When schools reopen in January, three classes will begin their third term, while the rest of the school will begin their second term.

The unique circumstances to save learners from wasting any further time could give rise to the often-fought early morning and evening remedial classes, Saturday classes, and possibly holiday tuition in the race against time.

Ordinarily, all classes should have been reopening for a new academic year spanning 38 weeks. But in January, schools will have lost 23 weeks of teaching and learning, equal to second term and third term.

Since the pandemic began, educators have been warning of the possibility of a backslide in learning.

A study conducted in the US by McKinsey & Co, warning of a ‘lost generation’, shows that learning levels have been set back by months. Subject-wise, learning losses have been most severe in mathematics.

Learning setbacks are also less substantial for children who had quiet areas to study at home, had parental support, computers and a high-speed Internet connection.

Some educators argue that once schools reopen, remedial classes could help address learning losses, before they accrue too much.

In a synthesis of research-related to Covid-19-induced learning losses, Research on Improving Systems of Education—a multi-country programme that covers research on what works in education in different contexts—emphasises that any solution to mitigate those losses will have to be broken down into three core components. These are assessing how much children know when they return to school, sorting them by learning level, and tailoring teaching to each level.

In terms of resources, this requires adapting curriculum to remedial education, providing additional teacher development support and top-to-bottom monitoring. Fortunately, it has already been piloted in many developing countries and proved effective in several Indian states and African nations.

This, Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chair Indimuli Kahi says, will overburden those who will be required to take all the subjects in secondary schools.

Kahi, who also is the Machakos Boys School principal, suggests the curriculum developers allow a review for such students be allowed to drop some subjects earlier in Form 2.

Worse still, at the top of the pyramid is the teachers who will be presiding over a chaotic syllabus. The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development is legally supposed to control when and how the syllabus should be taught.

The breakdown includes the content for each period, weekly targets building up to the month and year.

Most schools employ the ‘teach to test approach’ of learning and cover the course work earlier than scheduled, a method that has been criticised by some sector players.

Sourced from The Star