5 December 2018

Kenya: Amina Mohamed Orders Admission of Teen Mothers to Form 1

The Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission have moved to curb teenage pregnancies and indiscipline in schools.

They are jointly working on a strategy to introduce guidance and counselling departments and strengthen existing ones in both primary and secondary schools beginning January next year.

DIRECTIVE

The ministry is also working to ensure that pupils who gave birth during this year's Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination report to secondary school in January.

Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has issued a directive to education officials in all counties to track down the 2018 KCPE candidates who became mothers in the course of the year and make special arrangements for them to join Form One.

"I particularly wish to highlight the 're-entry policy', which must guide school principals and head teachers to admit, accommodate and support returning students," she said.

A big number of learners sat their exams in hospital this year after delivering during the exam period.

"We need to put in place measures to deal with such cases and guarantee education to all children," Ms Mohamed said.

Meanwhile, TSC has directed schools to strengthen the guidance and counselling departments in both primary and secondary levels in a move aimed at dealing with the rising cases of indiscipline and teenage pregnancies.TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia said the increased cases of indiscipline are a result of poor parental guidance and lack of counselling.

DEPARTMENTS

"Each school must start and strengthen guidance and counselling departments and have senior teachers and deputy principals heading them to ensure we restore discipline in our learners," she said.

Ms Macharia decried the high number of teenage pregnancies that were reported during this year's KCPE and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations.

Earlier this year, Ms Mohamed said, the ministry held a dialogue in all 47 counties to assess the quality and state of education in the country.

She said some of the challenges noted include teenage pregnancies, early marriages, insecurity, inhibitive cultural practices, indirect costs of secondary education and extreme poverty in households, especially in arid and semi-arid areas.

She said the objective of the dialogue was to come up with strategies to improve access and retention in secondary school.

IMPLICATIONS

"The dialogue revealed that there still exist multiple hindrances to completion of secondary education," Ms Mohamed said.

She said her ministry is committed to addressing the problem of teenage pregnancies.

"We must all recognise that the issue of teenage pregnancies is a moral issue with heavy implications for basic and lifelong learning.

"It is a multi-sectoral challenge that calls for the attention of all government agencies, the public and civil society. We must all become part of the solution," she said.

The CS asked head teachers to enhance support services to help young mothers focus on learning and minimise disruptive practices.

She also urged parents to take their responsibility seriously and talk to their children to ensure they do not engage in sexual relations at a tender age.

To address socio-cultural barriers to secondary education, she said her ministry will continue consultations with relevant government agencies to enforce the constitutional right to education.

"National administrative arms will work with county and sub-county education officials to ensure that no child is locked out of secondary education owing to factors removed from his or her ability to continue with learning," she said.

Kenya

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