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7.2 million Pupils benefit from World Bank numeracy project

More than 7.2 million pupils in Kenya have benefited from a World Bank-funded education initiative aimed at improving early grade mathematics competencies.

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) project dubbed Kenya Primary Education Development (PRIED) which kicked off in 2015 and ended November this year has registered satisfactory improvement of mathematics performance of learners in over 20, 000 public schools nationwide.

World Bank Education Specialist Annette Kihura speaking to KNA at Kiboino Primary School in Baringo Central sub-county, when a joint support mission of the Kenya Primary Education Development (PRIED) and Covid-19 projects visited the school. Photo by Vincent Mininigwo

A further 40, 000 teachers were taught new methodologies of early grade mathematics instruction through improved in-service training and regular pedagogical supervision and support.

According to World Bank Education Specialist Annette Kihura, the project funded to a tune of USD 88.4 million (Sh9.7 billion) has seen increased learning outcomes for Grade One to Grade Three learners who now pride on mastery skills of content and teacher engagement through distribution of over 10 million competency-based curriculum books to them.

Kihura who spoke to KNA during the closure of a two-day joint support mission assessment of schools within Baringo Central and Baringo North sub-counties noted that there is a very big improvement of learners tackling numeracy education compared to seven years ago when the project was started.

“There are adequate text books for the lessons as well as teachers’ resources which has seen a sharp rise in pupils’ performance,” she said.

The education specialist noted that when Covid-19 pandemic struck, the project adapted use of technology to ensure continuity of learning by the children.

She said the project in collaboration with other partners like UNICEF supported in school electricity connectivity where they use digital electronic devices in preparing and delivering of lessons due to the new normal.

PRIED Project Coordinator in charge of Early Grade Mathematics Component Hellen Boruett while highlighting the project’s success said 80 per cent of pupils in early grade countrywide are now able to score the recommended 50 per cent and above in mathematics subject.

She lauded Baringo which was amongst counties with low basic competency levels for turning things around to achieve a 23.6 per cent improvement in mathematics in the early grades and currently enjoys 90.1 per cent ratings.

Boruett stated that part of the contributing factor is the fact that pupils now enjoy a 1:1 textbook ratio to complement their studies and their teachers too have been provided with sufficient guide books for teaching the early stage learners.

She added that the project has also considered special needs children who can now access learning materials and assistive tools for their development.

Kiboino Primary School Head Teacher Kenneth Terer said books distributed to them are in line with the demands of the learners since they have been streamlined in a sequential manner where the teacher is able to gauge the progress and the pupil’s ability.

“As the child progresses in academics, the books come in handy in assisting them to tackle more complex tasks and also prepare them from the lower level to the highest level,” he said during a visit by the team to the school.

Curriculum Support Officer (CSO) for Salawa Division Monicah Kandie revealed that they have also benefited from the program and are better informed on their line of duty.

Kandie said that they are able to team up with teachers in implementing teaching content as per the education curriculum.

Chief Principal, Moi Teachers Training College in Seretunin Lorraine Mugoya expressed her happiness that her students have immensely benefited from the project which seeks to upscale their capacity with methodologies which is crucial in handling the young primary school learners.

She noted that the institution has gotten good results in mathematics and sciences last year whereby it emerged position one overall since the teacher trainees have developed a good attitude towards mathematics thanks to the project.

Mathematics tutor at the teacher’s college, Hosea Komen, while reiterating the sentiments by the principal said the methods used in the project help learners to internalize some mathematical tasks they are taught.

He said that the teacher support through school based teachers programme has complemented CBC since teachers collaborate and communicate more and allows them to be innovative and critical thinkers at their work.

Baringo County Director of Education Mwasaro Mwashegwa lauded the PRIED project saying it has benefited institutions that had lagged behind since they are now picking up and moving to be at par with others.

Mwashegwa requested for more of such programs to be initiated and extended to cover other subjects in order to improve the general performance of learners.

By Benson Kelio and Christopher Kiprop

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