Population Growth in Kenya and Education

KENYA is located on the Eastern Coast of Africa on the Equator. It shares border with Somalia and Indian Ocean to the East and Ethiopia to the North. It also shares boundary with Uganda to the west and Tanzania to the south.

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The coastline is about 550km long, faces the Indian Ocean. Based on the latest United Nations estimates on population as at Wednesday 25th April, 2018, Kenya is ranked 28th highest of the world total population. The urban areas have a population of Thirteen Million, Five Hundred and Eighty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Four (13,580,934) people. This represents 26.7% of the total population. This population is now higher than Belgium population of 11,239,755 people however in 1950 Belgium was having a population of 8.5 million which was higher than Kenya with a population of 6million[1]. One is likely to ask what is happening. Is this normal? Indeed, that is why we must all be involved to help solve this challenge of high population growth of Kenya. In addition to the population, the median age is 19.2 years which means that about 70% of the population is likely to fall between 15 years and 30 years.

The United Nation has estimated that, by 2050, the population will be Eighty-Five million. Many youths and young people are unemployed in the rural areas, they embark on rural-urban migration to find jobs and comfort and as a result has contributed to a high migration rate putting pressure on the few resources in the cities like water, land and food. These challenges need immediate and effective interventions to prevent future complications on the life of Kenyans and the world as a whole. The Government and other bodies such as United Nations, Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division and United and United Nations International Strategy on Disaster Reduction among the others have established a lot of achievable interventions to solve the challenges gradually. For example, United Nations and the government have included in their policies to improve the health of every citizen by providing quality and accessible health care as well improving shelter, sanity in the environmental and decent jobs to all.

Even though some of these interventions are yielding good results but the most important intervention which needs a lot of emphasis when dealing with the complicated challenges resulting from high population growth rate is equitable and quality education for all. This paper is organized into six parts. Part one discusses some of the ways of improving educational policies in the Kenya to create awareness of the rate of the population growth and its effects. Secondly, part two discusses the need for adequate quality of instructions for all, which is a core value of quality education required to be enhanced and improved in the Kenya education system. In part three, the quality of education for unemployed youth and young adults which is essential to Kenya population growth management is also discussed. More so, the role of education and its positive effects on maternal/child mortality rate is thoroughly analyzed in part four. And finally, the rural-urban migration currently in Kenya is overwhelming, therefore some of the causes, effects and the role of education to control it, is discussed in part five.

Improving educational policies and Kenya population growth

There are many policies formulated to be in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal[2] with regards to ensure socio-economic development. Among these policies is equitable and quality education for all. Indeed, training the mind, the hands as well as the heart of an individual is one of the most important accomplishments and investments in human capital to improve socio-economic development. Therefore the core factor and fundamental units of a sustainable development are human based resource development. In view of this, Kenyans high Population growth can be effectively managed through equitable and quality education for all. It is worth to say that, every successful education depends on the principles or rules which govern its implementation. Therefore in spite all the challenges encountered by Kenyans and its numerous impact on educational systems, the education ministry must try as much as possible to include the various state holders regularly to review the existing educational frameworks or set up new policies in addition, following the guidelines of the Sustainable Development Goals principles that seek to promote and sustain equity and quality education for all rather than focusing only on high enrolment rate.

These policies must also take into account how to improve the other types of education such as informal, non-formal education, technical and Vocational Education systems because they have influence on the national short and long-term goals. The consent of the stakeholders with regards to their knowledge or skills can be sought through mass media, local or traditional communication systems and other effective technological means like radios and television. For instance, the immediate and the long term goals or needs of the youth and the society can directly be discussed with them regularly. This will equip them with enough competent skills to work with as outlined in the 2010 articles 55 of the constitution[3].

It is obvious and undeniable fact to say that, many countries including Kenya have spent a lot of resources to increase enrolment rates in schools for the past decades to boost their achievements, it is good, but unfortunately, some of the students who have passed out have become liability to their respective societies due to the kind of education they received. Why? Because instructions given were purely theoretically, so after completion these graduates cannot be used to fill the various occupational vacancies in the society due to their low competency levels. Therefore policies for education including a lot of vocational and technically-based subjects who focus on the needs of the growing society and individuals must be well implemented and assessed regularly. Emphasis must be on how to creating self-enterprises rather than to train them for industries and companies only. Kenya has Vocational and Technical Education in their policies but lack appropriate facilities to make them practical hence taught theoretically and ends up in the classroom without benefiting the society. This has created a lot of unemployed graduates in the Country. Effective instruments must be employed to evaluate Vocational and Technical educational policies efficiently and periodically. Also the necessary financial support needed to enhance education to prepare the work force that the society needs must be provided by the government and Non-organizations as well as international organizations. Technical, Vocational Training and university education must be easily accessible to all whether rich, poor, disables, rural areas, and refugees among the others. The policies outlining such privileges must be well improved by the ministry and easily accessible to all as much as possible. The students from poor families and disables must be given priorities to motivate them. When these are done well, poverty rate will be minimized and enhance socio-economic development in Kenya.

Adequate quality of instructions for all

One of the most essential themes for the Sustainable development Goals and will be highly recommended Kenyans is quality educational instructions for all learners or students. This involves a phenomenon that promotes and ensures an inclusion and equity education taking into account exclusion of all forms, regardless of gender disparities, ethnicity, geographical locations and inequalities among others. However there are a lots of people affected these kinds of discrimination. First of all, most of the educational institutions do not have enough facilities and adequate teachers to give quality instructions. For instance the rich households get the opportunity to enroll their children in schools with more facilities than their poor counterparts and as a result such children tend to perform better and complete Higher University Education level whilst those from poor households have most of them dropped-out at the elementary or primary Schools because of poor performance. This is even worse in areas like Massi and Isslo. Also most of the first class schools are mostly situated in the urban centers and children there are comparatively from the rich households so they tend to perform better than their colleagues in the rural homes in Isslo.

In addition, some people argue that those from rich households get supplementary assistance or have private teachers of which the poor whilst poor parents cannot but if both poor and rich children get equal basic attention and exposure to the basic quality instructions from the same competent instructors then, the poor can also perform well if not equally or will not drop-out of school easily which would later result in high unemployment and deviant people, arm robbers, beggars among others in the society. According to UNESCO’s recent assessment on education progress, children from rich households achieve Reading proficiency of 20 per cent greater than their counterparts from the poor households at the end of their primary and lower secondary education. It also confirmed that the children in the urban centers scored higher in reading than those in the rural area schools. Education in Kenya must be very attractive especially the public schools. Therefore effective classrooms and enough instructional facilities must equally be distributed to all schools in Kenya and also taking into account the introduction of all acceptable and non-norms, ethical values and healthy traditions of their society to make them cultured and responsible for problem solving in the society to ensure peaceful and healthy environment. More so, vulnerable people like girls and physically challenge must be encouraged, motivated and considered to be able to exploit their potentials to the fullest for socio-economic development.

For instance fighting against culture and traditions that look down on girl-child education. And also giving special teaching learning assistance or specialist and materials to teach children with hearing impairment, mental impairment and other physically challenged people. Enough competent teachers must be trained and distributed evenly to all schools in the country and also be motivated to ensure effectiveness in teaching and learning processes. The educational authorities and administrators must also intensify their supervisions to ensure that quality education is delivered equitably to all in Kenya through effective assessment, evaluation and reporting for decision making by all stakeholders. Above all, more Secondary Schools, Universities, Technical and Vocational Institutions must be established and equally distributed all over the country not only in urban areas to reduce rural urban migration.

Quality education for unemployed youth and adults

The median age of Kenya is 19.2 which indicates that about 70% of the population is youth between 15 and 30 years. Categorically if we could have about forty percentage of the youth population actively in the workforce serving in the various sectors or having decent jobs in the country then, the problem of high cost of living would have been solved. But unfortunately many of these youth could not complete elementary or primary and secondary education due to so many reasons such as gender disparity, poor family background, traditions, and disability among others. Most of these people have been neglected because they are not well educated and therefore cannot fit any decent work. The education sector must try to design a model targeting reducing drastically the innumeracy and illiteracy rate to make these groups more productive either through informal training/capacity building like apprenticeship models and adult education frameworks. Some of the Apprenticeship can take the form of the educational sector creating avenues like Software Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Wood work, Graphic Designing among the others to occupy majority of the unemployed youth. It must be planned well and well-motivated by putting effective infrastructure and stored with enough facilities to work with. These people can be best trained to become effective workforce to get decent job and sustain development. Even though after the independence many new training centers have been built with new and modern Technological programs to equip the youth with more employable skills. the challenge currently with some of these training has to do with those who complete after four years or three years some of them hardly find job and hence has discouraged many those employed with unattractive pay are also discouradged. This will become prevent high crime rates, arm robbery, unemployment, prevent marriage and teenage pregnancies.

Equitable Education Early Marriage in Kenya

One of the global problems that is common in most of the least developed and developing countries is child marriage and Kenya has recorded that Twenty five percent of girls marry before fifteen years and about Ninety percent of the girls are in marriage. Also in Missai and Kinna in Isiolo the little girls are given for marriage in return for goats and cows or small amount of money. The tradition is such that may be allowing girls to grow will cause them loose their virginity to attract low prices during marriage. The situation is alarming that these girls do not know anything about marriage even how well can these girls take care about themselves? Therefore they give birth to children with or little knowledge on how to nurture them. Early marriage has also led to high mortality rate which very sad. The complications that sometimes these little wives go through during child delivery are very pathetic because their system are not matured for easy baby delivery.

Some undergo series of painful surgical operations and died at the end with or without the babies for instance twelve year girl. The only core solution to this sad and unhealthy practice is equitable and quality education for all. Even though there are laws but its enforcement is a problem. The law enforcing bodies must be very objective in dealing with issues relating these vulnerable weak vessels such as girls and women. First of all equitable and quality education shall expose them to their reproductive health systems and how to response to the changes that would occur later in their bodies. Besides they will be exposed to their fundamental rights as girls. Most of these communities do not talk about issues relating sexual health of the going children. Some it is a taboo to talk about sex meanwhile rape, incest, defilement and other sexual violence are committed by people of good status in the communities. More so, there must be much emphasis on the legal age for marriage in Kenya since early marriage affects reproductive health with many complications on fertility levels of the women. Furthermore, marriage must be the agreement between both parties therefore girls or women must not force or persuaded into any marital relationship because it affects their fundamental human rights.

The role of education and maternal/child mortality

There are a lot of pupils and female teachers in the primary schools in Kenya, therefore strong intervention is needed to keep them healthy and prevent lost through death immediately after birth and during pregnancy respectively. This is the reason together with others that equity in proper medical health care delivery services of the people of Kenya is paramount to the government and the entire citizenship. In spite of this, a lot of interventions such as training of more medical officers, nurses, health infrastructural development to make it accessible to all. However, some of these personnel have migrated out of the country created space due to the high population which makes their work unattractive and difficult. The effort of the government is not adequate hence contribute to high mortality rate and fallen standard of health delivery system in the country. Apart from the inadequate personnel and health facilities, a lot of illiterate women die without or with babies during delivery process because of the inadequate knowledge about pre-natal and post-natal care. The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) talked the issue that, if pregnant women are not properly taken care of medically they become prone to hemorrhage which is an infection related to delivery system, causing pregnancy induced hypertension which kills many women during delivery. These women hardly learn to plan how and when to give birth. Therefore they rely on their illiterate husbands. Some of these husbands also needed more children for farming therefore leading to many complications because many nursing mothers become pregnant often which cause most children or the mother to die.

Lack of education has compelled most of these women to become very poor and only to depend solely on their husbands for a living. They give birth to too many children, making life awful and leading to improper care after delivery. Their offspring repeat the same lifestyle. Additionally, there are many girls given to marriage early for cows and goats. This lifestyle has continued for decades now and has resulted in high maternal and child mortality rate. It is a fact that most mature women become less at risk of child mortality as compared to these little girls who do not have enough knowledge about pregnancy especially 15 years girls what do they know about child bearing. It is very sad some of them cannot even practice proper hygiene during and after giving birth let alone eating proper food. However, mature educated women are mindful of whatever they do, eat as well as be attached to healthy lifestyle such exercises and sound rest. (Cleland, Harris, 1996; and Jejeboy, 1992). Moreover, most of the educated mature women are well employed and very socio-economically sound to reduce depression and stress during pregnancy to complicate delivery system. So during and after pregnancy they spend a lot of resources to access quality pre-natal/anti-natal and post-natal health care respectively. This reduces the risk of child and maternal mortality.

Besides vaccination and immunization exercises are very necessary for literate mature mothers. In addition, adolescent reproductive health and other healthy subjects taught in schools later help them in their family planning models. At large as education delays women in marriage, prepares them physical and biologically well to become mature couples, well equipped with in-depth knowledge to be more cautions to have effective family planning system; child spacing, using effective contraceptives or methods. These can ensure a healthy family to prevent maternal and child mortality than their illiterate women and girls who only follow the instructions of their husbands. Therefore strengthening formal, informal and non-formal education systems can reduce the problem of mortality and high population rate in Kenya taking into account the vulnerable people like adolescent girls and pregnant women. This could be done through practical training models regularly to ensure healthy reproductive health practices and health care before, during and after child birth especially for currently the illiterates in the rural areas. Furthermore the health care personnel must also be trained to make them more effective to meet required and pressing health needs of the people of Kenya with modern health facilities. The health facilities must be up graded to meet health needs of the people by the government and cooperate bodies. 

Migration and education in Kenya

There is a high rate of rural-urban migration in Kenya is due to many reasons such as to look for employment, for quality education, to enjoy amenities like electricity, good drinking good, business investments and marital purposes. There is high population in the urban areas and is highly overwhelming because of the pressure it poses on the few resources there such water, space for settlement among the others. This has led to unhealthy situations like poor sanitation, poor health care delivery systems, unemployment and pollution of water bodies. Equitable education can reduce this migration gradually if it given the necessary attention it deserves. Therefore the Government must first of all ensure equitable and quality education in all the schools. The rural areas must considered in terms education infrastructural development, quality teachers and Administrators, teaching materials and other facilities like electricity, portable water, good roads and communication system. These factors affect most of the schools in the rural areas so parents who want quality education would have any option than send the children to the urban centers for quality education.

In Kenya almost all the factories, industries and most official jobs are situated in the urban centers therefore graduates and skilled laborers would not have any option to migrate for job. This is the time that government and the stakeholders as well as other cooperate bodies or Non-Governmental Organizations, private sectors to collaborate with a common mind-set to solve the challenges facing the country. The government can reduce the taxes of private sectors for companies who would assist developing the youth and also setting up the industries in the rural areas where their raw materials can produced to create more employment for the people. Besides, these bodies can intensify and assist self-employment policies especially for the Technical and Vocational graduates to set up their own enterprises. For instance repairing mobile phones, Televisions, Radio, manufacturing of furniture. Many youth need little skills and income to begin such small scale enterprises for a living. More so, young people in the rural areas are mostly farmers which is good occupation but cannot do it on a large scale therefore the private organizations, the government and Agricultural ministry can strengthen them by providing incentives like farm tools and giving them education on how they can also improve their living in the rural areas. In the nutshell, if living in the rural areas is made attractive by provision of the assistance discussed above then, the number of people who migrate to the urban centers will gradually be reduced and also prevent loss of labor force as well in the rural areas which hinder their progress and development.

CONCLUSION

Conclusively if we invest and monitor the progress of equitable and quality education for all people taking into account the formal, informal and non-formal education systems effectively and efficiently then the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved within the stipulated time 2030. For instance improving the maternal health, promoting equality of gender, women empowerment, decent jobs, food security, reduction in child mortality rate and poverty, among the others in Kenya and in the world. There is a shared responsible between us (citizens) and our governments (political leaders) to co-operate with a common mindset to combat this menace (High population growth) and to ensure peaceful co-existence. Therefore cooperate bodies, private institutions, Non-Governmental Organizations, Religious groups, Children, Adults, Girls and Boys and every individual must see that ensuring sizeable population growth through education can promote total peace and comfort in our communities and therefore fight for the cause and effects.

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