ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS INFLUENCING GIRL-CHILD ACCESS TO QUALITY PRIMARY EDUCATION IN IJARA DISTRICT, NORTH-EASTERN KENYA
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Despite various efforts by the government and development partners in ensuring Education for
All in Kenya, the participation of girls in education in Ijara District has been of great concern.
According to Global Monitoring Report 2010, it is estimated 70 percent of school age girls in the
vast North Eastern Province are not attending school and many of them dropping out before
completion. The purpose of this study was to investigate the causes of low enrolment of girls in
primary schools in Ijara District. The study looked at the situation of girls’ primary education in
the district considering the primary school enrolments in the district. It looked at the programmes
by the government such as Free Primary Education, School Feeding Programme, mobile schools
and boarding schools and their effectiveness in promoting girl-child education. The research
employed a mixed methods approach to gather data using semi-structured interviews designed
for parents, questionnaires for teachers and education officials and Focus Group Discussions
(FGDs) for NGOs officials. The data collection tools were designed to find out the challenges,
community perceptions on girls education, preference and education policies concerning girls’
education from the purposively selected participants. The study revealed that there is continued
under participation of girls in education despite policies and programmes aimed at expanding
education opportunities for all children especially girls in the region. The respondents cited
poverty, ignorance and illiteracy, retrogressive cultural practices like early marriage and FGM,
wrong perceptions and attitudes towards girls’ education, girls’ unfriendly schools and lack of
well equipped girls’ boarding schools as factors responsible for low enrolment of girls in primary
schools in the district. Towards the end, realistic recommendations were suggested aimed at
promoting girl-child education. The study recommendations were as follows; educating parents
on the importance of educating girls, involving nomadic pastoralists at the grassroots level in all
educational planning and implementation, establishing well equipped girls boarding schools
which are girls friendly, recruiting well qualified and trained mobile schools teachers, increasing
household income earnings through restocking, promoting livestock marketing and providing
grazing ranges close to learning institutions to minimize movement of people and livestock.