Education Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohammed has reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure that all children were enrolled in school and completed their studies.
Amina stated that the government was addressing all factors that make children drop out of school, including deterring child marriages and other retrogressive cultural practices.
“We will enforce policies that enable child mothers to continue schooling; providing quality health services through partnership with the National Health Insurance Fund, implement the school feeding programme, design a mentorship programme that guide learners in their everyday learning and self-development processes,” said Amina.
Speaking during the second Children Devolution Conference held in Nairobi, CS Amina said that the provision of free basic education is a significant commitment to the rights and welfare of children both in primary and day secondary schools.
“The government is investing heavily towards the provision of free primary and secondary education. The number of students enrolled in our learning institutions has increased tremendously with the Form One transition rate at 91 percent,” she said.
According to the CS, children formed half of the general population in Kenya and as such, it was important that they were involved in discussions on national issues to ensure that their voices were heard at all levels of policy formulation and implementation.
“The Big Four Agenda constitutes four key strands of policy that immensely affect the lives of children. One in 12 children dies before the age of five. 20 per cent of all children deaths under the age of 5 are caused by malaria. One third of this number affects children under the age of five,” outlined Amina.
She stressed that the provision of universal health coverage would reduce the under-five and infant mortality rates from 52 per 1,000 live births to a significantly lesser number.
Kericho County is leading in the Form One transition at 95 per cent and the government has promised to support the remaining 5 percent in high school enrollment. Nairobi, Mombasa and Lamu counties have registered a low form one transition of below 80 per cent while all other counties have a transition level of 92 percent.
“Due to devolution, a total of 3.3 million children have been enrolled in Early Childhood Development (ECD) with a total of 118, 000 teachers to train them on the new curriculum,” said Kericho governor Paul Chepkwony.
“Children’s opinions count no matter their physical state, background or where they come from and therefore they should be given an opportunity to express their opinions and views. We therefore should engage them in decision making,” said United Nation International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative Osman Nyaga.
By Judith Mshimba /Alice Gworo