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Pupil absenteeism and indiscipline to blame for poor performance

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Updated Tue, June 22nd 2010 at 00:00 GMT +3

By BEAUTTAH OMANGA

The Ministry of Education has released a report detailing the causes of poor performance in national examinations in schools.

The survey identifies the ills among them lack of assistance in doing homework mainly by fathers, a shortage of teachers, teachers’ academic qualifications, pupil absenteeism and indiscipline in schools.

From right, Education Minister Sam Ongeri, Acting PS Magdalene Wambua, Education Secretary George Godia and Kenya National Examinations Council CEO Paul Wasanga during the launch of the report on learners’ achievements. [PHOTO: boniface okendo/STANDARD]

Releasing the findings, Monday, the Education Minister Sam Ongeri also pointed an accusing finger at some officials including povincial directors of education and teachers who walked to lower classes "as if they were going to a political rally".

Prof Ongeri said some education official were not keen on their inspection duties and merely visited schools for the sake of it.

"I am concerned even in my own meetings some PDEs have a notoriety for absenteeism, which is now being reflected in the manner they conduct education matters in their provinces," said the minister.

Geometrical sets

The report by the Kenya National Examination Council established 45 per cent of pupils had inadequate desks and 48 per cent did not have geometrical sets or rulers. Another 47 per cent could not access wall maps while 41 per cent did not have library books. The only materials indicated as adequate were chalk and teachers’ guides.

The ministry admits none of the schools, except those in Nairobi, had achieved the actual number of teachers as required.

"In all the other provinces, the shortage in terms of teacher establishment was 12 per cent and above. This implies teachers in most schools are handling large classes," said the Ongeri.

The survey, carried out in 328 schools from 156 districts in all provinces, also found out that 64 per cent of teachers in lower classes posses the P1 teaching certificate.

Central and Nairobi provinces have the highest proportions of degree holders at 21 per cent, and 18 per cent, while North Eastern province has the highest proportion of Bachelor of Education degree holders.

Findings also show only 51 per cent of the pupils reported receiving parental assistance in doing their homework. Most of this help was from siblings at 43 per cent, while mothers followed at 36 per cent. Only 17.3 per cent of the fathers helped with homework. "Fathers’ input to their children’s education is wanting. It is a total mess that fathers do not bother to assist their children," said the minister as he called for a change.

Pupil indiscipline

All the regions reported pupil absence from school, with Coast leading at 79 per cent followed by Eastern with 74 per cent, and Nairobi and Western at 73 per cent. North Eastern Province recorded the lowest rate at 40 per cent followed by Central at 59 per cent.

On the prevalence of pupil indiscipline, between 90 to 100 per cent of teachers responded affirmatively that disciplinary problems existed in their schools. The highest reported cases were in Western Province at 100 per cent followed by Nairobi and Nyanza at 99 per cent.

In the literacy test, girls performed better than boys with a mean score of 303.91 out of a possible 500. Boys had a mean score of 291.3. The boys, however, had a slightly higher mean score of 296.4 in numeracy test compared to the girls at 294.8.

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