Olympic Primary School

Why top school lost its lustre

Tucked in heart of the sprawling Kibera slums in Nairobi is Olympic Primary School. The school was an academic giant for close to 15 years before the arrival of the free learning programme in January 2003.

Since then, administrators at the school have been to the drawing board, time and again, in search of answers to what may have gone wrong as the institution’s performance at the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations continues to plummet.

In last year’s KCPE results, only three out of 400 candidates who sat for the examinations from the school obtained 400 marks and above, a performance that many say confirms the school is a pale shadow of its former self. The last had 113 marks meaning the candidate will not join secondary school.

"The obvious reason (for our fall in performance) is the surge in pupils since the introduction of free primary education," says the school deputy headteacher Caleb Ochieng’.

On the other hand, the number of pupils has doubled since 2003, Mr Ochieng’ added, while the number of teachers has reduced drastically.

"In 2002, the year preceding the introduction of free learning programme, we had a total number of 45 teachers and 1,710 pupils," he said.

"Now we have 28 teachers and a student population of 3,500 pupils," he said.

Mr Ochieng’ says the Teachers Service Commission froze hiring while it has also been transferring teachers without replacing them.

Classes that used to accommodate 45 pupils per class now accommodate more than 100 pupils.

The infrastructure in the school is stretched to the limit, Mr Ochieng’ said.

The school has five streams per class, adding to a total of 38 classes. With 28 teachers in total, 10 classes are left without a teacher.

"A parent will still insist they want their children to learn here even if we take them to the classroom and show them how full they are," he says.

The government’s new system of giving the pupils from public primary schools lion’s share in the national school has motivated the pupils in the public schools.

Source - Daily Nation

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