By Kelvin Onchagwa
Stakeholders have raised alarm over the high school dropout rate in Athi River district.
Education officials in the area estimate that 800 to 1,000 students discontinue schooling annually both at secondary and primary school levels.
Athi River DEO Thomas Omwenga attributed this phenomenon to emerging trend in the area of engaging children in illegal businesses such as prostitution and selling of scrap metals.
“It’s an issue of serious concern given many children are now lured into prostitution by truck drivers on transit who make a stopover at Mlolongo,” he said.
The thriving sand harvesting at Lukenya has employed many children while the high number of steel millers in Athi River has made some parents to withdraw their children from schools and involve them in collecting scrap metal for selling to these industries.
This has led to low completion and transition rates from primary to secondary school in the district. It has also led to discrepancies in performance in national exams between primary and secondary schools.
In 2011 KCPE exam results, Athi River district emerged the best nationally with a mean score of 285 points but in KCSE, it has always performed dismally with their best show over the years being a mean of 4.5 which is an average of a C- (minus).