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Embu: 20pc adult population is illiterate

About 20 per cent of the adult population in Embu County does not know how to read or write, County Adult and Continuing Education Officer Stephen Mboi has said.

He said data from the Central Bureau of Statistics for 2019 also indicate that illiteracy levels among men and women stood at 18 and 21 per cent respectively.

Speaking on Friday in Embu Town during this year’s World Literacy Day Celebrations, Mboi said current enrollment in adult education stood at 2,460,  including 1,864 women and 596 men spread in 63 centres across the county.

He said last year, 534 adults managed to sit for proficiency exams, 113 did the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), and 89 have registered to sit for the national exams this year.

The officer, however, said that of late they had witnessed an increase in the number of young men aged between 20 and 25 enrolling in adult education classes.

This, he said, was largely attributable to rising cases of boys dropping out of school due to the allure of quick money in thriving muguka and sand mining businesses that are very popular in the county.

“Majority of the cases we are getting of young men enrolling in adult education classes are of those who at one point discontinued their education and have come to realise the importance of it,” he said.

He said the trend, if not reversed, will in years to come create a social imbalance owing to education inequality between men and women.

“The likely scenario in the future is that we will have more women who are educated than men in the county, which will affect the social structure of society,” he said.

He said the widened education gap between men and women will most probably lead to a decline in marriage.

The officer said one of the challenges facing them was the lack of adequate teachers to handle the rising demand.

He said currently, the whole county has 58 adult education instructors, and the distribution is posing a challenge as a result of growing enrollment.

By Samuel Waititu

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