WHERE ARE THEY?

Covid-19 pushed over 233,000 secondary students out of school

About 6.6 per cent of the total number of students enrolled in March 2020 failed to report

In Summary
  • In total, secondary enrolment decreased by 5.7 per cent from 3.5 million in March 2020 to 3.3 million in March 2021, when schools fully reopened.
  • Boys were slightly more affected with 118,176 students failing to report after they reopened in January.
Alarming rate of school drop outs.
WHERE ARE THEY?: Alarming rate of school drop outs.
Image: FILE

The closure of learning institutions between March 2020 and January 2021 fuelled the drop out of nearly quarter a million secondary students.

A survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics released on Thursday reveals that some 233,300 students did not return after schools reopened.

This translates to 6.6 per cent of the total number of students enrolled in March 2020.

The data assesses the period between March 2020 and March 2021.

In total, secondary enrolment decreased by 5.7 per cent from 3.5 million in March 2020 to 3.3 million in March 2021 when schools fully reopened.

Boys were slightly more affected with 118,176 students failing to report after they reopened in January.

On the other hand, some 115,124 girls dropped out of secondary school in the same period.

The numbers lift the lid on the underlying effects the lockdown had on the education sector.

However, the number of secondary schools which reopened in March 2021 increased by 0.4 per cent from 10,413 to 10,458 in March of 2021.

This is despite hundreds of private schools closing down during the lockdown as they were unable to sustain overhead costs in the lockdown period.

In June, a report commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta disclosed that some 375,000 learners in primary and secondary schools dropped out during the closure of learning institutions to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The report sought to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the education sector.

Adverse effects of the closure saw 165,000 adolescent girls aged between 10 and 19 either married or impregnated, the report indicates.

The effects of the pandemic were further felt during the KCPE and KCSE examinations where 12,424 candidates who registered for the 2020 KCPE examinations did not take the test.

Education CS George Magoha has yet to reveal his plan to ensure tracing and re-enrollment.

The Education ministry, in line with the constitutional provision of compulsory 12 years of education, has been pushing to ensure all learners who complete primary school proceed to secondary institutions.

Joseph Wasikhongo, national coordinator of the Elimu yetu coalition on Friday told the Star that despite success in ensuring students proceed to secondary school, it lacks a proper plan to ensure retention.

Wasikhongo says proper strategies and support should be provided to boys and girls in equal measure.

“There are a lot of issues that come to play when a child is in secondary school and that could lead to them not completing their education.

"They include peer influence, lack of fees, pregnancy for girls and the urge to make money more so for boys,” he told the Star on phone.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)