Assist needy learners

Thousands of learners who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams and passed are yet to report to Form One and have already lost one week of learning in a rather short school term. This is due to lack of school fees and money to buy the many items required by schools before admission. The most affected are learners selected to join boarding schools, who also happen to be the most vulnerable were they to take the day-school option.

The government has made available 9,000 scholarships through the Elimu Scholarships Programme, with some corporates also stepping in to help. However, this still leaves many learners out of school while others are forced to enrol in lowly schools despite posting impressive marks in KCPE.

If no intervention is done, the situation will hinder the 100 per cent transition policy, besides denying these learners a chance to get an education and lift their families out of poverty.

It will also increase the unemployment rates as such learners lack skills for the job market.

This harsh reality vitiates the government’s affirmative action programme where learners from marginalised areas are given slots in national and extra-county schools. These now charge prohibitive fees citing all manner of reasons, making the schools the preserve of those that can afford, further widening the rich-poor chasm.

There is need for the government and other stakeholders to intervene and ensure that these learners continue with their education, given that secondary learning is now considered a part of basic education and is, therefore, a constitutionally guaranteed right.

Whereas successive governments have made their contribution to education, of importance to the incoming government should be to improve the quality of education across all categories of schools as well as find a sustainable solution to reduce wastage at the various transitional points.

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