In just a matter of weeks, schools will re-open for what is the First Term after the school calendar was disrupted by the coronavirus.
Ideally, this is the time when parents will have to spend much more than they do all year round on their children’s schooling
The cost of education keeps rising in Kenya —and chances of it ever coming down are remote considering that there are newer taxes levied even on learning materials.
And so, in a few weeks’ time, parents will be selling their land or animals to raise fees.
Others will beg, borrow or steal and yet, there are some children who will not report to school because they lack tuition fees.
There is another category who will not report to school because they are pregnant. There will be an outcry as usual, and then the matter will die until the next school term when more young girls will be pregnant.
Talking about teenage pregnancies has become more of a calendar event. Every school term, the issue comes up and is followed by all round condemnation from all quarters, and then it is forgotten.
But latest reports should make Kenyans wake up to the sad reality that is stifling the growth of girls.
In January and February this year, the Ministry of Health handled 45,724 cases of pregnant adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years.
Those figures were revealed by Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache on Thursday in Mombasa, during a National Dialogue with Regional and County Commissioners against HIV and Aids, Teen Pregnancies and GBV.
She said that in 2021, of all antenatal care attendances, 21 percent were adolescent mothers aged between 10 and 19 compared to 2018, when 427,135 cases of teenage pregnancies were reported at antenatal clinics.
By all standards, those figures are high, and not encouraging at all. Whatever it is that is being done to reduce the cases of teen pregnancies is not working, it seems, and it time we not only changed tack, but joined the fight.