Narok County Director of Adult Education Mr. Benjamin Obonyo has urged all people without formal education in the county to enroll for adult education in order to be empowered socially and economically.
He pointed out that literacy was fundamental in promoting development in the area, which has abundant riches in terms of agriculture, wildlife and tourism, but a lot of human resource was being sought from other counties, due to the inadequacy of professionals in the County.
Speaking to KNA, Obonyo said literacy is a human right and a tool of personal empowerment and urged adult learners to continue enrolling in the adult classes in the county.
Being a pastoralist county, literacy levels in Narok County is one of the lowest in the country and the International Literacy Day being celebrated today in the county and in the country is being used to sensitize Kenyans on the importance of literacy skills.
He called upon young girls and boys who drop out of school for one reason or another to enroll in the adult learning and continue with education in a bid to achieve their visions in life.
The director observed that the county had 2,737 adult learners out of which 1,530 are women, while about 1,070 are males and attributed it to some cultural traditions where men do not sit together with women and nomadism where the men move from place to place looking for pasture for their livestock.
Obonyo further revealed that the department has registered 19 adult learners for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and 31 for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams who will sit for their exams in March next year.
He lamented that one of the major problems affecting education in the region is culture where many residents do not encourage their children to go to school.
The boys are left to look after the livestock at a very tender age, while the girls are circumcised and married off at an early age.
In essence, culture has therefore played a big role in high illiteracy levels among the predominantly pastoralists community, who value livestock and land and attach little importance to education, hence the high drop-out rate in the primary schools.
The nomadic way of life that the Maasai lead poses a challenge, as they move from one place to another making it difficult for the learners to complete the program.
Mr. Obonyo said another challenge affecting the Adult Education programme in the county is lack of adequate instructors and ignorance as many people are not aware of the programme.
The adult education director said his office was facing a serious shortage of adult education instructors since there are only four instructors who are employed on permanent basis while 77 teachers are part time.
He is now appealing to the government to recruit more teachers, so as to meet the deficit and have at least one teacher per location to facilitate the adult education.
By Mabel Keya –Shikuku