Nairobi News


This is why public school pupils do not pass

Revelations that the majority of public primary schools have as many as 90 pupils in each class could explain why education standards in the city are falling.

Experts will tell you that a classroom of anything above 40 pupils is likely to compromise standards.

Given the average size of a typical Kenyan classroom, it is almost certain that a classroom of more than 40 pupils would be too overcrowded to be conducive to learning.

That is why the recommended pupil – teacher ratio is between 35 – 40 pupils for each teacher. Yet schools like Olympic in Kibera have as many as 3,400 students with classes of 90 pupils.

Roysambu primary in Kasarani has 1,600 pupils with rundown infrastructure and the story is the same across the city with even the once prestigious Nairobi Primary School today over-admitting students and hence compromising standards.

It is little wonder that schools like Olympic, which used to post excellent performances in KCPE exams, are no longer doing so.

The poor learning environment caused by overcrowded classes coupled with poor infrastructure and understaffing easily explains why public primary schools managed to produce only one student in the list of top 100 performers in the country.

Improving facilities

Whereas we appreciate the introduction of free primary education has played its part in compromising standards in public primary schools not only in Nairobi but the country at large, we must also hasten to add that the county government has not done enough to provide resources for improving facilities.

Instead, successive regimes at City Hall have played their part in running down public primary schools by grabbing of school land and general interference in their running.

Only a campaign to address falling standards through massive investment in more classrooms, desks and learning material will do.

We expect the county government to follow up on its promises to invest more in education by refurbishing dilapidated schools and providing more funds to improve them.

Nothing short of this will reverse our falling education standards.