How Does Poverty Effect A Child’s Education in Kenya?

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Kenya’s Education System and Issues:

In East Africa, there are quite a few barriers to education due to poverty as well as instability. These barriers include direct costs such as fees, clothing, and books, indirect costs such as the opportunity cost of attending school, health and nutrition, and even the distance of the school. This list doesn’t stop there and will continue to grow. Countries in Sub-Saharan, like Kenya struggle with the burden of having to have accessible and quality water, transportation and energy services. Along with that, the government understands its responsibility of having to build schools, providing teacher training, and nationwide curriculums and tests to monitor progress. Governments in East Africa have made some forms of education seen as not being a priority and seen other topics as more important which has called for a decrease in education as a whole. In a developing country, such as Kenya, people are finding it difficult to show social progress when fewer than 20% of children are not even enrolled in second-degree education, which has to lead to the outcome of uneducated citizens. The biggest strain on the education system in Kenya is poverty. A major cause of poverty in Kenya relates to the lack of education, although Kenya values education and understands the long-term effects for their nation. In 2005, 49.5% of Kenya’s population was below the poverty line, although since then it has begun to slim down. Overpopulation is a being factor in why many kids aren’t getting the education needed; many enrolled kids have caused a higher demand in well-equipped learning environments. Poor quality education is a cause of poverty in Kenya. Children are crammed in classrooms, with not lots of teaching materials and one single teacher.  Children begin to struggle to get left behind and sometimes never catch up, due to the teacher not being able to help them individually. Although large numbers of kids attend school, it doesn’t mean that the child is benefiting from their education. By Kenya trying to obtain a better quality education for the country, this could help children be successful later in life and live out of poverty. In Kenya currently, primary education is free up to 8th grade- although most students show very irregular attendance due to low incomes in their families and having to work to support not only them but as well as their families. Secondary schools in Kenya must be split between the family and the Kenyan government. This has a negative effect on the children due to families not being able to pay for secondary school. Over 1.2 million children in Kenya that are within the age to attend school, are not enrolled in school and are associated with practices such as child labor for family income.  In primary school, there is a 27% dropout rate, which is due to poverty issues. After completing the 8th grade only 50% of kids make it and attend secondary school, this is because of lack of material and not having sufficient learning environment. The outcome of this is low earning potential. The reason the Kenyan government is trying to provide as much education to every kid is due to in today’s world you could not survive without education. The knowledge and communication skills you learn from school are a necessity. Kenya’s education system success will be measured by their ability to give equal access and quality skills, hoping to drive their economy.

Solutions For Education In Kenya:

One potential path to progress for education for children in Kenya is finding a way for kids to be able to do school work or learn from the environment of their house. A huge factor into why kids aren’t getting an education is due to the distance schools are from their houses, or the time kids don’t have to go school for the whole day due to jobs to make money for their families. For the kids who can’t go to school because of the distance or prioritize a job over education; they could go to school once a week for the whole day. This way they can get the materials they need and be able to take the free time in their everyday schedules to focus on the importance of education, while still maintaining a job or not having to travel so far every day. When they go back to school the next week, teachers can check work and make sure students are showing improvement rather than not thriving at all. Another potential path to progress for education for children in Kenya is overall reducing the cost of education. This is an idea many people have thought about, as well as the Kenyan government. Although this wouldn’t exactly be helping the economy in Kenya, it wouldn’t be damaging it by all means, and could eventually help the economy because more people will be paying money for education. Many African countries have already abolished school fees for primary students. Due to countries abolishing fees for school, this has triggered a massive increase in enrollment for primary students. Although schools are more likely to come with a fee for the particular reason of their child getting an education and having somebody watch them while parents can work and not have to work about their kids. Families in poverty are even more likely to enroll their kids in school knowing the enrollment is low, but their child is still obtaining a great safe educational environment. The last potential path to progress for education for children in Kenya is of course the idea of adding more schools in low-income areas or areas in Kenya they know the percentage of children getting an education is low. Personally, this impact of change is the most important and sufficient idea to me. Schools are not easy to build and take time to build as well as people need to dedicate their time helping. I’ve seen firsthand what building a school in a poverty-driven area does to the community, which it definitely brings everyone together. Most schools in Kenya already in low-income areas are less of a fee so they can have kids be able to attend the schools. Most schools also provide a uniform as well as one meal a day. Parents find this appealing because sometimes school is the only time the kids eat and know that they’re not just paying for an education but also their kids’ nutrition. It also isn’t safe for kids in Kenya to be playing outside alone due to fights or violence, so this way again parents know their kids are safe when at school. 

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1 comment

  1. Ellison! This is a very interesting topic you chose. I think it is really interesting how you connected the poverty in Kenya to the defects in the education system there. You did an amazing job of explaining how Kenya has been deprived from education due to the poverty. I really liked how you included ways that Kenya could get back on its feet and increase the education standards to give children there a better chance of starting their own careers in the world.

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