Report blames teacher laxity for poor education standards

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia and Education PS Belio Kipsang during conference on quality learning outcomes in Kenya in Nairobi. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]
Late arrival to school and absenteeism rank top as the most prevalent cases of indiscipline among teachers of both primary and secondary schools, a new report has shown.

The study by the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) established that late reporting to school contributes to over 80 per cent of indiscipline cases in upper primary school.

“Late arrival to school (88.7 per cent), absenteeism (69.5 per cent ) and skipping classes  (64.3 per cent ) were reported as the major indiscipline cases among Class 6 teachers,”  says the report whose findings were made public yesterday.

According to the survey, in secondary schools, late arrival is the most common indiscipline case among teachers (11.3 per cent) of Form Two classes who were involved in the research.

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Other main cases of indiscipline among the teachers cited in the study include missing lessons (7.1 per cent), chronic absenteeism (3.7 per cent) and alcohol abuse (2.9 per cent).

The report says absenteeism is still a big problem in lower primary school, with 36 per cent of the teachers missing school without seeking prior permission from their head teachers.

Absence of teachers from school was reported to affect the syllabus coverage at 47.7 per cent.

Despite the digital learning programme being part of the key flagship projects of the Jubilee administration, integration of ICT in learning and teaching seems to be still a pipe dream. About 75 per cent of the teachers, according to the study, are not ICT compliant.

“Majority of teachers lack requisite skills in ICT. A large proportion of Class 2 teachers (44.8 per cent ) had not received training in computer use. About 85.9 per cent of headteachers had not benefited to a large extent from ICT in-service training,”  says the report.

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The study commissioned by the Ministry of Education shows that most Standard Two and Three pupils struggle to tackle simple literacy and numeracy tests, including reading English and Swahili words.

About 85.1 per cent of Standard Three pupils had not attained pre-reading skills in English while 89.5 per cent of the learners struggled to read Swahili words. The assessment paints a grim picture of the quality of education in the country even as a different study conducted by the World Bank returned similar results, that pupils in lower primary were ill-equipped to perform simple reading or mathematics tasks.

The data is from four major studies conducted in the last four years to monitor learner achievement in literacy and numeracy, and assess the quality of education.

Standard Two pupils were assessed using the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment, the National Assessment System for Monitoring Learner Achievement at Standard Three, Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality IV at Standard Six and Monitoring Learner Achievement at Form Two.

Over-age pupils

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Besides the achievement levels of the learners, the studies also focused on the pupil, the teacher, school characteristics and how involved the parents are in the education of their children.

Most of the counties that registered the poorest scores in Mathematics are from the arid and semi-arid areas in Northern and North Eastern Kenya, which also had the lowest achievement levels at both Standard Two and Three.

Garissa County had the highest percentage of over-age Standard Three pupils in a trend observed in most of the other ASAL counties.

However, the poor performance could be put down to the high teacher shortages also reported in the region.

While the overall teacher shortage was 27.7 per cent nationally, some counties such as West Pokot surpassed that by as much as 50 per cent.

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KnecKenya National Examinations Counciltscteachers