ finance and economics ministers who govern the organization. In the course of the 1990s OECD has increasingly adopted a course of what critics call a neoliberal agenda of replacing public institutions with market mechanisms. Where international organizations like the United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) or TIMSS (Trends in International Math and Science Study) can claim a plausible mandate in matters of education, the OECD’s educational involvement is largely self-anointed, an appendix to its mission of capitalist market expansion.

    Nor have we seen the end of it, as OECD is working on expanding its PISA franchise. In the next few years, the PISA brand will be complemented by several additional assessments like TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey), PIAAC (Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies), and AHELO (Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes). As the OECD seems hell-bent on assessing every square-inch of the educational globe, global education will soon resemble Bentham’s panopticon, in which education from pre-school to university is made transparent so that deviations from the global norm can be assessed—and sanctioned—with ease by a single human intelligence.

    Looking at the overall effect of OECD’s self-selected expansion into public education, its main achievement may well be the transformation of the global education discourse. Framed by PISA, which OECD officials see as a “measurement of the flow of human capital into the economy” (Sellar & Lingard, 2013, p. 194), public education is less and less treated as a civic and cultural and increasingly seen as an economic project, a training ground for economic fitness.

    OECD has become a global education authority with the ability to develop and impose “consensual knowledge about how the world works” and to change “the thinking of the people” (Wolfe, 2008, p. 41). With its increasingly exclusive monopoly on presumably objective educational data, OECD’s ability to “influence the running of societies is really, really good” as one OECD official put it (Sellar & Lingard, 2013, p. 196).

    But while it is effectively influencing educational practice around the world, its policy and assessment regime is largely beyond the reach of democratic publics. Therefore, OECD’s PISA regime poses not only an educational, but also a political problem. The educational problem is one of global narrowing and homogenizing educational practices, and endangering valuable cultural diversity. The political problem involves a profound challenge to democracy due to a widening gap “between the totality of those affected by a political decision and those who participated in making it” (Held, 1995, p. ix).

    To date, the education research community has taken PISA and OECD’s legitimacy largely at face value, duly dissecting the data it provided and debating policy options. It may be time to question OECD’s involvement in public education more fundamentally.


    Breakspear, S. (2012). The policy impact of PISA. OECD Education Working Paper 71. Paris: OECD.

    Held, D. (1995). Democracy and the global order. New York: Polity Press.

    Heyneman, S. P. (2013). The international efficiency of American education: The bad and the not-so-bad news. In Heinz-Dieter Meyer & Aaron Benavot (Eds.), PISA, power, and policy: The emergence of global educational governance (279-302). Oxford, UK: Symposium.

    Sellar, S. & Lingard, B. (2013). PISA and the expanding role of the OECD in global educational governance. In Heinz-Dieter Meyer & Aaron Benavot (Eds.), PISA, power, and policy: The emergence of global educational governance (185-224). Oxford, UK: Symposium.

    Wolfe, R. (2008), From reconstructing Europe to constructing globalization: The OECD in historical perspective. In Rianne Mahon and Stephen McBride (Eds.), The OECD and transnational governance (25-42). Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.

    Zhao, Y. & Meyer, H. D. (2013). High on PISA, low on entrepreneurship? What PISA does not measure. In Heinz-Dieter Meyer & Aaron Benavot. PISA, power, and policy: The emergence of global educational governance (267-278). Oxford, UK: Symposium.

    Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: December 19, 2013
    http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17371, Date Accessed: 1/11/2014 8:52:30 AM

  • Alganesh Messele

    Dear Mr. Ondusye,

    My name is Alganesh Messele. I am an African-born Swedish citizen and have been living in the UK for the last 14 years. I am currently preparing a research proposal and i would like to learn more about the work you do in helping African children education.

    Thank you.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards

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