An investigation into the factors hindering retention of the girl-child through primary and secondary education in Kenya: a case study of Kajiado Central District
Kyalo, Ruth N
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This research investigated the effectiveness of girl child education in Kenya. This was due to the long standing controversy in the issue of girl child education especially in Africa. Despite the clamour of humanitarian bodies and legislative entities on the importance of child rights, human rights, equality on promoting the girl child education, the effectiveness of these calls are still under question. This investigation unearthed, first hand, the dilemma that challenged the effectiveness of girl child education. It explicitly explored the variables and proposed clear ways to curb the issues that undermined the effectiveness of girl child education. Discrimination against the girl-child and denial of child rights are some of the conspicuous issues that undermined the effectiveness of the girl child education in Kenya. These aspects interestingly took different forms and shapes based on the cultural, even regional set up of a given place. Note that these factors are fueled by different aspects as well. This investigation revealed these issues quite clearly, an aspect that was very important for the progress of girl child education. The key indicators to the investigation which led to clear explication of the main issues affecting the development of girl child education were: Peer pressure which sways girls to staying out of school and fall into other traps; Child labour a key factor hindering girls from attending school; Parents' perceptions and society's expectation, gendered sex roles and socialization also affect participation in education; and traditional/cultural issues fuel the propagation of early marriages and FGM is militating against girls' education and progress. This captivating investigation revealed more and greater details of the ineffectiveness of girl child education in Kenya Educating a girl suffices educating a community. Lack of positive influence by the peer group, early marriages due to peer pressure from colleagues and lack of female role models within the community had negatively affected the education of the girl-child in Kajiado Central District leading to many girls leaving schools prematurely. Parents' perceptions and society expectation, part of gender-based role socialization affected how girls participated in education and how long they remain in school. Poor households were unable to access basic services like food, education and health. There was need for education for an alternative way of living for people at Kajiado Central District except that of pastoralism. Kajiado Central residents cherish and practice Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It is believed that once girls go through this rite she is a grown up. The researcher established that the girl-child dropping out of school due to culturally driven messages and perception was very high. The researcher established that poverty among the residents of the area is not one of the major factors that contributed to ineffectiveness of girlchild education in the District. The researcher also established that ownership of the houses and land by the guardians did not necessarily imply well being of girls from these families. The government initiatives, non profit organizations should encourage and motivate the girlchild through role models by helping them understand their child rights; through peer education and counseling; sensitization of the parents and the community on the importance of girl- child education; by monitoring the girls through teachers and parents; by keeping the girls in school through boarding schools; and by providing for their basic needs and personal effects.