Kenya: Amina Holds Crisis Meeting Over Teenage Pregnancies

(file photo).
3 November 2018

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Friday held a crisis meeting with ministry officials on the issue of teenage pregnancies.

During the meeting, the directors were asked to carry out a survey on all candidates who gave birth this year, on and before examination, to enable the government develop interventions.

A report released by the ministry in July this year identified seven most affected counties -- Narok, Kilifi, Meru, Bungoma, Busia, Migori, Nairobi and Homa Bay.

The determination to face the issue is as a result of the 10 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination candidates who delivered during the three-day exercise.

BODA- BODA

"Teenage pregnancies were reported to affect access and retention of learners in the school system. This was reported mostly in arid and semi arid land counties, with Narok and Kilifi reporting the highest cases of teenage pregnancies of up to 60 per cent," the report says.

In Nairobi, it was reported that teenage pregnancies were as high as 60 per cent among schoolgoing children. Boda-boda operators were accused of fanning the problem.

"Cases of child defilement have been accelerated by the youth operating motorcycles who lure young girls into sex in exchange for rides. The factors had in some cases led to school dropouts or poor attendance," the report reads.

In Kilifi, several cases of candidates who did their exams while pregnant or having given birth days to the exams were reported.

FINAL REPORT

Education director Moses Karati confirmed the cases but said he was waiting for his sub-county education chiefs to submit the final report.

"Yes, we reported these cases. They were there but I cannot give the exact number because I have to get the briefing from my officers on the ground, "Mr Karati said.

However, Ganze Sauti Ya Wanawake chairperson Judith Uchi said in the constituency alone more than 100 candidates either sat their exams while pregnant or had given birth months or weeks before the start of the tests. She said drastic actions have to be taken.

The Saturday Nation traced some of the victims who narrated their ordeal. They said they are still determined to continue with their education.

RESUME STUDIES

At Maryani Primary School, a candidate who did her exams at the sixth month of her pregnancy said she has the support of parents and teachers. A teacher at the school said they appealed to the girl to return to resume her studies because she has a promising future.

"My parents and teachers asked me not to give up and that I must continue with my education. At one moment I had given up but that is no more. I want after these results are out, go to secondary school and continue with my education until I become a teacher," the 16-year-old said.

At Kadzandani Primary School in Kilifi, a 15-year-old girl also sat the exams with her six months pregnancy. The girl said she was defiled by an imam who has since gone into hiding.

".. When I told him that I was pregnant, he ran away and has never been seen at the village," she said.

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