By Constance Ndeleko
The Basic Education Curriculum seeks to promote ethical values, equity, diversity, equality of opportunities and excellence for all children.
The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with UNESCO, UNFPA, Population Council and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance (SRHR), has developed these National Guidelines for School Re-Entry in Basic Education through a participatory process and they are committed to ensuring that the school re-entry guidelines steer the development and implementation of interventions for learners who drop out of school.
School dropout wastes human and financial resources, hence impeding the country’s socio-economic and political development. To address these issues, school re-entry guidelines for learners who drop out of school at different levels of basic education are necessary.
The guidelines have been constructed to:
- Provide learners with an opportunity to continue and access quality education in Basic Education Institutions
- Provide a framework of enhancing re-entry for learners who drop out of school, early pregnancies, drug and substance abuse, HIV and AIDS, Gender Based Violence, inhibitive cultural practices, child labor and trafficking, mental health, education in emergencies, including those with special needs and disabilities, in order to improve retention, transition and completion rates at all levels of basic education.
- It provides modalities and stipulates the mandate of all stakeholders involved in implementation at all institutions of Early Learning and Basic Education.
- The guidelines clearly state the roles and responsibilities of various actors in the education sector, including the school management, parents/guardians, the community and various government agencies and departments.
- To reinforce the existing legislation, policies and guidelines on access to quality basic education and to improve performance monitoring of the school re-entry system.
The Basic Education Act (2013), requires all children of school-going age to be in school. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides that every child has a right to free and compulsory basic education, and that the state shall take measures, including affirmative action programs, to ensure that children access relevant education and training.
The government of Kenya is committed to providing learners with quality, relevant, training, research and inclusive education to ensure they are equipped for sustainable development especially with adequate knowledge, skills and attitudes for building self-reliance as well as constructive intrapersonal, interpersonal and inter-group relations at national and international levels.
Education offers an opportunity for people to realize their fundamental human rights. It is an important vehicle for addressing inequality and marginalization, hence promoting social and economic equality|MOE|
According to the Kenya Economic Survey 2017 (KNBS, 2017), Kenya’s enrolment rate in primary school was at 89.2%, and the retention rate in class 8 was 78.9% for boys compared to 77.0% for girls. On the other hand, transition rate from primary to secondary dropped from 81.9% in 2015 to 81.3% in 2016. The 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) showed that 1 in 5 (18%) adolescent girls aged 15-19 years were either pregnant or have given birth (KNBS et al, 2014). Early pregnancy and motherhood rates have remained unchanged since 2008, an indication that many girls continue to drop out of school.
Inhibitive social and cultural practices such as FGM, child marriage and GBV also have a direct impact on learners’ achievement of educational outcomes. The 2010 Kenya Violence Against Children Study (VACS) indicated that violence against children is a major concern in Kenya. According to this survey “three out of every ten females (30%) aged 18-24 who reported experiencing unwanted completed intercourse before the age of 18.
The guideline is organized into four chapters ; Chapter one discusses the background, rationale, legal and policy context. Chapter two outlines the goal, objectives, target groups, scope and the guiding principles of the guideline. Chapter three provides guidelines for implementation of the school re-entry by thematic areas (early pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, gender based violence, inhibitive cultural practices, child labor and trafficking, drug and substance abuse, mental health, education in emergencies and special needs and disability). Chapter four outlines the implementation framework, including reporting mechanisms.
Despite the government’s initiatives to promote quality and affordable education to all Kenyan children, access, retention, transition and completion remain a challenge and a concern. Although the number of learners enrolled in school has improved over the years, school dropout rates are significant, leading to low transition and completion rates and rising illiteracy levels.