Factors affecting education in Kenya
There are many factors affecting education in Kenya. Some of these factors are contributed in various ways, Some of these factors include:-
1. Nomadic way of life
Majority of the respondents (93 per cent) indicated that nomadic way of life was the main reason behind the establishment mobile primary schools in Northern Region of Kenya. This is to cater for the educational needs of the children of the pastoralist families which keep on moving to look for pastures and water for their animals.
2. Shortage of schools in marginalized areas
This is also another major problem facing education in Kenya. An overwhelming majority of the teachers in the study (86 per cent) indicated that school distance influenced the establishment of mobile schools in the area. This could be attributed to the fact that the area is vast and with very few schools. Establishment of mobile schools closer to the community thus brings about convenience and solves the problem of discontinuing from school due to movement while looking for greener pastures.
3. Attitude towards education and ignorance
The study found out that ignorance of the community about the value of education accelerated the need to establish mobile primary schools in North Eastern Province in Kenya. This constituted 64 per cent of the views of the teachers who participated in the study. Many pastoralist children are discouraged by their parents from attaining formal education and are made to belief and grow in the culture role of herding their livestock. This ignorance particularly affects the first born and the girls in the pastoralist community. The first born are believed to be the flag bearer, culture and customary future leader to the family unit and thus taking them to school means overstepping such crucial role in the family and the society at large. The girls provide labour at home and are married off early.
4. Growing government financial deficits
The main economic related factor that led to the establishment of mobile school according to 63 per cent of teachers was the high cost of education in terms of meeting the costs of teaching and learning resources and uniforms. This is brought about by ever increasing financial resource needing in the country thus affecting education in Kenya.
5. Traditional Practices
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Some of our socio-cultural practices are a hindrance to development. In some communities, for example, the education of the girl child is not a priority. It is assumed that they will be married off and hence no need wasting resources on them. In others, especially the pastoralist cultures, only the boys who cannot look after cattle are sent to school. Again, some pastoralists like the Maasai, Samburu, Turkana and Pokots are nomads. They have no permanent homestead. Some of the communities take their girl children from school to marry them to old men. A girl as young as 13 years is married to an old man (mzee) of 60 years or more.
Unemployment is on the increase and consequently poverty is rising. At present, 56% of Kenyans live below the poverty line. They earn less than a dollar a day and can hardly afford basic needs like food, health care, shelter and in some cases even water. Many people, especially those living in the rural areas, spend most of their time looking for these necessities. This leaves them with no time for other economic activities, hence sinking them deeper into poverty.
7. Natural Calamities
Kenya is also not spared by natural calamities. Our country is an agricultural country and most of our economy stems from Agriculture. It should be noted however that small-scale farmers control 80% of all agriculture. They practice and use traditional farming methods and totally depend on rainfall and good weather. They are either not knowledgeable on modern farming methods and cash crop farming, or cannot afford them. So it is always catastrophic when the rains fail. There lacks also financial institutions to support the farmers and probably market their farm produce for them. Currently, there are some areas in Kenya that have not received any rainfall for many years. People in these areas depend on relief food from the government.
Like most of the sub-Saharan countries Kenya is really feeling the effects of HIV/AIDS. Over 2 million people are infected and 200,000 have already died. Almost every family unit is affected. A member has been lost or is infected. This has greatly destabilized or weakened the family unit since those mostly infected are bread winners or the active members of their families. Consequently, the number of orphans is on the increase. This further weakens the already weak economic status. Anti-retro virals (ARVs) and health care systems are not readily available for some. With drugs and care it is possible to prolong the lives of those infected in order to delay orphan-hood and allow these people to provide for their people for longer.
It is painfully worth noting that those mostly affected by all these compounded problems are the children, especially the school going ones. When the families are displaced for whatever reason, their school is interrupted. When the rains fail, they cannot go to school since they would not learn when they are hungry. Others drop out of school to take care of their siblings when their parent(s) die. When the family income drops, the school expense is the first to do away with.