The Ministry of Education in partnership with UNICEF has launched a program dubbed, Come Twende Shule in a bid to enroll all school-age children into classrooms in Samburu County.
Speaking during the launch of the program at Maralal DEB Primary School, UNICEF Education Specialist, Constance Kouakou, said that the three-year program aims at decreasing the number of out of school children in the area.
Kouakou noted that according to a 2021 report by the Global Out Of School Kenya Initiative carried out in Samburu County by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with UNESCO Institute of Statistics and UNICEF, out of 93,000 children aged between six to 13 years old, totaling about 39,000 are not in school because they have dropped out or have never enrolled in school.
“In the three years, the program aims to reduce the out of school population by enrolling 7,000 children per year by working with all education stakeholders in the county,” she said.
The Education Specialist encouraged children who are already in school to become ambassadors of the ‘Come Twende Shule Program’ by bringing their friends and relatives who have dropped out back to class.
The County Commissioner, Abdirisak Jaldesa, noted that some factors affecting enrollment and retention of pupils in local schools include insecurity, negative cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child marriage, early pregnancy and moranism.
Jaldesa said that for smooth implementation of the program in the interior parts of the county, there will be formation of committees led by the Deputy County Commissioners, head teachers, village elders, schools’ Board of Management and other relevant stakeholders that will identify and enroll the children that are out of school in their respective localities.
“All chiefs and their assistants have been directed to work closely with village elders to ensure that all school-age children are enrolled to school and I am sure at the end of the program, we will achieve the 21,000 enrollment target,” he said.
The three-year program is funded by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry Of Education, National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NACONEK) and Educate a Child.
By Robert Githu and Javier Otieno