The shutting of learning institutions in March last year to stem the spread of Covid-19 fuelled the dropping out of over 375,000 learners in primary and secondary schools, a report commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta shows.
The grim figures are contained in a study yet to be released titled ‘Promises to keep: Impact of Covid-19 on adolescents’.
Ruth Kagia, the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, quoting the report said about 250,000 of those who dropped out were girls, making them the most affected.
Boys accounted for about 125,000 of those who did not return to school.
Adverse effects of the closure, the report indicates, saw 165,000 adolescent girls aged between 10 and 19 either married or impregnated.
The report was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta and sought to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the education sector.
“Rate of pregnancies went up, they also fell in the risk of substance abuse and access to unregulated information through the phones. That is why opening schools in essence is the first step because it provides safe and regulated space,” Kagia said.
She spoke during the launch of Commitment to Education Financing and outlined the country’s role as the co-host of the Global Partnership for Education 2021-2025 in Nairobi.
Schools closed in March 2020 for nine months with transition classes of Grade 4, Class 8 and Form 4 reporting back in October while the rest of the classes reported in January this year.
The impact of the closure was first seen during the administration of the KCPE examination that saw 12,424 candidates miss the exams.
The revelation was made by Education CS George Magoha while releasing the 2020 KCPE results.
Covid doubled the number of candidates who missed their exams in 2019. In the KCSE exam, a similar trend was witnessed after a record 5,441 missed the tests.