Education stakeholders rally against child labour, moranism in Maasai land

Magadi Primary School pupils participate in a traditional dance during their Education Day, organised by Tata Chemicals. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Early marriages and teen pregnancies among girls, moranism, and child labour among boys have been cited as retrogressive practices that are still rampant in Maasai land.

 It is estimated that in almost every family, there is a minor married off or impregnated at a tender age.

 These retrogressive practices are among the myriad challenges that propagate inferiority complexes and low self-esteem among Maasai girls.

 Most primary schools in rural areas have few girls, with only a small number sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) due to early pregnancies, resulting in a large number of young mothers.

 Parents practicing the retrogressive culture that hampers education are hiding behind excuses of lack of school fees and tough economic times.

 Speaking during an Education Day held in Magadi town on Thursday, various education stakeholders called for concerted efforts to combat the vices that they termed major hindrances to education.

 They said low-secondary and tertiary institution transitions are still a challenge.

 The education stakeholders say that while there are genuine cases of a lack of school fees, some parents are taking advantage to deny children the right to education.

 Locals who have attained a high level of formal education are also involved in motivating other learners through their testimonies.

 Chiefs and other administrative officials said they have intensified campaigns to fight the retrogressive culture to facilitate education among locals.

 Educationalist Teriano Saidimu appealed to the locals to enrol their children in school.

 “There is no other gift that you can give to your children; education is the key to success,” said Teriano.

 Local Chief Joseph Kaiyoni said the administration is ensuring that every child goes to school.

 "We have all agreed that every child must go to school; we are fighting to eliminate cases of early marriages and FGM,” said Kaiyoni.

 The Education Day was organised by Tata Chemicals Magadi, a key stakeholder in matters of education.

 The meeting was meant to take stock of the educational strides made and review emerging challenges.

 Tata Chemicals Limited Chief Executive Subodh Srivastav assured the locals that the company will continue to support education in the area.

 “We will continue giving bursaries and scholarships to these young people as a way of assisting them in education,” said Srivastav.

 The best-performing teachers were appreciated, and the best-performing learners were awarded bursaries and scholarships.

 Those in attendance praised the initiative for creating awareness of the importance of education among locals.

 “Working closely with well-wishers to boost education through bursaries, setting up conducive learning infrastructure, moral support, and community sensitisation are key initiatives,” said Elijah Laoi, headteacher of Pakase Primary School.