Lessons at Mwingi Primary School on Monday, October 12. Photo: The Star
By Collins Orono
Education officials from the Coastal region have raised alarm over failure of thousands of school-going children to resume learning in their respective schools following the reopening of schools on Monday.
Education officials and administrators collecting data on the cases in Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and Taita Taveta counties said majority are girls were either pregnant or married off while boys on the other hand got involved in Child labour as others marry or undergo cultural rites of passage, including circumcision.
According to The Goal Post an organization advocating for the rights of the girl-child, more than 150 children, including 20 Class Eight pupils, are reportedly pregnant in Tana Delta Sub-County
“We have made it very clear that all pregnant girls, whom we estimate to be about 1, 500 countrywide, resume classes as we continue reopening and where the deadline for full resumption is November 2,” said Education Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia.
Daily Nation reported that the situation is worse in Nandi County, where 6,006 school-going girls are pregnant.
According to county health executive Ruth Koech, 289 girls aged between 10 and 14 years became pregnant between January and September, while another 5,717 aged between 15 and 19 got pregnant during the same period.
Emgwen Sub-county had 1,522 cases, Tindiret 1,134, Aldai 998, Mosop 947, Nandi Hills 793 and Chesumei 612 girls.
Last week, county commissioners instructed chiefs and their assistants to collect data of girls who may be pregnant and make sure they return to school.
The chiefs have also been instructed to arrest parents who may have married off their underage children and also the men who have married them.
In June, there was outrage after it was reported that about 4,000 girls aged below 19 years had become pregnant in Machakos County since the beginning of the year.