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Pupil-teacher ratio now more worrying, says Education CS Jacob Kaimenyi

By Rawlings Otieno | Published Wed, May 7th 2014 at 00:00, Updated May 7th 2014 at 00:03 GMT +3

By Rawlings Otieno

Nairobi, Kenya: Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi regretted that the pupil-teacher ratio at primary and secondary schools has become worse since the inception of the free primary education.

“The pupil–teacher ratio is one measure of assessing progress towards education for all. Due to financial constraints, we have not been able to meet the international standard. In many schools the ratio is above 42:1, with as high as 85:1,” said Kaimenyi.

On average, pupil to teacher ratio at primary schools moved from 44:1 in 2007 to 45:1 in 2010 against target of 42:1.

The CS made the remarks during the official launch of the Education For All, Global Monitoring Report prepared by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) at a Nairobi Hotel Tuesday.

The report indicates that globally, the average pupil-teacher ratio, has barely changed at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels.

It is expected that by 2015 at least 70 per cent of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, reach gender parity in primary enrolment.

The 2013/2014 report states that ensuring equal quality education for all can generate huge economic rewards, increasing a country’s gross domestic product per capita by 23 per cent over the next 40 years.

Train the best

To achieve good quality education for all, governments must provide enough trained teachers and focus their teacher policies on meeting the needs of the disadvantaged, shows the report.

Kaimenyi maintained that the Government would continue to recruit more teachers who are well qualified and trained to offer the best services to the pupils and students.

“Education is only as good as its teachers. The focus is on improving the quality of education, including through reforming teacher training, deployment and motivation. To ensure that we impart good skills, we must increase the number of teachers,” said Kaimenyi.

He said the Government must remunerate teachers properly if they are to offer quality service.

According to the report, one strategy illustrated in teacher reform is the development of digital literacy skills.

The report revealed that only one in five of the poorest children complete primary school studies having learnt the basics in reading and mathematics.

The report also reveals that in a third of countries analysed less than three-quarters of existing primary school teachers are trained to national standards.

At the same time, Kaimenyi said the numerous bottlenecks in the laptop project would be dealt with adding that the Government launched the laptop per child initiative to integrate ICT in public primary schools.