What teenage pregnancies mean for girl child education.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed speaks to a student before the start of KCSE exam. PHOTO| COURTESY

A number of cases have recently been reported in Kenya of candidates giving birth during the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and several others who are expectant.

This points to an increasing number of teenage pregnancies among candidates sitting for this year’s KCSE examinations which seems to be getting out of hand.

According to a recent report by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) on pregnancy prevalence, Narok County leads with a 40% followed by Homabay County with 33%.

West Pokot comes in the third position with 29%, Tana River and Nyamira in the fourth (28%) and in the sixth position was Samburu with 26%.

The counties with the least rates according the report were Murang’a (6%), Nyeri (7%), Embu (8%), Elgeyo-Marakwet (9%) while Nyandarau and Lamu tied at 10%.

Migori, Kwale, Bomet had a rate of 24%, Trans – Nzoia (23%), Uasin Gishu and Kilifi (22%), Kericho and Busia (21%) while Kajiado, Turkan and Meru had 20%.

Kakamega, Isiolo, Laikipia (19%), Kisii and Nakuru (18%), Wajir, Nairobi and Saiya (17%), Marsabit and Mombasa (16%) as Nandi and Kisumu registered 15%. Kitui, Bungoma, Machakos, Kiambu and Tharaka Nithi counties recorded 14%, Taita Taveta, Baringo and Vihiga (13%), Kirinyaga and Makueni (11%) and Garissa, Mandera and Lamu (10%).

The above report shows an estimation the prevalence of teenage pregnancies in Kenya among school-going girls.

While others have continued with their education, some have been forced to drop out of school due to early marriages and the teen pregnancies.

A number of these girls are forced to quit school because they find it difficult to balance between schooling and parenting. As early as primary school, a girl quits school and a brilliant brain which would have been perfected at the university or college is lost.

At least 449 girls have failed to sit for their national examinations (both K.C.P.E and K.C.S.E) this year due to early pregnancies.

A few repeat in order to redo their national exams while others fail to and quit schooling. The ones who have quit schooling as a result of missing national exams due to teenage pregnancies are lost brains and abilities.

These abilities would have enabled them to pass their examinations and proceed for degree courses at the universities and colleges.

Research shows that more than 50% of teenage mothers never graduate from High school and less than 2% earn a college degree by the time they reach 30 years of age.

Some of them go for early marriages and some go for jobs that their abilities and passions exceeds and do not match. For instance, most of them end up being house-helps.

The world is moving away from inequalities that preferred men for formal education and jobs at the expense of women. We are moving towards gender parity, where all genders are treated equally in matters of education and employment.

We need more girls with brilliant brains at the universities in order to generate more ideas and work for a better future.

Therefore, teenage pregnancies and their consequences to primary and secondary education of girls only mean that the future of women in university education and achievement of their career goals is compromised.

It means lesser women will complete their college degrees and lesser women will excel in their education. This is because they need to take a great deal of time off in order to go through pregnancy, childbirth, recovery and childcare.

It also means teenage mothers to have a greater chance than older mothers to live a lifetime in lower-class with low income levels.