Kenya: Study: More boys dropping out of school than girls

NAIROBI, KENYA: A new report paints a grim picture of the Free Primary Education (FPE) with increased dropout rates and a rising proportion of boys’ marginalisation in education. Also highlighted are the worrying trends of absenteeism, decline of parents’ involvement in their children’s education and insufficient funding, all of which threaten the quality of education in public primary schools. The survey by the National Taxpayers Association (NTA) reveals that more than one million pupils are currently out of school and recommends efforts to bring them back to class. The report says the majority of these are boys and warns over the rising neglect of the boy child. “The challenge we have now is to bring all these children to school and retain them. We need to address child labour in the various regions where it is more pronounced,” said NTA National Chairman Peter Kubebea.

Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said efforts were being made to ensure all children are enrolled and kept in school. “It is now in law that all parents must enrol their children in schools, failure to which they can be taken to court,” he said. He said enrolment in public schools currently stands at over 10 million, up from 5.9 million in 2003 when FPE was launched. But the new concern is the increasing marginalisation of the boy child even as the girl child continues to get rising support. The report, School Report Card 2013 records baseline data indicating a descending trend in dropouts between 2009 and 2013. “However, the overall drop-out rate from the school system (from class one to eight) in 2013 was 3 per cent and these incidences are higher amongst boys compared to girls,” says  the report.
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Zeman: Islam is to blame for attack on Jewish Museum in Brussels


Czech president says he condemns any group that targets another based on religion

Prague, May 27 (ČTK) — Islamic ideology rather than individual groups of religious fundamentalists is behind violent actions similar to the gun attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels that killed four people, Czech President Miloš Zeman said Monday at the Israeli Embassy in Prague.

Two Israeli tourists and a member of the museum staff were killed by an unknown shooter Saturday, and another staff member died of his injuries Sunday.

Zeman’s speech sharply condemning “the hideous attack” was posted on his official website today. Zeman took part in the celebration of the 66 years of independence of Israel.

“I will not be calmed down by statements that it is only small marginal groups. I believe, on the contrary, that this xenophobia and this racism or anti-Semitism stem from the very nature of the ideology on which these fanatical groups rely,” Zeman said.

He said one of the sacred texts of Islam calls for the killing of Jews.

Zeman said he would also sharply criticize fanatics who planned to kill the Arabs.

“However, I have heard of no movement calling for the massive murder of Arabs, but I know about an anti-civilization movement that calls for the massive murdering of Jews,” he said.

Zeman is known for his criticism of international terrorism and its links to Islam. He repeatedly called for resolute opposition to violent terrorist actions during his official visits abroad.

Zeman said he attended the reception held on Israel’s Independence Day out of “solidarity with a friend.”

Czech Cardinal Dominik Duka criticized the Brussels attack, too.

Duka said anti-Semitism was dangerous not only for Jews but also for Christians and all people promoting tolerance and mutual friendship.

Israel’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, Gary Koren, said after meeting Duka today the Brussels attack was an awful reminder of how far the murderous hatred against Israel and the Jewish nation can go.

The Belgian judiciary said the shooting was a terrorist act. The shooter has not been caught yet. The Belgian papers wrote that the shooter had a Kalashnikov rifle, which is often used by Islamic radicals, and seemed to be carrying a video camera to film the attack.

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Study: Black College Graduates Twice As Likely To Be Unemployed


WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – In the report, “A College Degree is No Guarantee” from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, study authors Janelle Jones and John Schmitt find that the Great Recession has been difficult for all recent college graduates, but black graduates remain the hardest hit by unemployment.

The study shows that in 2013, 12.4 percent of black college students who earned their diplomas between the ages of 22 and 27 were unemployed. In contrast, college graduates as a whole had an unemployment rate of half that – 5.6 percent.

Just prior to the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for black college graduates stood at 4.6 percent in 2007. But that number tripled by 2013, boosting up nearly 8 percentage points. In 2013, more than half (55.9 percent) of employed black college graduates were “underemployed,” a term used to describe someone in an occupation that does not typically require a four-year college education.

But even before the Great Recession, nearly half of black recent graduates were underemployed, with data showing a 45 percent rate in 2007.

Overall unemployment among African-Americans has consistently been twice that of white workers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1983, black workers had a 19.5 percent unemployment rate, while white workers were at 8.4 percent.

The study authors say that the data shows the “disproportionate negative effect of economic downturns” on all young workers, but “ongoing racial discrimination” continues to hurt young black workers both with and without a college degree – although those with degrees have “suffered less.”

“We absolutely aren’t trying to discourage people from going to college,” Schmitt, a senior economist at the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, told the National Journal. “College degrees do have value. But what we are trying to show here is that this is not about individuals, or individual effort. There is simply overwhelming evidence that discrimination remains a major feature of the labor market.”

Some majors have fared better than others among black college graduates. But STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors still had an average unemployment rate of 10 percent and an underemployment rate of 32 percent between 2010-2012. In contrast, the overall STEM graduates saw only 6 and 7 percent rates.

The study reiterates that racial discrimination is a common problem among U.S. employers.

The authors note that “black men were less likely to receive a call back than equally qualified white men, and black men with no criminal record fared worse than recently incarcerated white men,” referencing a 2009 report on entry-level jobs. “Blacks also placed last in the racial hierarchy, with employers favoring white men, and then Latino men, and only then black men,” write the authors.

“That black college graduates of all ages consistently have higher unemployment rates, higher underemployment rates, and lower wages than their counterparts, even when black students complete STEM majors, reinforces concerns that racial discrimination remains an important factor in contemporary labor markets.”