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Sh20 billion for quality education in public schools

EDUCATION
By Augustine Oduor | December 9th 2017
Lyn Nyawira, who scored 434 marks at Njogune Boarding Primary School in this year's KCPE, hugging with deputy head teacher Caroline Gitobu, at the institution. [PHOTO: PHARES MUTEMBEI/STANDARD]

The government will roll out a major project to improve quality of education in public primary and secondary schools as they re-open in January next year.

Some 1.2 million children will have their schools’ infrastructure improved, more teachers employed and learning materials delivered to improve quality of instruction.

The government in partnership with the World Bank, funds the Sh20 billion project known as Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP).

The project will benefit 600,000 pupils in upper primary (grade 7 and 8) and a similar number of students (form one to four) in targeted areas.

Overall, 7,852 public primary and 2,147 secondary schools have been selected from 30 counties and 110 sub-counties. These schools are educationally and economically disadvantaged.

Some 17,000 primary school teachers and their 8,500 secondary counterparts under Science, Mathematics and English (SME) are also targeted.

Under the programme, deserving learners will be supported through full scholarships, school kits, mentorship and targeted advocacy.

SEQIP is a government strategy to improve quality of basic education and reduce wastage of human capital caused by high dropout rates before completion of 12 years of basic education.

The project will improve quality of learning outcomes and reduce wastage in upper primary and secondary schools occasioned by high dropout and low transition from primary to secondary education.

Enhanced equity

It will also contribute to enhanced equity and inclusiveness as it focuses on poor, disadvantaged, marginalised and vulnerable children and the youth.

The project brief reveals that quality of education remains a key challenge in Kenya, although substantial progress on improving access has been made since 2003 – when free primary education was introduced.

The document says many schools are inadequately resourced and do not have adequate teachers and learning materials.

The government paper says these factors have led to unacceptably low transition rates from primary to secondary education and the consequent low attainment of basic education.

“To mitigate this problem, additional resources must be directed to disadvantaged schools and utilised in an accountable manner to improve the learning environment for students,” reads the paper.

The Ministry of Education’s Directorate of Project Coordination and Delivery is already working closely with other implementing agencies to start off the project next month.

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) are the key implementing agencies.

The implementing agencies have already put in place teams for project roll-out and all documents required for the management of the project have been approved by the World Bank.

Finer details of the document reveal four key components will be covered under the project to enhance quality.

Some Sh8.2 billion will be used to improve infrastructure in the selected schools.

“This sub-component will finance construction of toilets, water facilities and replacement of highly unsafe structures in the primary schools,” reads the document.

The money will also be used to construct new classrooms, students’ dormitories, science laboratories and multi-purpose rooms to create common space for libraries.

Construction of modern ICT-enabled training facilities at the national level and ICT equipment – five desktops/laptops, one projector and one printer for each school – for piloting virtual science labs in about 100 selected secondary schools will also be provided.

This means each secondary school will have basic physical structure, including classrooms, science laboratories, libraries, toilets for boys and girls, water facilities and electricity.

Physically-diabled friendly

All school structures will be physically-disabled friendly and have permanent and/or semi-permanent classrooms, science laboratories/multi-purpose room and toilets and water facilities, which are safe, well lit and ventilated.

Each school will be required to attain a student-classroom ratio of 45:1.

Single-stream schools will be required to have at least one science laboratory and adequate toilets. In addition, all classrooms will have at least one blackboard, sufficient desks and chairs for 45 students and one table and chair for the teacher.

“The science laboratory/multi-purpose room will have necessary furniture, storage facilities and IT equipment for virtual science education,” reads the paper.

For children, there will be provided one textbook per subject and student at upper primary level.

And for secondary students’ textbooks in six subjects – chemistry, biology, physics, English and Kiswahili languages and Mathematics – will be provided.

A set of geometrical/mathematical instruments, one notebook per subject and pens and pencils will also be provided.

Another Sh800 million has been set aside to reduce teacher shortage.

The TSC has committed to allocate 10 per cent of the budgeted new teaching posts for teachers in Mathematics, Science, and English subject areas to the targeted sub-counties annually during the project period.

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