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New report shows why college-educated woman is good for your child

From Left; Sam Mugacha of Imaginable Futures, Dr. Martin Ogola-Lecture Kenyatta University, Dr. Sylvester Mulambe-Director Policy and Partnership and East African Affairs Ministry of Education, Esther Wairimu-Usawa Board member and Dr. Emmanuel Manyasa-CEO Usawa display reports during the Launch of Uwezo 2021 National Assessment Report at National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi on February 11, 2022. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

A new report has revealed that a mother's level of education is critical in determining children's academic performance.

In the new findings from assessments of Grade Four learners under the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), 62 per cent of these children were also able to solve a Grade Three appropriate numeracy problem.

The details are contained in the latest Uwezo Learning Assessment report for 2021 released Friday by UsawaAgenda. The report is titled, ‘Are Our Children Learning?'

Grade Four children whose mothers attained a tertiary level of education were 80 per cent highly likely to score higher marks in Grade Three reading work.

‘‘This tells us that if we do not educate the girls today, we will not be able to educate all children in future, the level of the mother is critical for the ability of the child to learn,'' said Usawa Agenda’s Executive Director Dr Emmanuel Manyasa.

Manyasa stressed the need to educate all the girls in school to ensure that the mothers of the future are able to help the child as the report shows their level of education is critical.

‘‘We have to build back better and for you to do that you need evidence. This will help education stakeholders and government to see what are the gaps and what can we do to build back better,’’ he explained.

The assessment focused on the ability of children to read and comprehend English and Kiswahili, as well as complete basic numeracy tasks, set at Grade Three level.

The survey also administered different tests to learners in classes 5 - 8 set at Class Five level.

However, the report focused on Grade Four learners under the CBC, who were expected to have completed Grade Three level work by the time of the assessment.

The report further revealed that only two out of five Grade 4 learners are at least meeting expectations in reading a Grade 3 appropriate English text.

The feedback comes at the right time when the country is preparing to transition to CBC at the end of 2022.

The report used the list of Enumeration Areas used by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics for the 2019's Kenya Population and Housing Census enumeration as a sampling frame.

The report also exposed public school teachers distribution, with some schools in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) most affected.

According to the report, the distribution of teachers across the country is skewed ranging from five teachers for a school with ten classes that requires teachers in Mandera County to 10 teachers for a school with 10 classes that requires teachers in Nyandarua.

‘‘The reason is that being a teacher is not valued there and thus many young people in those counties do not want to be teachers,'' said Manyasa.

'Manyasa said most of the teachers from ASAL areas come from other regions and during insecurity periods, most are affected.

He said the situation is the same in other hardship areas and urged the government to work on policies that will make working in such areas attractive.

Some of them, Manyasa said in some cases for one to be promoted to the headteacher, he or she must have worked in hardship areas as it happens in some countries.

‘‘I also challenge the government to ensure to work on a long term solution of ensuring the areas are secure and also encourage locals to get into teaching profession so that the areas are not affected with future insecurity issues,’’ he added.

Dr John Mugo, executive director of Zizi Afrique Foundation there is a need to ensure that the pupils are entitled to teachers whether they are few or not.

''There is also need for appropriating resources to employ more teachers then. If schools ensure they have a better comfort of power, water and housing, they will attract and retain teachers,'' he said.

Overall, the report reveals that there still exist gaps in Early Child Childhood Education (ECDE) as many children are not in school and challenged County Governments to be responsible.

‘‘We have noted that between 2015 and now, we have fewer teachers per school than we had in 2015, meaning more schools have been opened at a faster rate compared to the rate of teachers being employed,’’ he added.

The report also attributed Covid 19 pandemic to a drop in learners’ enrollments in schools.

The report comes out as the first independent assessment of learning in the country after the outbreak of Covid-19.

The pandemic forced the country to shut down schools for nine months, affecting the normal learning calendar.

According to the report, Covid-19 imposed school closure, which resulted in enrolment dropping by 3.2 per cent on the reopening of schools in January 2021.

Girls with disabilities recorded the highest decline in enrolment (16.2 per cent) compared to boys at 13.1 per cent.

Private schools recorded a decline in enrolment of 7.6 per cent while public schools 2.9 per cent.

Rural schools recorded a marginally higher decline in enrolment at 3.3 per cent and urban at 3.2 per cent.

Rural private schools recorded a lower decline in enrolment at 4.6 per cent compared to the urban private schools at 8.1 per cent.

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