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Exam report wake up call to educationists experts

By Editorial Team
Monday, February 8th, 2021
Education CS George Magoha. Photo/PD/File
In summary

A damning report, which has exposed the level of unpreparedness by Class Eight candidates and those in Grade Four, should form a good basis to review the impact of Covid-19 in schools.

An assessment that was conducted after classes resumed in October showed that majority of learners are ill-prepared to proceed to the next level. 

Of particular concern is the big number of students not attaining minimum requirements in language skills, yet research has shown that proficiency in reading and writing has a bearing on acquisition of other educational abilities.

Granted, the assessment sought to establish performance levels in specific subjects after the prolonged closure of schools occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The seven-month break brought unprecedented challenges and threatened the societal fabric.

And this was not just in schools. Businesses suffered, relationships were tested, the economy was brought to its knees and many lost jobs and money-making opportunities.

When schools closed, teachers had a difficult time processing online classes.

Availability of online enablers such as computers and internet were unavailable to many and the report indicates the lack of face-to-face interaction could have contributed to the poor performance.

The divide between rural and urban schools was evident. Equally noticeable was the gap between the well-off and those from poor backgrounds.

Clearly, we have done little to ensure equity in education and learning opportunities. Indeed, the report is an indictment on the government, parents, teachers, and the learners. 

The fact that the KCPE examination will be held between March 22-24 means there’s little time for stakeholders to mitigate the shortcomings.

We hope that yesterday’s assertion by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha that the gaps identified in the assessment had helped teachers prepare learners better will come to pass. 

However, the lessons the pandemic has taught us should inform planning and strengthen school-based teacher support.

The ministry should also deploy targeted interventions in provision of learning resources to public schools, especially those in rural and poor areas.

Provision of ICT infrastructure in public schools to better facilitate remote and blended learning should be a priority.