Kilifi County Form Four Leavers’ Forumadmin
In the project dubbed “Kilifi County Form Four Leavers’ Forum” courtesy of Smiles of Hope Kenya, Washindi Africa and Third Hand Initiative, the team observed that the challenges facing youth on matters education are almost similar across the entire Count. The prime factor is POVERTY which per se may give rise to a destitute generation if not contained in its earlier stages. Poverty may lead to improper nutrition, having to fend for or looking after siblings and the invalids, and perhaps carrying out heavy household chores on school days. Despite the fact that our regimes for over 15 years have provided free primary education and, of late, subsidized secondary school course as well as the availability of educational kitties through HELB, CDF, WDF among other identified educational financiers, poverty has created a morbid mentality that it’s always difficult to achieve anything progressive under the sky. Many are the youths whose parents/guardians lack any clue on how to access the educational kitties or how to call out for such assistance.
OTHER FACTORS: Unavailability of role models. Very few households can boast of university graduates who are excelling in their careers. Still, the few graduates around spark no motivation to the younger generations as they keep whining that there are no sustainable jobs around and that only political offices enjoy affluence and power. Learners thus lack proper mentor-ship, inspiration and guidance towards projected goals and ambitions.
VOODOO & its effect: Youth live in fear of getting bewitched should they outperform their peers in academics or profession. Homesteads may be deserted by the most promising intellectuals due to the “historical” perception that they will not make it in life where a section of family members are suspected to be procuring the services of wicked magicians to bring bad luck or even cause death to the learned before they prosper.
PEER PRESSURES: Combined with LIFESTYLE PRESSURES, the young learners may be forced out of school after succumbing to bad cultures and immorality associated with such pressures e.g casual sex leading to unwanted pregnancies and forced marriages, alcoholism and drug abuse, engagement in illicit trade and perhaps unpromising careers that may look lucrative but have no academic or moral backbone eg online betting, harlotry, drug trafficking etc.
IGNORANCE, TOTAL NEGLIGENCE & LACK OF ACCESSIBILITY TO INFORMATION: The mainstream media, social media and perhaps verbal communication as sources of information may not be availing timely and accurate information that may lead to the empowerment of communities when it comes to learning and career opportunities that may be available to the youth. Majority of our youth own smartphones which, if appropriately used, may serve to their advantage. However, very few among youth and learners engage their smartphones for accessing proper information.
POORLY EQUIPPED SCHOOLS: Generally, any school’s excellence relies on the support of teachers, learning aids, board of management and the community at large. There’s evident marginalization on lowly rated schools (eg district and community schools) and as such, the expected production is culturally poor.
UNSATISFACTORY DISTRIBUTION OF ACADEMIC RESOURCES: In some areas, learners have to walk long distances to attend classes which again may have over-populated classrooms. The ratio of learner to teachers may be below expectations and perhaps the schools are generally dilapidated thus causing discomfort to learners where there’s adverse weather conditions and outbreak of diseases.
UNRELIABLE LEADERSHIP: Most communities look upon local administrators, educational officers and the political willpower to engage in the policies that directly or indirectly affect the education sector. It’s unfortunate that most schools have been abandoned by quality assurance & assessors that would have otherwise identified for mitigation the most basic challenges facing learners.