Improved sanitation, filling of leaking roofs of classrooms, clean water, provision of toilets and textbooks have radically improved the learning environments of children in 131 public primary schools in Homa Bay County.
This is at a cost of Ksh 65.5Million they received under the Kenya GPE Primary Education Development (PRIEDE) Project.
The schools are among 4,000 schools, countrywide, with an enrolment of 1.3million pupils, which received which received Kshs.500, 000 each from the Global Partnership for Education, (GPE) to strengthening management and accountability at school level.
The schools were part of the schools whose KCPE scores in 2012 and 2013 were below the average of 242 for public primary schools), in each county and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties.
The school Improvement plan is part of a wider Project under which Kenya received a grant Global Partnership for Education Programme to boost the teaching of Early Grade Mathematics to benefit 6 million pupils in grade 1 and 2 in all public primary schools. A total of 7.5 mathematics textbooks have been disbursed thereby achieving a 1:1 pupil textbook ratio among the learners.
A joint Mission of the Government and World Bank, which supervises the implementation of the Project made an extensive inspection tour of six schools to assess the effectiveness of the Project.
The Director for Special Needs Education (SNE) in the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Maria Cherono, led a team which carried out assessment of the status of the project at God Awendo, Homa and Wanjawa Primary which are part of the 131 schools targeted for School Improvement Plan.
The team also conducted classroom observations in Lake, Nyandiwa and Renena Primary schools, which are part of the 21,000 in which the project targets 6 million pupils in grade 1 and 2 benefitting from improved Early Grade Mathematics.
Mrs. Cherono said the school community had fully embraced the project, saying it had built a strong management and accountability system that had created a favourable environment for learning.
Speaking at God Awendo Primary School in Mbita Sub-County, Mrs. Cherono said that the innovative approaches to teaching mathematics and textbooks for each child in class one and two had improved children’s comprehension of mathematical concepts crucial to quality learning in later years.
She noted that Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) analysis of KCPE examinations for each school had created interest in the 4,000 schools under the Pilot programme, saying the teachers were able to know their strength and weakness and take appropriate measures to address the weakness the analysis revealed.
The Director for Teacher Management at the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Mrs. Mary Rotich observed that the Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) had helped ensure adherence to professionalism in the work of teachers.
“We are working together to ensure quality education for our children,” Mrs. Rotich observed.
She said this had not only reduced teacher absenteeism, but had ensured teachers are properly prepared to teach when they go into the classrooms.
The Head teacher of God Awendo Primary School, Mr. Nathaniel Kogelo, said the support the school had received had helped the school improve the learning environment for the pupils.
Kogelo, whose school is part of the 131 Primary school under School Improvement Plan (SIP) the school had bought books for upper primary pupils, build latrine for learners, filled leaking classrooms, and provided clean water to the pupils.
“Children can continue having lessons even when it rains; we no longer have leaking roofs of the classrooms,” he said.
Mr. Kogelo lauded the Early Grade Mathematics aspect of the project, saying the new methods of teaching had made teaching mathematical concepts and ideas easier and enjoyable.
The team also comprised the National Coordinator of the Project, Mrs. Martha Ekirapa, and the area County Director of Education, Mrs. Margaret Muandale, the Area TSC County Director, Mrs. Beatrice Akala, the Director of ICT, and Mrs. Lynne Nyongesa among others.