Monday, August 29, 2016



The government of Kenya is committed to the provision of quality education to her citizens. Education and training have been singled out in the attainment of Vision 2030 as the vehicle through which the country will attain her aim of being a middle-income economy.  The quality of education is usually affected by a number of factors, this paper explore the policy on transition of students from one class to another. There are two policies on transition namely social promotion and grade retention.
Grade retention also known as grade repetition refers to the process of retaining a student in the same class for a subsequent year mainly due to failure. Students who repeat a class are commonly referred to as repeaters.
Many arguments have been put forward for and against grade retention as a policy
There has been no clear evidence showing either of the policy on promotion being either helpful or harmful because each has its advantages as well as disadvantages.
Harm from retention cited by these critics include:
Research by Guanglei Hong and Stephen Raudenbush show  that retaining students in a class harms rather than hurts the retained students while on the other hand it fails to provide benefits to non-retained/promoted students. The research considered students who were considered by proponents of the grade retention policy as the "safest" children to hold back, and the conclusion that was arrived at was the fact that repetition leaves most students even further behind, and, therefore, delays these children's cognitive development over the repetition year. Although students who repeat a class improve their performance the second year in the same class, critics of retention policy argue that they would have learned more if they had been given an opportunity to move to the next class.

  • Grade retention may lower the self esteem of the student and make them feel as if they were mentally inferior and in turn cause them to give up on their academics. It may also cause them to be the subject of ridicule and bullying by other students.
Grade retention has led to increased drop-out rates of retained students over time.[ Substantial research has found that grade retention produces harmful emotional and psychological consequences and greatly increases the likelihood of the students dropping out of school.
Those students who are retained tend to display improvement in performance however there is no evidence of long-term academic benefit for retained students. Opponent of repetition point out that those students who are retained perform dismally compared to other low-scoring students who are promoted. They argue that any initial improvement that is noticed in the year that they are retained cannot be sustained. That is,a student who repeats a class is likely to be doing well as compared to his or her classmates who were promoted from the previous class but two or more years later, he or she will most likely fall behind landing at the bottom of the class once more.
  • Grade retention may lead to increased rates of dangerous behaviors such as drinking, drug abuse, crime, teenage pregnancy, depression, and suicide among retained students as compared with similarly performing promoted students.citation needed
·         Critics of retention also note that retention is expensive for school systems and since resources are scarce it is economically stressful to retain a student in the same grade over different years: requiring a student to repeat a grade is essentially to add one student for a year to the school system, assuming that the student does not drop out.
·         The possibility of grade retention has been shown to be a significant source of stress for students. In one study of childhood fears performed in the 1980s, the top three fears for US sixth graders were a parent's death, going blind, and being retained. After two decades of increasing retention practices, a repeat of the study in 2001 found that grade retention was the single greatest fear, higher than loss of a parent or going blind.[12]This change likely reflects the students' correct perception that they were statistically far more likely to repeat the sixth grade than to suffer the death of a parent or the loss of their vision.
Arguments for grade retention
Proponents of grade retention as a policy in our education system point out the fact that promoting a student who has not learned the required material is a deception to the student. Such a student is likely to fail in other classes. Opponents of social promotion argue that it has the following negative impacts:
  • Students who are promoted without gaining the skill and knowledge expected of them at one class cannot do the work in the next class, and so by promoting them to the subsequent class they are being set up for further failure.
  • Students will have many failures in the the subsequent classes, which will most likely lead to dropping out.
  • Promotion of students regardless of performance sends the message to all students that they can get by without working hard hence discouraging them from working and instead encourages laxity in education.
  • It forces teachers to deal with under-prepared students while trying to teach the prepared.
  • It gives parents a false sense of their children's progress.
  • It will not get them the help they need.
Some hold that most students at the elementary school level don't take their education seriously and therefore retention in early years is unlikely to be effective. Since pre-teens and teenagers value their education more, retention should be used if they have inadequate skills for the next level or class.

Social promotion is the practice of promoting a student to the next class only at the end of an academic  year, regardless of when or whether they learned the necessary material, in order to keep them with their peers by age, that being the intended social grouping

The Basic Education Bill 2012 presents that no student who is admitted in a school in Kenya shall be held back in any class or be expelled from school and according to Republic of Kenya (2012) Godia points out that at the primary school level, the curriculum should be restructured in such a way that it is broad based, skills and competency based, and should promote national values and allow for automatic progression from one level to the other and from one grade to the other.



Population structure and its effects on education

Studying the structure of a population means studying its composition, i.e., its distribution according to certain pre-defined criteria. Educational planners may be concerned with the distribution of the population for various reasons. First, they may be interested in its distribution by age and sex. This enables them to measure the relative size of the school-age population, which is the foundation and the point of departure for any educational policy.

Second, they may be concerned with the distribution of the population by sector of economic activity and, within each of these sectors, by occupation. Without accurate knowledge of the distribution by sector and occupation, it is impossible to estimate manpower requirements, and hence to determine targets for technical, vocational and higher education.

Third, planners may be concerned with the geographical distribution of the population, which affects both the cost of education and the choice of types, sizes and locations of schools.

Age structure of the population and educational development

Age structure and teacher requirements

The persistence of a high birth rate from 1945 to 1970, followed by a drop as from 1970, has had a considerable impact on education.

More generally, whenever the birth rate falls for one reason or another, this decrease will affect the number of children in primary education six years later, the number in secondary school 12 years later and the number in higher education 18 years later. Such a trend makes it easier to absorb the increased social demand for secondary and higher education.

The structure of the population by age can yield much other useful information for educational planning. It can be used, in particular, to measure the relative burden of expenditures on education.

Age structure and relative burden of educational expenditures

Expenditures on education are proportionate to enrollment and consequently depend indirectly on the school-age population, but the financing of education can be considered as a levy on the output of the economically active part of the population. If the school-age population is made up of children from 5 to 14 years of age inclusive, and the active population is recruited from persons aged 15 to 64, an estimate of the relative burden of educational expenditures on the active population is obtained by calculating the ratio of the 5 to 14-year-old population to the 15 to 64-year-old population.

As earlier seen, the age structure enables us to estimate the relative size of the school-age population. It also enables us to calculate school enrollment rates in order to try to answer the following question: ‘What proportion of children receive an education?’

Age structure and school enrollment rates

The gross enrollment rate is calculated as the ratio of the total number enrolled at a given educational level to the age group corresponding to the official age at that level. If, for example, primary education comprises five years of schooling and the official age of admission is six years, the gross enrollment rate in primary education is equal to:

Total number of pupils in primary education
ER Gross     =     ——————————————————
Total 6 to 10-year-old population

This method of calculation leads to overestimation of school enrollment: Some children may be admitted early, before the official age; while others are over the official age, owing to either late admission or repetition of grades.

For this reason, a net enrollment rate is also calculated:

No. of pupils 6 to 10 years of age in primary education
ER Net =        ——————————————————————
Total 6 to 10-year-old population

Unfortunately, the net enrollment rate has the opposite disadvantage as the gross rate: it underestimates enrollment rates, since all pupils above and below the official age range are excluded.

The enrollment rate for an entire educational level, whether gross or net, is thus not an entirely satisfactory indicator. For this reason, enrollment rates are also calculated for each year of age. The enrollment rate for 6-year-olds, for example, is equal to:

No. of 6-year-old pupils in primary education
ER 6 years =   ————————————————————
Total 6-year-old population

Enrollment rates by specific age are more precise than those by age group, but they do not fully dispel the ambiguity. A 6-year-old enrollment rate of less than 100 per cent does not mean that not all children are admitted to school. Some may enter school at 7 years of age, at 8, or even later still.

Population changes and their impact on educational planning

The study of population changes must take into account the trend of any increase (or, in some cases, decrease) in the population over time. The two main factors which affect this trend are natality and mortality. The combination of these two factors, plus migration, determines the changes in the size of a population.


The crude birth rate

This, the simplest rate, is calculated as the ratio of the number of live births during a year to the average population for that year. The average population for a year can be considered either as the population figure for 1 July of that year, or as the average of the population figures for the beginning and the end of the year.

Note that the birth rate is given per thousand, as is often the case for demographic rates. Although the crude birth rate has the advantage of being a simple rate, easily obtained from general data, it nevertheless has certain disadvantages. One of these disadvantages is that it gives the ratio of live births to the total population, whereas, in fact, only a part of the female population is capable of bearing children. Consequently, the crude birth rate will vary with the structure of the population by age and sex, or more precisely the percentage of women of childbearing age in relation to the total population. This rate, therefore, cannot be used to make comparisons between countries, because age structures may be very different in one country than in another. This is why demographers prefer to use fertility rates rather than the crude birth rate.

Fertility rates

The term ‘fertility’ is used to indicate the proportion between the number of births and the number of women of child-bearing age. A distinction can be made, however, between the general fertility rate and age-specific fertility rates.

The general fertility rate

This rate is the ratio of live births to the number of women of child-bearing age (considered by convention to be women of 15 to 49 years). As in the case of the crude birth rate, this rate is expressed per thousand.

One of the drawbacks of the general fertility rate is that it does not give a detailed picture of natality. It is known that fertility varies with age and is particularly high in women between 20 and 30. The general fertility rate of the population may therefore be higher or lower depending on the proportion of women aged 20 to 30. For this reason planners prefer to calculate age-specific fertility rates.

Age-specific fertility rates

Fertility rates can of course be calculated for each year of age, but in general they are given by age groups (ages 15-19, 20-24, 25- 29, etc.).

Where there is no deliberate birth control, fertility rates by age indicate the biological capability of women to bear children: the fertility rate is higher among young women and tends to fall as their age rises. In this case, it is possible to forecast the number of future births with some degree of accuracy on the basis of the age distribution of women and the fertility rate by age.

Where birth control is practiced, however, this rate becomes difficult to interpret. When the size of the family is intentionally restricted and when the births are deliberately spaced, the age of women is no longer the only factor affecting fertility. Other factors come into play, such as age at marriage, length of time married, and the number of children preceding a given birth.

The number of births has great significance for educational planners, as this number will determine the future number of pupils and students in the various levels of the education system. In most countries, educational planning is concerned with increases in the number of pupils and students, but in others – after a period of declining natality – it may involve planning for a drop in this number, a task that raises problems of similar complexity.

A decrease in the birth rate is not the only cause of a declining number of school pupils. As will be seen below, internal migration may cause a substantial drop in the rural population. In such cases, the number of pupils in rural schools will decline, resulting in under utilization of such schools, while at the same time, new schools must be built in urban areas to accommodate the children of those who have migrated to the cities. Thus, planning for an increased number of pupils in some areas may take place simultaneously with planning for decreased numbers in other areas within the same country. Declining natality is a general phenomenon observed in all countries of Western Europe. As early as the beginning of the 1950s, the general fertility rate in Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden had fallen.


A distinction can usually be made between two types of mortality, depending on the cause of death: endogenous mortality and exogenous mortality.

Endogenous mortality means death occurring from a cause which is to some extent inherent in the individual. Thus, when a child is born with deformities and dies because of these deformities, the death of that child can be declared endogenous. Deaths due to old age, or the diseases which accompany old age, can also be classified under this category.

Exogenous mortality, in contrast, refers to deaths from other causes, such as accidents, contagious diseases, and dietary deficiencies. Although this may appear to be a very clear-cut distinction, it is much less clear in practice, either because the causes of death may be unknown or not declared, or because there may be multiple causes of death. The distinction can nonetheless prove very useful. Although the progress of hygiene and medical care on the one hand, and the rise in living standards on the other, are capable of reducing exogenous mortality to a marked extent, they have very little effect on endogenous mortality. The fact is that although medical progress can prevent certain premature deaths, it cannot prolong life beyond a certain limit.

Methods of measuring mortality

The simplest way of measuring mortality is the crude death rate. This rate is obtained by dividing the total number of deaths in a specific year by the average population figure for that year. It thus resembles the crude birth rate discussed above. This rate is quite straightforward to calculate and does not require detailed mortality statistics. However, it has the same drawbacks as the crude birth rate where international comparisons are concerned. As an example, over the 1990-1995 period the crude death rate in Syria was 5.6 per thousand, while that of the United Kingdom was 9.4 per thousand. These figures give the misleading impression that the mortality level was higher in the United Kingdom than in Syria. This apparent paradox is easily explained by the fact that mortality varies greatly with age: it is low among younger people and, of course, higher for more advanced ages. The proportion of deaths in relation to the total population will therefore depend on the age structure of that population.

A youthful population such as that of Syria (i.e. a population in which the proportion of younger people is larger than that of older people) will have fewer deaths and hence a lower crude death rate than an older population.

The general nature of the crude death rate thus diminishes its significance to demographers, who – faced with the fact that the level of mortality varies substantially according to age – are inclined to calculate age-specific mortality rates. These rates obviously provide much more accurate indications of the level of mortality in a given population. Mortality rates are of course calculated separately for men and for women, for they also differ between the sexes. Most countries display excess male mortality, i.e. the mortality rate is higher for men than for women at advanced ages.

The impact of AIDS on educational development

In countries where the level of HIV infection is already high, AIDS has, of course, a considerable impact on educational development and quality. In analyzing this problem, it is appropriate to start by examining the impact of AIDS on the work and performance of teachers and its effect on student learning.

(a) The impact of AIDS on the work, performance and number of teachers

AIDS strikes young adults first, primarily the 30-40 year age group, which is the group containing the bulk of the teaching force (both men and women). Moreover, it appears that teachers are especially at risk.

In its early stages – i.e. during the primary infection stage and the asymptomatic infection stage, or latency period – HIV infection has little impact on the work performed by teachers, especially if, as is often the case, the infected person does not know that he or she is HIV-positive. The impact on teachers’ performance begins to be felt in the end stage of the infection, i.e. AIDS, when there is a considerable risk of opportunistic infections. At this stage, there is a dramatic increase in the amount of sick leave taken for periods of varying length. Even worse, AIDS leads inevitably to death, and the resulting decimation of the teaching force, trained with difficulty and at considerable expense, forms an additional barrier to the development and qualitative improvement of basic education, particularly for the poorest countries.

(b) The impact of AIDS on student learning

The frequent absence of teachers, and the lack of substitute teachers, definitely has an impact on children’s learning and achievement. Children’s learning process may also be perturbed when HIV infects a family member or friend, particularly when the infected person is one of their parents. Moreover, one of the most tragic social consequences of the rapid spread of AIDS is the huge increase in the number of orphans, who cannot always be placed in a foster home owing to the loosening of family ties, the decline in traditional mechanisms of solidarity (particularly in urban areas), the fear of incurring further expenses, and the sometimes irrational fear of contagion.


Before you open your mouth, you have already made an impression through your dressing. This is because your appearance is the first thing people notice about you.
Experts say that first impressions are usually formed within the first 30 seconds, so pay lots of thoughts to what you choose to wear for that interview. Whatever you have heard, suits in dark colors are still the safest bet when going for an interview, so please, don’t wear your red leather mini-skirt in the spirit of self expression. The rule of the skirt is that it should not be more than a biro’s length above the knee. As  for trousers, too tight and they will  reveal unpleasant details, such as your crotch. Also, no plunging necklines or body-hugging dresses.
Carry the right props
If you don’t have one, it is time to invest in an a presentable handbag; the backpack you carry your school books with will just not do.
A number of studies have shown that interviewees wearing or carrying renowned high-end brand accessories are likely to get preferential treatment in interviews. Of course that will depend on whether those interviewing will recognize them. In conclusion, if you look great you will feel confident, and it will show.
Go easy on the make-up
An interview is not the place to wear flashy or badly applied make-up. The foundation should match your skin tone, so if your face looks different from the rest of your body, then you did a bad job. Also avoid bright-colored lipstick, since it might distract from what you say. The same goes for nails polish, choose a subdued color, rather than luminous ones, which scream from a mile away