One hundred and twenty-four girls from Kajiado County will sit for this year’s national exams pregnant as the government moves in earnest to ensure they all sit for the exams starting on Monday.
According to the data released by the Kajiado Acting County Commissioner Harun Kamau,10 expectant girls will be sitting for Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) exams, 28 girls KCPE and 86 girls for KCSE exams.
More than 1.3 million first batch of Grade Six learners nationwide will be sitting for KPSEA exams starting today. KCPE candidates will also be sitting for their first paper tomorrow.
"It’s so unfortunate these girls will have to sit for their exam expectant. Some of them are heavily pregnant and we are hopeful they will be able to write their exams. We will ensure they will be closely monitored and those who might give birth during exams assisted," said County Commissioner.
The number of expectant learners could be even higher considering most families have since re-located to neighbouring counties in search of pasture for their livestock.
Kajiado County is among the counties grappling with dire effects of imminent drought due to failed rains for more than a year.
All education stakeholders in the vast county have been combing the far-flung villages and urban centers for the candidates who have dropped out of schools recently.
Some of the community retrogressive cultures including Female Gentle Mutilation (FGM) and early marriage are said to have pushed most girls into early, unwanted pregnancy. Some had been married off to arranged suitors.
"It has been a tendency of aged men to prey on minors pushing them out of school. The culprits usually go Scot free encouraging the trend. They must be stopped, “Said a local anti- early marriage crusader in confidence.
The County Commissioner said the local administration is collaborating with other education stakeholders to ensure the expectant candidates will sit for exams.
"Our chiefs and their assistants have been given directions to ensure all expectant candidates for the three National exams from their area of jurisdiction will sit for exams by all means, “He added.
He further said the local administration has already reached out to the students' respective families to allow them to sit for exams.
"We have reached out to their respective families and explained to them the need for their daughters to sit for exams. They ought not to be condemned but to be supported. So far, we have no objection from the families contacted, “he said.
Kajiado County Education Director Kosgey Kipruto said systems are all set in the county for the national exams saying deployment of staff and transport logistics has been addressed. Each exam center will be manned by two armed police officers to ensure no hitch during the exams period.
However, he said the Ministry is struggling to ensure students out of school from the drought hit areas will be able to sit for exams and food provided during the period.
"We do not have mobile exam centers for students who have relocated with their parents in search of pasture for their livestock. We are reaching out to various education stakeholders to liaise with the families to bring back candidates to sit for exams, “Said Mr Kosgey during Kajiado North exams preparation brief.
In Kajiado county 26,865 Grade Six learners will be sitting for their KPSEA exams in 931 centres while 25,028 KCPE candidates will be writing their exams in 678 exam centres.