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,” saysÂ the report.
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