THE ANNUAL EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT REPORT; WHY IS IT HTAT THE QUALITY OF OUR FREE PRIMARY EDUCATION CONTINUES TO DETERIORATE? By Mungai.

At the moment the matter of constitution is the single dearest things that have preoccupied our leaders and politicians. It is the subject issue; talkabout of the day as other more pressing issues takes the backstage. Our purported leaders have bruised themselves with campaigns of whether to adopt the proposed draft constitution, or, totally reject it while others are still cooling for the negotiations.

Constitution debates have ranked the air, be it in normal discussions or bartalks.Even our media outlets are totally awash with the headlines. It a debate we cannot just sweep under the carpet but the unfortunate part of it is that it is making other pressing issues to be sidelined.

Take for instance the recent educational annual learning assessment study report which was released recently of which it didn’t grab major media news headlines although it was of more importance to the Kenyans. The report just went under as it had surfaced and our leaders could not spare a thought over it because of the politics of constitution.

According to the report titled “uwezo” one out of ten standard eight pupils cannot solve a standard two mathematic problem, the study showed. And 30% of standard 5 would fail the same problem while only 20% of standard 2 pupils will be able to solve it. A third of the children in standard 2 can only recognize numbers, but would be at sea if asked to perform basic calculations on the same figures.But, it is not gloom because the pupils can handle the numbers much better if they are asked to apply them in real life and are given real examples to work with rather than abstract figures.

The finding may be pointing to the need to relate mathematic concept to the real life situation, and reducing the abstract nature of mathematics depicted in the curriculum, in favor of the application, says the report. It is also found out that, for every 1000 pupils in standard 8, 50 cannot read a story intended for standard 2.And 1n out of 4 children in standard 5 cannot make sense on the same story if they were asked to read it.

Only a third of children in standard 2 can read a paragraph set for their level. Painting a green picture of the situation in Kenyan school in spite the progress made in enrollment under the free primary education programme suggests that the increase in enrollment levels due to F.P.E does not translate to an increase in knowledge levels or, the quality of education.

But why is it that the quality of our free education continues to deteriorate despite the government and donor’s heavy investment into it? What are the solutions and what is the government’s education strategic plan?

It is a pity that the report draws a grim picture of the real situation behind the free primary education since it was initiated by the government. It paints a picture of how deteriorating our primary education has become the mostly affected are the government public schools.

According to most educational pundit, where the government introduced F.P.E,it went for the quantity, but it didn’t consider to improve the quality of education. The influx of the pupils stretched and pushed to the pupil’s ratio which didn’t correspond with existing schools, plus the facilities that these schools could offer.Thus, this leads to over enrollment and on the part of the teachers they were over burdened as they had to cater and handle many people.

Government didn’t consider to employ more teachers to breach the students-teachers ratio. This report clearly point that this poor performance was occasioned by the perennial shortage of teachers in Kenyan school which the study put 4 teachers short at a given time. Thus low morale starts to creep in.

And, this contributing factor continues to rain havoc and deterioration of the free primary education.

The report concludes that many children in primary schools, including those in upper classes cannot read, write or perform numerical calculations they should ideally be doing at their level. These low performances may be affecting performances at higher levels and inability to read which should be acquired in every primary grades could be a problem to even students in secondary schools.

The researchers say the problem can be solved by both parents and teachers working more closely with children too establish their weaknesses and solve them early enough.

The assessment covered 2030 public primary schools, about 10% with researchers interviewing pupils from 40386 household from 70 districts. The bulk of the pupils for the research were in standard 2ss, the age at which researchers says a child begins to understand and combine figures as well as use words to form sentences.

Introspectively it is a serious issue which negates the basic fundamental equation which needs to be addressed accordingly and fully.


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