2education projects, and collaborate with the private sector in various ways to maximize information andcommunication technologies (ICT) to improve education. These
efforts complement the GOK’s
education and social reforms that, in 2003, were dramatically bolstered by the termination of schoolfees and levies for primary education.As a result of this act by the GOK, total student enrollment increased 46% over seven years, from 5.9million public and private primary school students in 2002 to 8.6 million in 2009. While this amounts toa Net Enrollment Rate (NER) of 92.5%, with near gender parity, the effect of such drastic change onsystematic service delivery and instructional quality
including in the core skill of reading
wasdamaging. Over a seven-year period (2000-2007), Kenya's reading proficiency dropped from second tofifth of the 15 African countries participating in the Standard 6 examination administered by theSouthern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ).
Are Our Children Learning?
assessment study reported that only 30% of Standard 3 children could read aStandard 2 level story in English or Kiswahili, and that 4% of Standard 8 children could not read aStandard 2 story in English. The 2007 analysis of EGR in the Malindi district of Coast province found thatstudents in Standard 2 could read, on average, just 11 words per minute, far below the internationalbenchmark of 52 words per minute for
grade 2 students. A similar analysis in 2009 reportedthat 14% of students tested in English, 18.6% in Kiswahili, 14.8% in Gikuyu, and 20.3% in Dholuo in thelast term of Standard 3 could not read a single word correctly. Simply put, a large number of Kenyanchildren are unable to read or comprehend simple text.Since it is a foundational skill, poor reading ability links to
dropout rates, repeating of courses,and underperformance in other content areas. The 2011 USAID Global Education Strategy recognizes
the importance of developing strong early grade readers: “Given limited resources… the most strategic
impact [the Agency] can make in basic education is to address early grade reading as an outcome that is
critical to sustain and ensure learning for children.” In Kenya, children who perform poorly in Standards
1 and 2 are likely to score lower on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) Standard 8 exam,repeat a year, or drop out. The strategy continues:
n stable, well performing countries with unmetneeds in basic education, the priority focus will be on assuring learning outcomes for primary grade
children, especially in reading.”
KEGRP will support this goal and aims to improve the reading skills of approximately 30 percent of the more than eight million children who will be enrolled in Grades 1 and 2through 2018. This Request for Information will inform the solicitation that covers the first 3.5 years of the project before full or partial transition of activities to the GOK.
In order to bolster its educational standards, the GOK enacted in 2005 a series of structured policyreforms and investment via the Kenya Education Sector Support Program (KESSP). At its core, KESSPutilized specially designed interventions to rapidly and adequately increase access to quality basiceducation. The first five-year phase of KESSP ended in 2010. Phase Two (called NESSP, the NationalEducation Sector Support Program) is under development; it is expected to launch in 2013 and continuethrough 2018. The draft version of NESSP outlines the GOK strategy to improve the quality of basiceducation services, specifically those surrounding the development of reading. It is anticipated that theMOE will launch a national reading program via NESSP that will encompass early childhood education(pre-school) through Standard 2, of which KEGRP will be an integral component.The interest of the MOE in facilitating their own
knowledge of ‘what works’ in education
was evidentthroughout KESSP, notably by their active participation and subsequent leadership in the development