All learners must be in school in spite of need

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021 00:00 | By
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha. PHOTO/File

There are many reasons why children keep off school. Some drop out because of lack of fees; others because of looking for alternative paths to livelihood; others are married off while some just choose to stay away.

The most touted reason, however, is the financial burden that comes with education.

Two weeks into Form One admission and the magnitude of learners and parents still seeking financial help has been on a steady rise in the country.

Class Eight leavers are crying out for help because the odd jobs they have been doing, just to raise funds seem not to be bearing any fruit.

They are afraid of losing out on joining their dream secondary schools.

The situation of poor learners is well painted by the number of people who apply for various scholarship programmes to secure funding for secondary education.

The situation is so bad for some parents that as much as they are ready to take their children to school, they cannot even afford to buy school uniforms or other personal effects.

Last month, the Government issued scholarships to 9,000 needy and vulnerable children joining Form One under the Elimu Scholarship Programme (ESP), as it seeks to implement the 100 per cent transition policy.

ESP targeted 110 sub-counties and 15 urban centres with informal settlements.

Some 114,765 needy students, who sat their 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam applied for ESP and Wings to Fly scholarships but only 10,705 benefitted.

The Government has insisted no learner should be left behind and should report to secondary schools.

Yesterday, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha directed immediate tracing of learners who are yet to report to secondary school and documentation of reasons why they have not.

He insisted the 100 per cent transition to secondary schools must be followed to the letter, as he led a door-to-door tracing campaign in Jomvu, Mombasa.

Nairobi and Bomet counties are some of the counties that have recorded a 100 per cent transition and this should be replicated in other counties.

Times are hard, the Covid-19 pandemic has not made things any easier. The rising cost of living has worsened situations.

But as the Basic Education Act provides, all children should get compulsory education at least up to Form Four hard economic times or societal problems notwithstanding.

Education is said to be a great equaliser and it is about time that this is put into perspective and in that light, no child should be left behind.

More on Features