PROVISION OF BASIC EDUCATION IN KENYA: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE POOR
Authors: Achoka Judith Serah Kasandi, Ogenga Paul Akumu
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Poverty is the world’s current greatest threat to peace and stability more than terrorism and other highly published struggles. In Kenya the wish to alleviate poverty has been articulated since independence through various sessional papers, commissions, task forces and development plans. However, the proportion of Kenyans living in abject poverty continues to rise steadily as the years go by. Education is widely accepted as an important exit route from poverty to social and economic advancement. That is why Kenya subscribes to the international protocol that established Education for All (EFA) in Jonitien, Thailand in 1990 and the world education forum in Dakar, Senegal in 2002. Nevertheless, optimal access to basic education continues to be elusive among the Kenyan populace due to widespread poverty and high cost of education. As a result, low enrolments, poor transition from one level of basic education to another; high dropout rates and low quality characterize the provision of basic education in Kenya. As such, poverty threatens the very means meant to reduce or eradicate it.
Implications of provision of basic education for the poor include, gender disparities in the provision of basic education, and creation of a caste system, that is, where learners from economically well to do families get the best education because their parents can pay for it, while children from poor families hardly complete even the third grade type of education which is provided in impoverished environments. It is recommended that the entire basic education should be made completely free and compulsory, ensure equity in disbursement of bursaries and grants, introduce intentional tax rebates on learning materials; and, encourage schools to borrow money from financial institutions like banks to fund feasible income generating projects set by the schools.