By Wachira Kigotho
Whereas Kenya is not among 25 sub-Saharan countries that UN says will not meet the education for all goals or the Millennium Development Goals on education by 2015, it has a host of education barriers that still hinder access to education.
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation says Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia and Sudan are among 30 countries out of the 46 nations that will not be able to eradicate the barriers given the large numbers of children still out of school.
In most countries, attainment of gender parity in primary education is still a far-off wishful thinking.
According to Ms Zulmira Rodrigues, Regional Co-ordinator for Education at Unesco Dakar, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia are some of the countries in East African region whose progress to towards providing access to education for all has stalled.
Other countries in the sub-region that are behind the scheduled objectives are Cameroon, Senegal, Malawi, Swaziland, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Most of the stagnation has been attributed to the prevailing situation in sub-Saharan Africa where almost 23 per cent of children have never been to school or just dropped out before finishing the primary cycle.
“Absolute number of children that have been denied access to education in the region stands at more than 30 million, where Nigeria accounts for 10.5 million out of school children and Ethiopia 2.4 million,” says Rodrigues in recent Unesco’s preliminary education scorecard report.
In a comprehensive survey, A view inside schools in Sub-Saharan Africa, carried by Unesco Institute of Statistics, inadequate school and teaching resources were identified as some of the challenges facing education in sub-Saharan Africa.
The survey that is being used to identify countries that might not meet EFA goals in about three years’ time, highlights overcrowded classrooms, too few trained teachers, insufficient core textbooks and few toilets, often without separation between boys and girls as some of the crucial indicators that undermine children’s success in their academic ambitions.
Nonetheless, in countries that have no clear-cut policies on multi-grade classrooms there are serious cases of repetition and over-age pupils. Such is the situation prevailing in Kenya, where over-age teenagers and youth are mixed in classes with the compulsory school-age children in lower primary classes. The survey on a view inside schools in sub-Saharan Africa observed over-age pupils, especially those who have been working or married, find it hard to follow rules and obey teachers.