The problems facing the children of Kenya are so large and complex that it can be hard to know how to be of any real help. These fact files aim to lay out the details of some of the greatest issues, and how Teach a Child – Africa (TaC) is attempting to counter them.
Lack of Educational Opportunities
“Education is the only way to fight poverty in our society. It’s the only way to attain one’s purpose in life. It’s the only way to narrow the bridge between the rich and the poor.”
Otieno Eliud Owino, TaC alumnus at The Technical University of Kenya
- After a decrease in literacy between 2000 and 2007 prompted serious concern, literacy rates have been gradually improving in Kenya. In 2007, the literacy rate among the population aged 15 years or above was 72.16% and this had risen to 78.73% by 2015. However even then, levels of literacy were still below what they had been in 2000.
- This is doubtless due to the low numbers of children who receive a full education. In 2009, the gross enrolment ratio in secondary education was 60.43%. In the same year, enrolment in tertiary education was at 4.05%.
- The children supported by TaC are among those who would otherwise have no chance of pursuing any education higher than primary.
The HIV/AIDS Epidemic
- There is still a strong negative prejudice against those most vulnerable to HIV, with 2014 research showing that, in the preceding six months, 44% of female sex workers and 24% of men who had sex with men had been arrested or beaten by police or vigilantes.
- A 2014 Kenyan Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) found that 40% of both men and women were against the idea of educating young people about condoms, although this is the best way to prevent the spread of HIV.
- The KDHS also showed that only 54% of young women and 64% of young men had a comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention.
- Yet HIV awareness is considerably higher among university students, demonstrating just how vital the work of TaC is: after finishing at secondary school, 80% of TaC alumni secured a place at university.
A 50/50 POLICY
By ensuring half our beneficiaries are female, TaC is committed to reducing the current gender disparity in education in Kenya.
- While enrolment rates for girls and boys are fairly comparable at primary level education, the gender gap becomes far more pronounced when looking at figures for secondary schooling. In 2009, the gross enrolment ratio for males was 63.47% and 57.37% for females.
- The greatest discrepancy occurs among the poorest quintile group of Kenya, with attendance rates of 33.1% for males and 25% for females according to a 2014 UNICEF report.
- Learning attainment among women and girls has been repeatedly shown to lead to improvements in all areas of life:
- Girls with at least six years of school education are more likely to be able to protect themselves from HIV.
- Child brides are more likely to describe their first sexual experience as forced and are more at risk of being threatened or beaten by their husbands.
- Among Kenyan women aged 20-24, 67% of those with no education are married as a child, while only 6% of those with secondary education or higher become child brides.
- The facts are indisputable: empowering young women with a secondary education gives them the opportunity to live better and more autonomous lives.
These figures paint a dismal image of the state of education in Kenya, fortunately though, there is hope for improvement. TaC is incredibly proud of how conscientious are students are and their work ethic is reflected in the outstanding results that we see.
- While under 15% of grades across the country are B or higher, over 85% of grades achieved by TaC alumni are B or higher. These are exceptionally high grades earned in very challenging circumstances.
- 93% of TaC alumni surveyed go on to tertiary level education, some even being awarded government grants to do so.
- In 2018, we are currently supporting 90 students in secondary school and 81 young adults have completed our programme.
These figures are taken from Schor’s (2018) bachelor thesis. Data has been adapted from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2017, p. 52), and from Teach a Child-Africa (2017). For more information on this academic project and others, email firstname.lastname@example.org.