Article written By: Don Cayo
I was shocked when I went to Kenya in 2006 and saw first-hand the high cost of free education. The elimination of school fees there three years earlier had resulted in explosive growth of the student population with predictable results — woefully inadequate school buildings, few school supplies and textbooks or none at all, ill-trained teachers and class sizes of, in some cases, more than 100.
The story I was working on at the time focused on efforts of Aga Khan Development workers to address some of these problems. They were making a laudable contribution, but there was still a long ways to go. So I was interested in an article by Michael Fleshman in the current edition of a UN publication, Africa Renewal, that updates the issue. And I was pleased to see that, although problems linger in Kenya and the several other subSaharan African countries that have similarly opened up their schools, some real progress is being made.
In Kenya, Fleshman reports, enrolment is up and the dropout rate is down. The percentage of students completing primary school jumped from less than two-thirds to more than three-quarters. And test scores, a key measure of how the policy is working, are edging up.
Source: Communities Canada