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Kenya education news

Girls still losing out in education

By NATION Reporter
Posted Tuesday, March 2 2010 at 20:55

The country is far from achieving gender parity in education.

Girls continue to be marginalised in access to education and completion of studies.

An analysis of the Form Four results shows that only Central Province has achieved gender parity. About 51 per cent of last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates in the region were girls while 49 per cent were boys.

But nationally, the ratio of boys to girls stood at 55:45.

Eastern, Nairobi, Rift Valley, and Western provinces are also on their way to gender parity.

In Nyanza and North Eastern provinces, retrogressive practices such as early marriage led to a boys to girls ratio of 70:30.

There was a general increase in the number of girls who sat the examination compared to 2008. However, 144 girls wrote their examinations in maternity wards.

“We need to step up efforts to address the challenge of keeping girls in school,” Education minister Sam Ongeri said while releasing the KCSE results on Tuesday.

“If the girls are endangered through such immoral activities, then the future is threatened.”

Girls performed better than boys in English and Kiswahili. But they recorded a major slump in Science and Maths, prompting Prof Ongeri to set up an ad hoc commission to investigate the drop.

It will be chaired by the Education secretary, Prof George Godia, and will give a report in three months.

New policy to boost special education

Posted Wednesday, March 10 2010 at 20:12

Learners with disabilities have a reason to smile after the government launched a policy seeking to enhance their education.

Under the new guidelines launched by the Ministry of Education, sign language will be promoted and developed to become an official language at par with Kiswahili and English.

This means that the government and other agencies could soon be compelled to provide information to the disabled in sign language and Braille.

Announcing the measures meant to make learning easier for students with disabilities, Education minister Sam Ongeri also said students with poor vision would be exempted from writing Chemistry examinations.

The subject requires learners to make observations and draw conclusions based on what they see.

At the same time, the Kenya Institute of Education — the national curriculum developer — is to adapt the school syllabus and learning materials to suit the special needs of learners. The document hints at the development of a specialised and regular curriculum to ensure sensitivity to the needs of the learners.

“The policy is to provide education in an inclusive setting at all levels,” said Prof Ongeri.

This will be a big shift because this type of education has for a long time been provided in special schools and units attached to some regular schools.

There are about 22 forms of special needs categorised under the policy including hearing, visual, and physical impairments.

Others are cerebral palsy, epilepsy, mental handicaps, and speech and language disorders.

According to the guidelines, the Kenya National Examinations Council is to establish a special department charged with evaluation of the curriculum for learners with special needs, including the development of Braille scripts.

The council is also to train invigilators and supervisors to enable them to provide special support.

Last year, 420 students with special needs wrote the Form Four examinations, up from 344 the previous year.

The number of such students enrolling in schools countrywide has also been rising over the years.