, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – The number of children out of school could reduce following the launch of a project targeting to enroll 300,000 children by 2017.
Under the banner of Operation Come-To-School, UNICEF and Educate A Child are targeting seven counties in arid and semi arid areas.
“This agreement with UNICEF Kenya represents an important additional milestone to our efforts to ensure every out of school child in Kenya is given the opportunity to a basic education,” Dr Mary Joy Pigozzi, Director of Educate A Child stated.
Informal settlements in Nairobi, Mombasa and Lamu are also to benefit from the project which is focusing on areas most affected by high numbers of children out of school.
Speaking during the launch of the programme Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said it intends to increase school enrolment and attendance and also provide facilities to ensure children have access to quality education.
It is a programme designed to work through partnerships with the government as well as the private sector to ensure as many children as possible get the benefit of getting education.
According to Kaimenyi, the programme will require a comprehensive approach to ensure children are retained in school and also force those who due to cultural lifestyles refuse to go to school.
He said where necessary the law will be applied to ensure no parents hold their children or subject them to child labour in place of education.
It was also a concern that children from pastoralist families prefer to herd animals than attend school.
Issues of underage marriages and female genital mutilation are also challenges that the education stakeholders who converged to witness the launch of the programme said have to be addressed.
Acting UNICEF Representative, Pirkko Heinonen said NGOs and other players will support the government achieve its dream of improving education and increasing enrollment of children in school.
She commended Kenya’s efforts to improve the education and urged other stakeholders to support it.
“UNICEF is committed to supporting the Government of Kenya to ensure that out of school children are not denied one of their most basic human rights, the right to education” said in Kenya. “We are delighted to partner with the Educate a Child program to make sure children out of school in Kenya can access education wherever they live,” she said.
Kenya has 1.5 million children between ages 6 to 13 out of school.
Globally 57 children supposed to be in school are out of school.