Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lack of money can still prevent Kenyans from free education

Kenya has a free education system, but not everyone in enrolled. A new study released today shows that lack of money or interest keeps children away from education in the country.

According to the study, the costs of school uniforms or school lunches are too much for some parents, so they keep them at home instead.

In the Kenyan paper the Daily Nation, Sammy Cheboi gives the numbers cited in the report.

Some 16 per cent of children reported that their parents did not let them go to primary school, while five per cent said they had to work or help at home.

About two per cent of children of school-going age had never attended school because of ill-health, either involving the child or a member of the family.

At the secondary school level, the same pattern prevails, the report established.

The cost of uniforms, supplies and transport are beyond the means of some households, especially when they have several children of school-going age.

“This means that choices have to be made, and the choice is often to drop out of school or, worse still, to deny schooling to girls while enrolling boys, thereby contributing directly to maintaining the inferior status of women,” says the report.

As poor children who are enrolled grow older, the opportunity cost (foregoing work and the income it may entail) becomes greater, thus increasing the likelihood of abandoning school, adds the report.

Furthermore, dropping out of school because of poverty virtually guarantees perpetuation of the poverty cycle.

1 comment:

Colin said...

Good post. I knew the system in Kenya was messed up last time I went there. Thousands of kids on the streets all day either begging, committing crimes or doing menial work.

Kenya needs to fix its system because it is exacerbating the situation.

I also run a blog on poverty and low-income issues at

How do I get in touch with you? My contact info is on my site under the contact tab.