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Over 100,000 county children out of school

The city is unknowingly breeding criminals who will soon graduate to devour its residents, says an education expert.

With 20 per cent of school-age children loitering the streets when they should be in class, County Executive member for Education, Mr Christopher Khaemba, has warned the future may be grim indeed.

Mr Khaemba, a longtime principal of Alliance High School, said the Education committee was compiling information about the situation to ascertain the exact number of children out of school and why. 

“Some 20 per cent of children in the county are not enrolled in school and this is worrying,” said Mr Khaemba. 

He added: “We cannot be talking of containing crime when so many children do not go to school. Anyone can guess what kind of lifestyle they will soon take up.”

The number could well be in excess of 100, 000 if Kawangware and Gatina wards alone have 500 of such children. There are 85 wards in the entire county.

The revelation is an indictment on the Free Primary Education programme rolled out by former President Kibaki in 2003; not only meant to make primary education free, but also compulsory.

Mr Khaemba said grabbing had compounded the situation.

“In a place like Embakasi, greedy developers have encroached into plots set aside for schools and other learning institutions,” he said.

To illustrate how profound the situation was, the county official said two locations had neither a primary nor secondary school. 

“One of such locations is Kiambiu, where there is not a single public learning institution,” said Mr Khaemba.

The county government was working on an education policy to address the problem, he said. 

“We are setting up 80 Early Childhood Education centres this financial year. We hope this will be the beginning of a lasting solution,” he said.

Half of those who sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in the city fail to join Secondary Schools. Most of the affected areas are the slums and Nairobi’s largely contributes to the worst transition rate in the Country.

It is also expected that the task force on education formed by the county government will bring about drastic measures on how to tackle this problem.