250,000 girls didn't resume class in January

Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor in the Office of the President Ruth Kagia, during the launch of the country’s statement of commitment to education financing, yesterday. She said many girls did not return to school in January because they either got pregnant or got into early marriage.

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • A study by Office of the President on status of learners return-to-school established that 250,000 girls did not resume learning, a figure close to half 588,742 girls who wrote the primary exams.
  • A total of 125,000 boys also failed to return to school, largely because their parents could not afford school fees.

Almost half of the girls who sat Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in 2020 failed to report to school on the resumption of learning last January.

A study by Office of the President on status of learners return-to-school established that 250,000 girls did not resume learning, a figure close to half 588,742 girls who wrote the primary exams.

Distressingly, of the total girls who dropped out 160,000 aged 10-19 were captured to have been either pregnant or married off, a heart-breaking result of the nine-month long Covid-19 break.

A total of 125,000 boys also failed to return to school, largely because their parents could not afford school fees.

“Quite a lot of girls did not return to school when they were opened in January because they either got pregnant or got  into early marriages,” said Ms Ruth Kagia, Deputy Chief of Staff, Policy and Strategy at the Office of the President.

She spoke in Nairobi on Tuesday during the launch of Kenya’s statement on commitment to education financing.

This huge number of pregnant girls indicates a worsened status of teenage pregnancy in a country already overwhelmed with the social problem.

Before the pandemic, one in five girls aged 15-19 was either pregnant or had given birth, based on data from 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey.

It is, however, not the end of the world for the teen mothers and pregnant girls. The government allows them to go back to school – either where they were or transfer to another if uncomfortable with previous school.

National Guidelines for School Re-Entry in Early Learning and Basic Education (2020) guarantees teen mothers and pregnant girls continuity of learning.

Should the girl prefer to re-enrol in a different school, head of the current school and Sub-county Director of Education are to support her secure a placement, directs the policy.

“In case a learner becomes pregnant more than once, she shall be allowed re-entry into a learning institution as long as she is within the mandatory schooling age," states the policy.

It further guides that:" Learners who have attained the age of 18 years shall be advised to enrol in Adult and Continuing Education or vocational training centres to complete their schooling."

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