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Quit blaming Covid-19 break for kids’ bad grades

9 February 2021

Dr Alex Awiti, Vice Provost of the Aga Khan University in Kenya, writes that the Kenya Global Partners in Education Covid-19 Learning Continuity in Basic Education report on learning assessment has stirred more sensation, alarm and denunciation than sensible debate and reflection. The report suggests that students, who lost nearly 10 months of learning, are not adequately prepared to take the national exams and perhaps need more time to prepare. The patterns of disparities in learning outcomes are not because of loss of learning or interruption owing to Covid-19. The disparities are the result of inequity in investment in public education. Public schools are crippled by low student-teacher ratios, chronic teacher absenteeism, lack of adequate reading materials, poor infrastructure, especially classrooms and toilets, and most of all inadequate teacher knowledge and ability.