Kwale school fails to send girls to high school for 7 years
A primary school in Tiwi, Kwale County has failed to send any of its girls to secondary school for the past seven years because all the girls fall pregnant before seating for their KCPE.
According to Mwamivi Primary School’s head-teacher Subira Kingi, the school has already recorded four cases of teenage pregnancy this year.
“For some reason, those who manage to avoid getting married off usually fail their exams miserably, compared to the boys. As a school, we are very disturbed by the situation especially after discovering that our girls are being forced into early marriages,” he lamented.
Kingi faulted parents and the government for their reluctance in taking action against the matter, saying he has always reported pregnancy and dropout cases as soon as possible.
“I have already reported the four pregnancy cases (involving three standard seven pupils and one from standard six) to the authorities, among them the Child Welfare Society of Kenya. However, at the moment I feel I am not receiving support from any of those institutions and even worse, the children’s parents seem to show little concern for the matter,” he complained.
“I have literally had to drag them into acting on issues affecting these children, which, for me, is a big disappointment.”
Speaking on the issue, Kwale County Deputy Speaker Andrew Mulei accused parents for neglecting their duty of ensuring girls do not engage in premarital sex and advising them against getting married prematurely.
“In the old days parents used to make sure girls remained untouched until they were married, why have we dropped this culture?” he posed.
He further pointed out that female teachers in schools were not doing enough to guide girls on how to lead morally upright lives, saying that apart from offering basic academic education, this is also their societal expectation.
Such cases of early pregnancies are reported to be on the rise since parents of the victims together with those of the culprits agree to settle matters among themselves.
“The challenge is that we are neighbors and in one way or the other have developed family-like bonds, so families choose to make local arrangements aimed at settling the matter for fear of triggering animosity,” said Mwanamdini Said, who is also a parent at Mwamivi Primary school.
“Poverty also plays a part in what we’re witnessing here in Mwamivi and even in other parts of the county. The fact that children of this ‘digital’ era disregard any piece of advice coming from their parents plays an even bigger role in fueling all this,” she lamented.
Speaking during a crisis meeting to find solutions for the matter that is now rampant in the county, Tandaza Foundation director, Mr Kassim, urged the students to be focused and promised that the foundation guarantees to pay school fees for secondary education for the best performing girls from the school.
“As a student you should know what you want and have ambitions. My resolution is that I will pay for your secondary education,” he said.
According to the Kenya Population Situation Analysis report released in 2013, 26 in every 100 girls in Kenya are married before they turn 18. These young marriages were recorded to be highest in the North Eastern, Coastal and Nyanza regions.
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