Child Labor, Teenage Pregnancies Cause Low Form One Turnout

By Raisa Okwaras,

Child labor and teenage pregnancies played a huge role in the poor Form One turnout observed in Kisumu during the Form One reporting over a week ago. This has dampened the government’s effort to achieve a hundred percent transition to secondary school.

According to the Kenya Ministry of Education, over 10,000 students in the seven sub-counties in Kisumu are yet to report to their respective secondary schools. It has raised concerns among stakeholders in the region.

According to Peter Munene; the Kisumu County Director of Education, out of the 31,303 students who sat for the 2021 KCPE examination in the area, only 20,804 managed to report to secondary school. From the figures, approximately a third of the students are yet to join Form One.

Peter Munene believes that the poor turnout is caused by child labor. Here, the children opt for money-making schemes in the area such as riding bodabodas or doing other small-scale businesses. The rise in costs of living forces the students to look for alternative ways to fend for themselves and their siblings.

I am worried about this emerging trend. A good number of them have joined the boda boda business but as stakeholders, we are working hard to make sure that they go back to school,” said Peter Munene.

He also added that the cases of teenage pregnancies in Kisumu rose during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has resulted in a low turnout of girls in secondary schools.

In a bid to bring more students to school, a multi-agency team is working to help identify and see them report to schools. They are lenient on the reporting window to ensure that the children get their right to education.

He also requested the schools in the area to be lenient on parents and students on matters of school fees. He encouraged school heads to find alternative ways of paying school fees.

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