School absenteeism slows development of reading skills in Kenyan pupils

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download 7Absenteeism has been identified as a major challenge in Kenyan schools in a report released by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) as part of its efforts to improve the teaching and learning in public and formal schools.

“The regularly staying away from school of teachers and pupils in schools remains a major a challenge in schools across the country,” said the report. “Syllabus coverage was affected to a large extent by inadequate teachers at 64.7 per cent, time wastage stood at 57.5 per cent, frequent absenteeism by pupils was at 50.9 per cent and frequent absenteeism by teachers was at 47.7 per cent.”

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This inadequacy in syllabus coverage due to absenteeism has contributed to a great number of lower primary pupils’ lack of reading skills in English and Kiswahili.

“The percentage of Standard Three pupils who attained the pre-reading skills for Standard One in both English and Kiswahili is very low at 14.9 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively whereas majority of the pupils, 83.1 per cent and 71.1 per cent, attained Class One and Two competencies in numeracy, only 4.5 per cent of the learners attained the highest competency for Class Four work,” read the report.

In a bid to ensure that implementations are put in place to counter the challenges, Mr. Bellio Kipsang, the Education Principal Secretary, said the that the report will be distributed to all Kenyan counties so that the respective county directors of education make the school specific interventions.

The study, which was conducted last year in December, is part of a national assessment system for monitoring learner achievement.

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