By Jacob De’ Kiage
Education is one of the most powerful aspects of life. Education and learning allow us to make sense of the world around us, the world inside us, and where we fit within the world. Malcolm X once said, “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. School closures during COVID-19 pandemic brought significant disruption to the education sector in Kenya.
Emerging evidence from some of the reports indicated increase in the dropout rate in schools. The dropout cases in schools have been a problem, but COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation. The lockdown effects, fear of death, the financial constraint, job losses, the slogan ‘Stay home stay safe’ aggravated the fear of parents sending their children to school. A number of girls got pregnant prior to completing primary and secondary education due to COVID-19 related containment measures.
It was reported that one in five girls between 15 and 19 years were either pregnant or already a mother by the time schools were reopening.
Increase in drug abuse among the school age going children was reported during the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused dropping out of school, strained relationship with other students and teachers and lack of interest in studying when schools reopened. Low performance was also reported in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.
Through the directorate of adult and continuing education, the government has tailored the adult learning within the sub counties across the country to help accommodate the young women and men who had dropped out of school and adults who are willing to continue with their studies.
Increasing participation in adult secondary schools by improving the quality and efficiency of adult education programmes, creating more centres and deploying graduate adult education instructors. This has really contributed in bringing back the youths who have dropped out of school to get a second chance to complete their studies. Also, young people and adults who are not certified with the grades they got or want to better their grades to study specific courses can register and resit Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
Jacob De’ Kiage (front left) following a session during Segment one of the PSELF programme
A good example is Nakuru West Sub-County Adult Education Centre which has registered 103 KCSE and 30 KCPE candidates for the year 2022. The instructors at the centre have been doing their best within the sub county to analyse the needs of the youth who have dropped out of school, organizing programmes for out of school youth and adults and arranging workshops and other events to enhance their confidence levels.
These are youths and adults who dropped out of school during COVID-19 and have made a decision to come and complete their studies.
Through the initiative, the government is building back better from COVID-19 as we work to meet the 2030 deadline for implementing the sustainable development goals through increasing number of youth and adults who access primary and secondary education.
The Writer is a PSELF Fellow, 2022 and Adult Education Officer, Nakuru West Sub-County.