English Language Proficiency Is Declining Among Learners


Education stakeholders in Kiambu County have raised concern over the dwindling proficiency in the English language among learners, attributing this to the overuse of slang.

This was raised during an annual contest event of both written and spoken English among learners from 27 public schools at Mary Hill Girls High School in Thika, where school heads said the language was under threat from emerging languages, especially in urban centres.

They added that their grasp of the language was also poor, particularly among learners from rural schools.

Led by the Chief Principal, Mary Hill Girls, Jacinta Ngure, the school heads called on the need to build a strong reading culture among learners in order to sharpen their understanding of the English language.

They said English remains a core language as it’s among the most used for interactions worldwide, thus the need for learners to be proficient at an early age.

They called on schools to consider holding these contests regularly to facilitate the development of
self-confidence, increase students’ interest in the language, and enable them to make progress in the language.

The event, according to Ms. Ngure, is meant to facilitate interaction, competition, cooperation, and socialisation, which are key requirements for bringing up well-rounded learners.

Teachers at the event that was sponsored by Longhorn, among other promoters, said the proficiency will further enable students to stop making grammatical errors.

John Muthiora, the principal of Strathmore School, decried that learners in upcountry schools are disadvantaged in the language due to lack of the necessary exposure, as the language is largely spoken in major towns.

He called on the government to come up with necessary language policies, undertake reorientation of teachers, and avail more reading materials to improve the subject in schools.

Learners led by Faith Ngugi lauded the contest, saying it goes a long way in pushing them to revise the language better for the exams and for future use.

They urged th
e Ministry of Education to make it a policy for such contests to happen to accommodate all schools, including those from rural areas and those that are seemingly disadvantaged.

Source: Kenya News Agency

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