26 June 2018

Kenya: Education CS to Launch Campaign for Girls' Education

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed will today on Wednesday launch a local campaign seeking to ensure 12 years of quality schooling of girls.

The campaign to be launched in Samburu is part of the global campaigned dubbed '12 years of quality education for all girls'.

Ms Mohamed and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson are co-chairs of the campaign launched early this year.

A report by UNICEF set to be released during the event indicate that pupils from arid and semi-arid areas (ASAL) do not have fully access to education. "In primary education, the regional disparity is predominant in ASAL Counties. In secondary education, the picture is even bleaker, with wider gender gap in enrolment in ASAL counties - a huge regional disparity," reads the report.

At the launch, Ms Amina will be accompanied by Joanna Roper who is the UK Foreign Secretary's Special Envoy for Gender Equality.

The report dubbed 'Situation of Girls Education - Kenya' states that gender parity is 0.97 at primary and 0.90 at secondary level "Further, gender inequalities become more pronounced through the period of adolescence, and are manifested particularly in the high inequality in girls access to education and the dropout rates from primary seven onwards.

Large number of adolescent girls drop out and remain unemployed due to a mismatch between the skills of the unemployed and the skill requirements of potential employers," adds the report dated April 2018.It states that only 235,000 out of estimated 4 million children with disabilities are accessing primary and, an even lower number in secondary schools while there is a significant 10percent gender gap regarding the enrolment of girls.

"A girl in the Central region is over seven times more likely to have attained a Standard two level of literacy and numeracy than a girl in the North Eastern region," reads the report.

The report adds that four out of 10 girls begin childbearing in their early teens, while 60percent are unable to access family planning. "There is high prevalence of HIV infections among adolescent girls. Learning outcomes at the secondary school level are still weak, with about 70percent of the students, mostly girls, fail to achieve C+ in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (KCSE), the minimum requirement for admission to university.

The report says some communities have a cultural mind-set that devalues female education as boys are given more preference and this leads to girls doing daily chores like taking care of younger siblings, cooking and fetching water and not attending school. "Cost of education - Parents are poor and cannot afford the hidden costs of education, and in situations of priorities, boys are more often given more priority for education over the girl child," it adds.

It says that school aged girls in pastoralist communities are particularly at risk of getting married with an estimated 23 per cent of girls marry before they reach their 18th birthday.

UNICEF 2016/2017 Baseline Survey on Child Marriage states that approximates that 15percent of girls and women aged 20-24 in Balambala (Garissa County), 58 per cent in Habaswein (Wajir County), 30 per cent in Kuria (Migori county) and 32 per cent in Turkana County reported being married before reaching the age of 18.

"Common rationales for practicing child marriage include: better bride price; existing poverty and hardship; traditional requirements; 'other girls are doing it'; and pressure from the family.

Girls who become pregnant are often discouraged from attending school because of the stigma surrounding pregnancy," reads the report.


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