Providing inclusive and equitable quality education for every child
The Government of Kenya has allocated significant budget to education, to implement reforms such as the Competency Based Curriculum and 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school. However, issues such as poor-quality teaching and large class sizes still affect the quality of children's learning. The pupil-to-teacher ratio remains very high in some counties, such as 77 to 1 in Turkana.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide enrollment in primary education stood at 93 per cent, but at secondary level was only 53 per cent. Kenya has made gains in reaching remote areas and disadvantaged communities at primary and pre-primary level. In pastoral communities, high dropout rates reflect a perceived lack of value of schooling, long distances to schools and high rates of child marriage. In 2020, school closures interrupted learning for over 17 million children, who missed more than six months of formal education. They also faced increased risks of violence, child labour and to their mental well-being.
UNICEF works closely with the Government, donors and civil society to help increase enrolment, retention and learning outcomes for girls and boys in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, particularly in arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) counties and informal settlements. We focus on involving all girls and boys in education, including those with disabilities. We also concentrate on innovation, refugee education and alternative ways to provide basic education.
UNICEF supports 3.2 million children across the country to access quality pre-primary education and we are strengthening integrated plans to improve early childhood development in target counties.
UNICEF also supports the Government to develop, review and implement education policies, including on disaster management, water, hygiene and sanitation, and education management information systems. Alongside this, UNICEF provides support to increase access to safe water, gender sensitive sanitation facilities and hygiene education, including menstrual hygiene management in schools.
Through the Ministry of Education, UNICEF distributed 700,000 masks to schools to assist with their safe reopening. Alongside the masks, UNICEF provided solar-powered radios and textbooks to vulnerable families, to help with remote learning during school closures, and installed hand washing facilities in over 600 schools. We are also supporting the #ComeTwendeShule campaign to urge parents to send children back to school and highlight that children are safer in schools than out.
Education in numbers
Before COVID-19, primary school enrolment was 99% but at secondary level only 71%.
Over 17 million children in Kenya are recovering from up to 9 months of lost learning due to COVID-19.
During school closures, UNICEF provided 10,000 solar-powered radios with light bulbs to vulnerable households.
In early 2021, we distributed 700,000 masks for children to support school reopening.