NAIROBI, Kenya, May 28 – A report released by the National Taxpayers Association (NTA) shows that mothers are more involved in their children’s education than fathers.
The report which surveyed over 2,000 public primary schools in 23 counties across the country in the last year shows that mothers turned out in larger numbers for school functions than their male counterparts by up to 20 percent.
Ironically however, it is their male counterparts who occupy the majority of the seats on school organs, according to NTA Programme Officer Wolde Wesa.
“We’ve established that in most of the school management committees or the board of management mostly the members are men yet most of those who attend those meetings are women,” he reported.
In light of these findings, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has urged fathers to, “pull up their socks.”
“Yes indeed it’s good to make chapaa (money) men but I thought the greatest responsibility for each one of us is our children? Let other things be secondary in terms of priority,” he encouraged.
The boy child did not fare much better on the NTA report card and registered more dropouts than girls as well as lower enrolments over the last three years by an average of one and 0.75 percent respectively.
“The robust campaign focusing on girl child education which as a result pay minimal or no attention to boys explains this undesirable situation,” the report reads.
It goes on to identify Taita Taveta as the most affected county and Ndome Primary School in the county as the worst performer in this respect, having lost a third of its male pupils in 2013 alone.
“Mining (iron ore and gemstones) in the county lures school-aged boys for money as do the ranches in the county which employ boys as herd boys,” the report explains.
Kisumu, Kisii and Homabay have also been identified in the report as the counties with the highest dropout rates of girls while Elgeyo Marakwet recorded the lowest dropout rates of both boys and girls.
“The dropout ratios for girls at the county level are parallel to those of boys in all the counties but Taita Taveta which had a two percent drop out incidence for girls in comparison to boys – 17 percent over the same period,” the report adds.
It also identifies class seven as the grade that registered the highest number of drop outs of both boys and girls in the last four years.
Kaimenyi has therefore reminded parents that they risk prosecution should they fail to ensure their children regularly attend school.
“Look at the Basic Education Act. The law is very clear. Parents and the guardians must ensure that children go to school. If they don’t they’ll be held accountable. The County Education Boards should ensure that the Children are in school and stay in school,” he directed.
NTA Chairperson Peter Kubebea has however demanded more drastic action from Kaimenyi’s Ministry in the Taita Taveta case.
“Because of the high poverty levels these kids fall out to support their families. And while it is the parents’ responsibility to enforce attendance we also want to take on the companies. Any company in this country employing child labour should be punished and taken to court,” he demanded.
The annual School Report Card released by the NTA on Wednesday is only the second of its kind with the citizens’ watchdog expected to extend its study to secondary schools.