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Economy

Majority of lower primary pupils can’t do simple math

Pupils in a congested classroom. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Pupils in a congested classroom. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

More than half of lower primary school pupils cannot do simple math or understand simple sentences, a World Bank report says.

The bank’s World Development Report (WDR) released last week says that 60 per cent of pupils sampled in Kenya could not perform two-digit subtraction.

“Schooling is not the same as learning. In Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, when grade three students were asked recently to read a sentence such as “The name of the dog is Puppy,” three-quarters did not understand what it said,” the report says.

World Bank said that based on the tests, learning was in a crisis and that this was an injustice to pupils since their time was being wasted.

The results of the study mirror previous ones done locally. Kenya’s rickety public schools continue to grapple with crammed classes, lack of proper infrastructure and teacher shortages, diluting the quality of learning.

The introduction of free primary education in 2003 by former President Mwai Kibaki saw admission rates shoot up but infrastructure and teacher numbers failed to keep pace.

This came with an added burden on the government to fund the sector.

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