× Digital News Videos Health & Science Opinion Education Columnists Lifestyle Cartoons Moi Cabinets Kibaki Cabinets Arts & Culture Gender Podcasts E-Paper Tributes Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS

Turkana and Wajir counties have highest levels of illiteracy

By MARK KAPCHANGA | November 26th 2013



High levels of illiteracy could blight county economies, a new report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and Society for International Development says.

The report shows that over 15 counties have more than 30 per cent illiteracy levels.

Turkana leads with 82 per cent illiteracy, followed by Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and Marsabit at 76 per cent, 74 per cent, 70 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.

On the other hand, Nairobi, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Machakos top in the number of people who are able to read and write at 89 per cent, 88 per cent, 87 per cent, 86 per cent and 85 per cent respectively.

According to the report, people in Nairobi County have 15.4 times more access to secondary school education or above than those living in Turkana County.  They also have 2.2 times more access to secondary school education than an average Kenyan.

Still, individuals living in Turkana County are seven times less likely to have access to any secondary education than an average Kenyan.

No education

“The proportion of individuals with secondary education in male-headed households is higher than in female-headed households across all counties,” said the report.

The inequality challenge facing the country is conspicuous, with the revelation that Turkana County’s proportion of population with no education is eight times that of the highest ranked county, Nairobi.

At constituency level, Loima Constituency in Turkana has the highest share of individuals with no education –  at 93 per cent – compared to Makadara Constituency in Nairobi with the least at 8.2 per cent.

This means that a person in Loima is 11 times more likely to have no education than one in Makadara.

Analysts say the high illiteracy levels are the reason behind the rising crime rates and low economic growth. 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation argues that illiteracy stifles opportunities for innovation and dampens the economic potential of millions of people. Currently, about nine per cent of the world population is illiterate.

It says that in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 50 per cent of people are unable to read and write. “To boost global economy, nations must invest in solutions to promote literacy on a global level,” said the United Nations body.

Without work

Education levels in counties seem to be positively correlated with the number of people working. The proportion of population that works for pay in Turkana, Mandera, Garissa and Tana River counties is 0.06 per cent, 0.07 per cent, 0.1 per cent and 0.11 per cent respectively. However, in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu and Kajiado, the fraction of people that work for pay is 0.47 per cent, 0.41 per cent, 0.38 per cent and 0.33 per cent respectively.

It is no coincidence that the counties with the highest proportion of their populations without work are among the poorest in Kenya.


Share this story
Eritrea dare to dream
Last year, when the Senior Challenge Cup was held in Kampala, some players from Eritrea sneaked out of camp and sought asylum in Uganda.
Opening Ceremony: Kenya takes her pride of place as 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games begin
Team Kenya Paralympics strolled majestically into the Tokyo Olympic Stadium led by captain Rodgers Kiprop and Powerlifter Hellen Wawira for the Openin