Majority of Class 3 pupils in arid and semi arid areas of Kenya are overage according to a study conducted by the Ministry of Education.
The survey which was also carried out in conjunction with the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) established Garissa, Turkana and Kwale as having the leading cases of children above 10 years.
The event was attributed to late enrolment, lifestyle or class repetition which was blamed for retention and completion of school. To solve the matrix, the Boards of Management, parents and communities at large have been urged to work together to ensure the school entry age policy is adhered to.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang reiterated that a special focus should be turned to arid and semi arid areas and the marginalized groups who have largely been affected. “Overage is still a major challenge to our education system with the highest percentages being registered in ASAL areas,” he said.
While the national statistics showed that 40.5 percent of pupils are overage, Garissa County registered 98.3, Turkana (90.4) and Kwale had 79.9 percent.
The National Assessment System for Monitoring Learner Achievement (Nasmla) study sought to establish the personal, home-based and school-based factors that influence the learning outcomes of Class 3 pupils in Numeracy (Mathematics) and Literacy (English and Kiswahili) and pupil’s levels of acquisition of life skills.
In a statement read by Director General for Education Leah Rotich, the PS further noted as regrettable that indiscipline has affected the academic performance in a number of schools. Overall, over 90 percent of head teachers and teachers reported that there were cases of indiscipline in their schools.
The most common forms of indiscipline recorded were absenteeism, noisemaking and truancy. Among others, the report recommended the involvement of children’s government in decisions that affect their fellow pupils.
The findings also revealed that the 1:1 pupil-textbook ratio has not yet been realized as some schools only had the text books for teachers. At an average, majority of the pupils shared textbooks with more than one pupil in English (53.4 percent), Mathematics (53.6 percent) and Kiswahili (54.1 percent).
On the other hand, the report showed that about 3 percent of teachers had the requisite academic and professional qualifications to teach Class 3 pupils.
Rotich however hailed the improved enrolment rate of girls in schools as compared to 2010 which was 48 percent against 50.3 percent in the current finding.
She stated that the government will borrow heavily from recommendation given by this initiative to direct policy on gender and education, disbursement of budgetary allocations and donor funds to support school infrastructure, school feeding and school fees policy among others.