250,000 girls failed to report to school in January 2020, following the resumption of learning after the 2020 schools’ closure due to COVID-19, According to a new report from the office of the president.
The 250,000 figure of girls who did not resume school in January is close to half of the total 588,742 girls who sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 2020.
According to the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor in the Office of the President Ruth Kagia, who spoke on Tuesday during the launch of the country’s statement of commitment to education financing, 250,000 girls and 125,000 boys failed to return to school, largely because of school fees and teenage pregnancies.
A total of 160,000 girls, aged 10-19, out of of the 250,000 girls who dropped out were reported to have fallen pregnant or married off.
“Quite a lot of girls did not return to school when they were opened in January because they either got pregnant or got into early marriages,” said Ms Ruth Kagia, Deputy Chief of Staff, Policy and Strategy at the Office of the President.
According to data by the 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey, 380,000 Kenyan girls and young women aged between 10 and 19 become pregnant every year, (one in five girls).
The soaring cases of teenage pregnancies come at a time when the country remains divided on the Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill that makes provision for age-appropriate sex education and access to reproductive health services for adolescents.
The solution to the Kenya teen pregnancy pandemic lies largely in education, information and family planning and access to contraceptives.