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PERSPECTIVE
 
Titus Maina, Education Consultant
21 January 2020
The 100% transition policy is part of a global campaign to give all children access to 12 years of learning. Kenya has been making significant strides in ensuring that all children have access to education since the introduction of free primary education in 2003.
One would be forgiven to think that such a feat would be met with celebration. However, this occurrence was met with lamentation from the public-school heads. But why?  
If one teacher is responsible for three classrooms each with 60 students, there is little guarantee that he will be able to regularly assess the 180 students
Photograph from unsplash
Congestion was on top of the list. While the schools received an influx of students, their infrastructure remained largely unchanged. This meant that the dormitories, dining halls, libraries, laboratories, and classrooms were operating at levels that were above their maximum capacity.   Public school teachers bore the brunt of this change when their workload grow significantly to cater for the increased number of students. Many schools introduced additional streams with teachers teaching multiple lessons in up to six classes a day.  
An assessment tool with a capability of marking more than 60 answer sheets in five minutes seems too futuristic to believe that it currently exists. However, it is much in circulation and use in the country. 
The quality of the education provided is also in jeopardy. The increase in classroom sizes means that one teacher is responsible for over 70 students in several public schools. A study by Kaloki, Mulei, & Mueni et.al. published in the European Journal of Education Studies showed that the pupil-teacher ratio significantly influenced the performance of public primary school pupils in the national examinations.    It is evident that the 100% transition has its shortcomings, but it is also clear that most parents and education stakeholders see its benefits and root for it work. So, what can be made better?  One way to improve the quality of education in public schools is to ease some of the workload’s teachers have. If one teacher is responsible for three classrooms each with 60 students, there is little guarantee that he will be able to regularly assess the 180 students. This is not considering that many teachers teach more than one subject therefore increasing the number of students to assess.  
One way to improve the quality of education in public schools is to ease some of the workload’s teachers have. image courtesy of unsplash
Providing such a teacher with a method that can, not only assist them in assessing all these students within a short time, but also understand the student’s strengths and weaknesses will go a long way in reducing the teacher’s workload. An assessment tool with a capability of marking more than 60 answer sheets in five minutes seems too futuristic to believe that it currently exists. However, it is much in circulation and use in the country.   Such a tool will free up the teacher to focus on the student’s weaknesses and providing relevant feedback. The effect of incorporating this technology has been significant with one school marking a significant rise of student performance from a mean of 1.2 to 5.3 within one school term.   Training the teachers to handle such class sizes and improve their methods of instruction is another way we can improve the quality of the education. However, it is evident that now more than ever, teachers do not have the time to attend lengthy training sessions.
The answer is through in-service teacher training that allows the teacher to continue teaching while improving their capacity.
What’s the solution then, for a busy teacher with more than 100 students to teach? The answer is through in-service teacher training that allows the teacher to continue teaching while improving their capacity. It similarly works to help Kenya achieve the goal of quality education of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.   The 100 % transition is a progressive policy that can be achieved through implementation of some of the above pointers, especially because they need not need much government intervention. Perhaps then, the Kenyan child can finally fulfill their full potential from our education.    
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