Uwezo project Manager Zaida Magalla and Standard three pupil Naomi Enock cut a ribbon during the launch of the Fifth Annual Leaning Assessment in Dar es Salam yesterday. POTHO | SAID KHAMIS
By Saumu Mwalimu @mwalimmissie firstname.lastname@example.org
Dar es Salaam.
At least 44 per cent of Standard Seven pupils can’t read a Standard 2 English story, a new report by Uwezo-Twaweza reveals.
The findings were released yesterday, with just a week before Standard Seven pupils sit their national examinations.
The 2014, fifth Twaweza’s ‘Are our Children Learning?’ report has also indicated, worse still, that at least 16 per cent of pupils in standard seven are also unable to read a standard two level Kiswahili story and 23 per cent are unable to do same level multiplication.
The findings were concluded basing on the survey conducted in 50 districts involving 32,694 children aged between seven and 16 years in 1,309 primary schools.
Speaking during the launch yesterday, Twaweza Country Co-ordinator, Ms Zaida Mgalla, pointed out that slight improvement has however been observed over the years with only the Kiswahili pass rate appearing to show positive progress.
For example, between 2012 and 2014, she said, the number of children in standard three who could read a standard two level Kiswahili story rose from 26 per cent to 54 per cent.
“Nonetheless, these findings are still well below the standard set by curriculum, contributed among many factors, teachers’ absenteeism rate. At least three out of ten teachers were absent from school during the Uwezo assessment.
“The pupil-teacher ratio is also very high and is getting worse as experienced during this year’s standard one enrollment, telling stakeholders that urgent measures need to be taken,” said Ms Mgalla, adding for example, that in Mara, the ratio is 126 pupils per one teacher with eight of them sharing a textbook.
According to Ms Mgalla, the findings have also revealed that more male pupils are dropping out of school compared female ones. She called on stakeholders to act quickly to establish the factors. At least 62 per cent of school dropouts were boys compared to 38 per cent girls.
“But also the inequality in term of access, facilities and quality is very worrying, as data shows that children from wealthy, urban homes are far more likely to be in pre-primary schools, have more books and teachers at school and ultimately perform better that their peers from rural areas and poor households,” adds Ms Mgalla, noting that the education system seems to be deepening the very social division it is supposed to eliminate.
The Twaweza executive director, Mr Aidan Eyakuze, noted that the Primary Education Development Programme succeeded in providing access to school for millions of children, but the data is showing a sobering picture of children attending years of primary school without mastering the basic literacy and numerical skills over the years.
“It is our hope that the Uwezo data provides an opportunity for decision-makers to understand where we are starting from and how to prioritize our actions and investment,” he said.
To read the full Annual Assessment Report click the link below;