For Online E-newspaper
The East African : May 3rd 2015
The EastAfrican OUTLOOK MAY 2-8,2015 31 sible. Uganda and Burundi have scrapped school fees, while Tanzania has financed well targeted initiatives to help the most disadvantaged including the poorest and disabled children. Rwanda has made its allocation of education funding more equal between rural and urban areas. Tanzania has also impressed by its gender sensitive curriculum and the tremendous efforts made to reduce early pregnancy rates. More than 8,000 girls have been dropping out due to early pregnancies, making it one of the major factors in curtailing girl education. Its top marks have also come Schoolgirls leave school at the end of a school day. Tanzania’s gender-sensitive curriculum has helped in the girl-child retention rate. Picture: The Citizen stand at 81,000, 23,000 and 663,000 in Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda respectively. A year before the EFA agenda was set, there were 730,000 children out of school in Burundi, 1,955,000 in Kenya, 223,000 in Rwanda and 3,194,000 in Tanzania. The government’s Education Sector Performance Report 2010/11 shows that the number in Tanzania was drastically reduced to less than half a million three years later. Prof Kitila Mkumbo of sufficient, and trained teachers, especially for pre-primary education, where East Africa lags far from the enrolment target ratio of 80 per cent. Kenya is the best performer in the region, but it is in the low level category, where enrolment ranges between 30 per cent and 69 per cent. In 1999, Kenya had nearly 1.2 million children in pre-primary schools . With a ratio of less than 30 per cent, Rwanda and Burundi are in the very low level group. The two countries had fewer than 200,000 children in preprimary schools in 2012. Tanzania and Uganda are not included in the pre-primary prospect analysis due to lack of readily available data, which is yet another key shortcoming towards EFA attainment. “None of the EAC member states achieved the 80 per cent pre-primary enrolment rate. All have been far off from achieving the target, with Burundi only managing an eight per cent enrolment rate, Rwanda 13 per cent, Uganda 14 per cent, Tanzania 34 per cent and Kenya 43 per cent,” Ms Redman said. The Unesco report says teach- er absenteeism also impacts negatively on student learning. “In Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda, teacher absenteeism in primary education is estimated to exceed 20 per cent. In many countries, the availability of textbooks and other reading materials remains severely limited,” it adds. Educationist Nyanda Shuli said it is now time for the EAC to give education the attention it has been denied in the past 15 years. Anything short of that, argues the former HakiElimu official, means thousands of children will continue to remain out of the formal learning system. While there is no current Unesco data on Tanzania and Kenya, the agency’s figures show that children out of school now Twaweza said the increase in school enrolment in Tanzania is evident at all levels of education, from primary to higher education. Today, he said, 25 per cent THE STATISTICS Unesco data shows that children out of school now stand at 81,000 in Burundi, 23,000 in Rwanda and 663,000 in Uganda respectively. A year before the EFA agenda was set, there were 730,000 children out of school in Burundi, 1,955,000 in Kenya, 223,000 in Rwanda and 3,194,000 in Tanzania. In Uganda, the number of illiterate adults increased to 4,589,000 during 2004-2012 from 4,131,000 in 1995-2004. Burundi’s illiterate population fell to 641,000 up from 1,376,000 between 1995 and 2012. Tanzania has nearly eight million illiterate adults in 2004-2012 from about six million in 19952004. In Rwanda, the number of illiterate adults increased to 2,030,000 from 1,555,000 in 1995-2004 In Kenya it surged to nearly six million from 3,032,000 between 1995 and 2012 of the Tanzanian population is receiving various levels of education. However, despite these im- pressive school attendance rates, recent statistics show that Tanzania is actually failing to sustain the upward enrolment rate. “Although the 2015 deadline will be largely missed, progress has been made and more can be achieved if the requisite resources are committed by our leaders. Today, there are more children in school than would have been the case if our countries had not committed themselves to the EFA agenda,” Mr Shuli said. The enrolment in Burun- di went up from 705,000 to 1,981,000 children between 1999 and 2012 while Uganda’s increased from 6,288,000 to 8,098,000. In Rwanda, it surged from 1,289,000 to 2,395,000 while Tanzania almost doubled the figure to 8,247,000. Apart from increasing the number of children being enrolled in school, all EAC members will also manage to achieve or are expected to attain gender parity in primary school. Another 12 countries will attain this goal in sub-Saharan Africa and six are close to the target while the Central African Republic will be the only country not to reach it. Ms Redman said the EAC has also done well in making sure education financing goeswhere it is needed the most by using funding to introduce initiatives to make education more acces- from the introduction of water facilities in communities to ensure girls too go to school instead of spending hours collecting water. “The list of policy interven- tions Tanzania carried out to achieve its universal primary enrolment in an equitable manner is extensive. It also has an education plan specifically for its nomad population, it has textbooks in braille, and has abolished school fees to prevent cost barriers for the poor,” Ms Redman said. The bloc’s other major failures include reducing adult literacy and reaching gender parity in secondary education. However, Rwanda stands out as the only country in sub-Saharan Africa that has been close to reaching the gender parity target in secondary education. Burundi is the only EAC mem- ber that will achieve the set 50 per cent reduction in adult illiteracy target. Its illiterate population fell to 641,000 from 1,376,000 between 1995 and 2012. In Uganda, adult illiteracy decreased by 32 per cent during the period. The number of illiterate Ugandans increased to 4,589,000 during 2004-2012 from 4,131,000 in 1995 to 2004. In Tanzania, the situation worsened to nearly eight million illiterate adults between 2004 and 2012 from about six million between 1995 t0 2004. In Rwanda, the number in- creased to, 2,030,000 from 1,555,000 whereas in Kenya it surged to nearly six million from 3,032,000 withing the same reporting periods. Nume≥acy ≥emains a challenge fo≥ US schoolchild≥en often desperately avoid any semblance of maths or science (except for classes like “Physics for Poets”). Numeracy isn’t a sign of geeki- ness, but a basic requirement for intelligent discussions of public policy. Without it, politicians routinely get away with using statistics, as Mark Twain supposedly observed, the way a drunk uses a lamp post: 37pc The number of American children who passed a simple numeracy quiz for support rather than illumination. (I believe US high schools and colleges overemphasise calculus and don’t sufficiently teach statistics. Statistical literacy should be part of every citizen’s tool kit.) Public debates often dance around basic statistical concepts, like standard deviation, because too few Americans understand them. And people assume far too much of “averages.” Another pop quiz: A piece of wood was 40 centime- tres long. It was cut into 3 pieces. The lengths in centimetres are 2x - 5, x +7 and x +6. What is the length of the longest piece? Only 7 per cent of American eighth graders got that one right (the answer is 15 centimetres). In contrast, 53 per cent of Singaporean eighth graders answered correctly. True, there are maths prodigies who are different from you and me. When the great mathematician Carl Gauss was a young boy, his teacher is said to have asked his class to calculate the sum of all the numbers from 1 to 100. Mr Gauss supposedly supplied the answer almost instantly: 5,050. The teacher, flabbergasted, asked how he knew. Gauss explained that he had added 1 and 100, 2 and 99, and realized that there would be 50 such pairs each summing 101. So 50 times 101 equals 5,050. So I agree: Let’s resent the Gauss- es of the world for being annoyingly smart. But let’s not use that as an excuse to hide from the rigour of numbers. Countries like Singapore manage to impart extraordinary maths skills in ordinary children because they work at it. Numeracy isn’t just about num- bers. It’s also about logic. Let me leave you with a logical puzzle that isn’t mathematical at all. Yet people with maths training seem better at thinking it through and solving it: You’re in a dungeon with two doors. One leads to escape, the other to execution. There are only two other people in the room, one of whom always tells the truth, while the other always lies. You don’t know which is which, but they know that the other always lies or tells the truth. You can ask one of them one question, but, of course, you don’t know whether you’ll be speaking to the truth-teller or the liar. So what single question can you ask one of them that will enable you to figure out which door is which and make your escape? It’s not a trick question. When you hear the answer, you’ll see it’s straightforward.
Apr 27th 2015
May 10th 2015