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Education CS Machogu wrong to ban school preps

by kenya-tribune

Recent reforms in the education sector seem valuable and are, therefore, welcome. However, the banning of morning and evening preps in schools by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu is out of turn.

The learners are occupied during the day with classes, albeit taking short intermediate breaks. For that, teachers came up with preps, an initiative to give students adequate time to study in the evening and early morning.

This is the time when some students get a chance to do the assignments given during the day; for others, it is time for personal studies and revision, including group discussions among peers. In boarding schools, teachers use the time to cover the syllabus.

In some boarding schools, preps begin as early as 4 am and in most day schools 6 am, and also from 5 pm. Then, most students are expected to be in classrooms. 

So, what will students be doing from that time to the following day? That will encourage laziness and idleness among learners, which could see most of them score poorly in exams. Some might even engage in vices such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual offences and theft.

Secondly, teachers have always used prep time to monitor and ensure learners, particularly those who require strict supervision, do their personal studies.

The CS should reverse his order. He should have addressed the issue from a different angle; for instance, remind school heads not to charge parents for the remedial. Besides that being illegal, parents are struggling to even raise school fees and generally provide for their families due to the tough economic times.

Drop in performance

With increased laxity among the students as a result of preps having been banned, schools are bound to face huge drops in academic performance. 

A teacher who doesn’t engage their students outside class time is bound to leave the school premises and the learners may follow them or fail to focus on studying for lack of supervision.

This is the time when the most academic work is done by both students and their teachers. It is then that teachers revise or revisit topics that may not have been well understood by the students.

The Kenyan curriculum suggests that a teacher provides 25 per cent of the required knowledge in school and the student 75 per cent. It is at this time that the student acquires their portion. 

The normal class time during the day is for syllabus coverage and the remedial time mostly dwells on revision. Hence, performance is hinged on prep time. 

A comparison between schools that expend significant time and energy in preps and those that don’t will show that the former post better results during exams.

Mr Machogu should say whether he wants to see schools post poor results, dotting his tenure as the head of the education sector with disappointments, or leave a legacy of good performance.

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