Primary Public Schools
Primary Education is the largest sector within the MOES structure. The enrolment numbers are the higher than in any other subsector. Thanks to the introduction of free primary education by Presidential Decree in 2011 there was a significant increase in enrolment, especially in Grade 1, though not as great as one might have expected when looking at the impact of free primary education in neighbouring countries.
This increase, combined with poor management and supervision of teachers, lack of physical infrastructure, particularly in remote areas, inadequate teaching and learning materials, and low participation of school committees and communities in school management contribute to problems in providing quality education. And although Grade 1 enrolment increased, the overall increase in enrolment has been little more than the increase in the population in that age group. Thus, the enrolment figures have fallen well short of the targets put forward under the outgoing ESSP. The net effect has been a stagnant GER when compared with 2012.
Possible explanations for the causes for the MOES’s failure to meet the enrolment targets include:
- Lack of parental confidence in government schools providing relevant education.
- The large increase in private schools of higher quality is evidence of this lack of trust. They are of course, out of reach of most parents;
- The hidden costs of education, including clothing, exercise books and the opportunity costs of losing potential labour;
- The quality of the teachers, many of whom are demotivated due to low and irregular salaries exacerbated by the community no longer contributing through school fees;
- Lack of facilities in government schools, including lack of learning materials and physical facilities such as water;
- Difficulty of access because there are insufficient schools or schools are too far away, especially in rural areas.