Teen mothers returning to school to get scholarships CS Jumwa

Nairobi woman Representative Esther Passaris and Public Service CS Aisha Jumwa when they inspected the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) safe house under construction in Nairobi. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The government will provide scholarships to teen mothers seeking to return to school.

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action Aisha Jumwa said the government plans to set aside funds that will support girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy to be readmitted after giving birth.

These actions will be carried out in accordance with the school reentry policy, which mandates school heads and teachers to readmit teenage mothers back into school without any conditions. This policy was adopted by the Ministry of Education in 2020. 

The policy also stipulates that both teenage mothers and their parents should receive counseling.

"The implementation of the retention policy for young mothers has already commenced, and we are in the process of establishing a dedicated bursary scheme to facilitate the return of young mothers to schools," Jumwa said on Friday.

Jumwa made these remarks while attending the event where secondary school learners were receiving bursaries and women were receiving checks from Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris.

The event was organised under the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).

"We anticipate that by January, we will have identified the teenage mothers to be reintegrated into the school system, and their tuition fees will be covered by the government," Jumwa said.

According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (2022), the instances of teenage pregnancy and motherhood have significantly decreased.

The survey illustrates that the percentage of women aged 15–19 who have experienced pregnancy increases progressively with age, starting from three per cent among those aged 15 to 31 per cent among those aged 19.

Approximately four out of 10 women aged 15–19 who lack formal education have encountered pregnancy, in contrast to only five per cent of women with more than secondary education.

Additionally, teenage women from households with lower income are more prone to having experienced pregnancy compared to their counterparts from higher-income households.

The report also shows teens aged 15-19 in Samburu lead by 50 per cent followed by West Pokot at 36 per cent and Marsabit at 29 per cent.

Samburu, West Pokot, Marsabit and Narok counties have the highest percentages of women aged 15 to 19 years who have ever been pregnant.

In contrast, the lowest number of teen pregnancies was recorded in Nyeri, Nyandarua, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Vihiga and Nairobi.

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