Alarm as nearly one million children in 6 ASAL counties out of school

The ministry of education has identified six Arid and Semi-Arid counties in the country with a high number of children out of school.

The Director of Primary Education, Habat Abdi said 852,000 school going children from Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Tana River and Isiolo counties were not in school.

Habat said the children missing from school from the six counties are aged between six and 17 years old, adding that the statistics are worrying.

Mandera is leading with 124,000 children out of school, which represents 15 percent of the total number of children eligible to be in school.

Unfortunately one-third of the children not in school are children with disabilities. There is need for parents to avoid discriminating their children and send all of them to school, added Habat.

He added that children with disabilities should be taken to schools which have already mainstreamed Special Needs Education while those with extreme or severe conditions should enroll in existing special schools.

The Director further called on professionals and leaders from the affected counties to help empower residents of the affected counties on the importance of taking their children to school.

He said education is the key to unblocking some of the critical challenges affecting residents of the six counties in addition to Turkana and West Pokot.

In 2014, the government in partnership with development partners launched a programme intended to increase enrollment and retention of pupilsin schools in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL).

This followed concerns that many children of school-going-age from the pastoralist communities were still out of school despite the introduction of free primary and subsidized secondary education.

The modeling of Integrated Nomadic Education, Child Friendly Schools and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme in the dry regions of Kenya, aims to improve access to education through the introduction of low cost primary boarding schools.

The programme is targeting an estimated 35,000 direct beneficiaries and 3.5 million indirect beneficiaries aged between 4-18 years in Garissa, Wajir, Isiolo, Turkana, Tana River, Mandera, Marsabit and Samburu counties.

The programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID-UK), and implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (KEPSHA), Non-Governmental Organizations and local communities.

Source: Kenya News Agency