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Ministry of Education is working with local communities to get children back to school

The Senate Committee on ICT has put the Ministry of Education to task over a policy and strategy unit study that revealed that at least 160,000 school girls got married when schools closed between June 2020 and February 2021.

The study titled "Impact of Covid-19 on Adolescent" further revealed that an additional 100,000 girls became mothers in the same period.

Baringo Senator and Chairman of the committee, Gideon Moi questioned the ministry’s role in ensuring that students return to school.

Education CAS Sara Ruto explained that the process of getting the children to school involves working with the Ministry of Interior together with local leaders in churches and parents’ associations to ensure that children who fail to progress with their education for any reason are identified.

“Action needs to be localised at the school level and that is the community where you have the provincial administration and the chiefs and they have been very helpful once the teacher identifies that a child has not come back to school,” said Dr Ruto.

She added, “Through collaboration with the chairpersons of the school committees and provincial administration, a number of them have come back."

The CAS also stated that efforts have been being made to ensure schools become safe spaces for pregnant teenagers who can continue learning without stigma.

The adoption of technology and data is also playing a huge role in keeping track of students' attendance record and predicting the possibility of dropping out of school.

"We have improved in terms of using evidence and data. Schools know clearly who comes today and doesn’t come tomorrow so that this information can be used to track and see the children who are at risk of dropping out because of various issues at home and also use this information to share it with others," said Ruto.

Citing the difficultly of a child going back to the same school they were in after pregnancy, Senator Petronilla Were asked the CAS the possibility of easy transfer of schools if need be.

“It is very important to put the child at the centre and anything that works best for the child works best for the ministry. If you go to any of our field officers or schools, there are local solutions in which they ensure the best interest of the child is taken in,” said Dr Ruto.

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