School Performance

How best schools manage budgets worldwide

Do high education budgets, small class sizes or even handsome salaries guarantee the best results in schools? No, not according to a major international study on the world’s best.

The study dispels many popular notions about what ails education systems. It suggests that recruiting only the top students to become teachers is the best way to change the downward spiral of any education system.

Recent reports in Kenya have shown that one out of ten class eight pupils cannot solve a standard two mathematical problem. The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) revealed that six in every ten standard three pupils have repeated classes.

The two reports prompted the school principals attending their annual conference in Mombasa this year (2010), to call for the overhauling of the current 8-4-4 system of education (eight years primary, four years secondary and four years university), and recruitment of more teachers. But a study on the best education practices in the world titled “How the World’s Best Performing School Systems Come Out on Top”, indicates that low quality teachers especially at the primary school level are to blame for the sorry states of affairs in our education system.

According to the report, poor performers recruited into the teaching profession, coupled with poor training is inflicting permanent damage on young learners in primary schools.

Low D-grades

“The quality of education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers” the report asserted. The report revealed that the best education system in the world recruit their teachers from the top of the class, whereas candidates with as low as D-grades still make it into teaching in Kenya. The Kenyan situation is further compounded by a flawed teacher-training curriculum that according to education experts has not been reviewed for decades.

“Some of them (Primary school teachers) have failed in English and mathematics, and are posted to teach the same subjects in our schools, if you expect them to deliver, forget it”.

A close look at the best education practices in the world indicates that what Kenya needs is not just an overhaul of the school curriculum, but a complete review of teacher training college recruitment criteria as well as well as Teacher Training College curriculum – or else no amount of Free Primary Education cash will make class three pupils stop repeating classes and class eight pupils solve class two mathematic problems.


Education researchers say that spending more on hiring more teachers, or even increasing the overall education budget have little impact on performance of pupils.

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