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Mandera County Leads in High Rates of School Dropouts

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Mandera County Leads in High Rates of School Dropouts

Mandera County stands out with the highest population of school-age children out of school, a concerning trend prevalent in many arid and semi-arid counties.

The latest Learning Assessment report by Usawa Agenda indicates that the primary reason for school dropouts is the lack of school fees, followed by factors such as a lack of interest in school, migration, insecurity, teenage pregnancy, and domestic violence.

Parents express apprehension about the implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), with a majority urging for a reduction in costs to alleviate their financial burden.

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The 2023 Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Report, the eighth under Usawa Agenda but the first under the CBC curriculum, focuses on literacy and numeracy. According to the report, 8.5% of children are currently out of school, marking an increase from the 7.5% recorded in 2021.

Mandera County leads with 27.2% of children out of school, followed by Marsabit at 24.9%, Turkana at 22.6%, and Samburu, West Pokot, and Tana River Counties. The report highlights that 14 out of 46 counties surpass the national average of 8.5%, with more boys dropping out compared to girls.

The skewed distribution of teachers in public schools, particularly in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL), is exposed in the report.

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The counties with the lowest percentage of teachers employed on Pupil and Patronage (P&P) terms coincide with those having the highest percentage of children out of school.

For instance, Wajir faces a severe shortage of teachers on P&P compared to Kirinyaga, creating a double dilemma for these counties where parents struggle to afford teachers on Board of Management (BoM) terms.

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These findings come amid the challenging transition of the first two cohorts of CBC learners through junior school and the preparation for the pioneer group’s transition to senior school by the end of 2025.

Parents voice concerns over the high cost of the new curriculum, excessive content, homework load, and the level of parental involvement.

In terms of learning outcomes, the report reveals that 34.8% of Grade 6 learners, expected to have completed Grade 3 level work, couldn’t meet expectations in reading a Grade 3-appropriate English text. The gap between private and public primary schools in achieving better learning outcomes is widening, favoring private institutions.

Stakeholders emphasize the importance of addressing environmental factors, from basic provisions like water and toilet space to aspects that attract children to school, including nutrition.

The hope is that these findings will contribute to progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4, ensuring inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all.

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Mandera County Leads in High Rates of School Dropouts

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