Kenya Children and School

By | June 14, 2021

School and education

The children in Kenya can go to school for eight years without having to pay anything. Those who then want to study receive a scholarship, which means they receive financial support. That sounds very good at first. But the problem is that only children of parents who have money are ultimately successful in school. But why is that so?

Many children go to school for less than eight years. Even if school attendance is free, the families have to raise money for the school uniform and also for books, exercise books and other materials. School uniforms are compulsory in Kenya. Not all families can afford that.

Many schools are poorly equipped

Too many children are in one classroom. Sometimes there aren’t even benches and tables. We don’t even have to talk about books, maps or even computers. In the rainy season it often rains in the classrooms. Anyone who owns a pencil and eraser is happy. The children usually do not have colorful school bags with colored pencils. There are also teachers who have not had sufficient training.

Competition from private schools

Anyone who can somehow afford it and wants their children to receive a good education pays money for a private school. Here the teachers are paid better and the children receive better lessons.

If the children then want to attend a secondary school after the eight compulsory school years, which is called secondary school and corresponds to our upper level, then they need good lessons and good grades. Thus, the better educated children in private schools are often better at the exams.

Secondary schools cost money

Anyone attending a public secondary school pays 1 euro per day. That is a lot of money for a country where many people have to live on less than 1 euro a day. But only those who successfully complete a secondary school can start studying later.

It is very important to many Kenyan families that their children receive an education. However, this is often not possible for all children from a family. As is so often the case in Africa, girls lose out.

Cons for girls

Girls in particular are disadvantaged. Many families think that it is not worth investing money in educating girls. You’re getting married anyway.

Often they have a lot more duties than the boys. For example, you have to get up early to fetch water. That is the job of women and girls. Often they also have to help with housework. They support the mothers with cooking and in the fields and help with the siblings. If the way to school is still very long, then they hardly have a chance to learn anything.

Rethinking in sight!

But there are many aid projects that try not only to enable the children to go to school, but also to develop a perspective for their lives. There are also families who now see things differently.

For example, the half-sister of the former American President Barack Obama, whose family is partly from Kenya, received a good education with the help of a scholarship and has shown what Kenyan girls are capable of if they only get the opportunity. So she is certainly a role model for many girls from Kenya.

Kenya Schools


What is Kibera?

Kibera is the name of one of the largest slums in Africa according to A million people live here on 250 hectares. This makes this slum one of the largest slums in the world. Every day means another struggle for survival. People have neither clean water nor toilets or even bathrooms. There are no doctors and no education. Life in the slum is dangerous, something can happen anywhere. The paths are not illuminated in the evening.

Street children in Kenya

AIDS and poverty are the reasons why more and more children in Kenya have to live on the streets. Aids is often not discussed in Kenya either. When their parents die, many children have to fend for themselves. With luck, they will find shelter with their grandparents or relatives.

But not many children do that. You are on your own. Often enough they have to beg. But few people give anything. Many children sniff glue. It works like a drug and is cheap. The children forget their problems and are less hungry. This sniffing is very dangerous for children because it permanently destroys the brain cells and makes them very sick. But for many children this is the only way they can forget their fate a little.

Work on the garbage

Many children earn their living by picking leftovers out of the trash. But the dangers of illness lurk everywhere, because life in the garbage is dangerous. There are broken pieces and toxic fumes everywhere. Everything the children have collected they take to the junk shop. But they often only get a few cents for what they have collected. But better than nothing, many think.

The children are chased away

Street children are not allowed to enter supermarkets. Everywhere they go the children are chased away. Many people think badly of street children. But without work the children earn nothing, cannot buy food and go hungry. Sometimes they get garbage from restaurants or torn up groceries from supermarkets. They then cook them. A simple can is often used as a saucepan. They eat out of plastic bags, because there are no dishes.

Life on the street is illegal

Street life is illegal. The police can pick up the children at any time and put them in youth arrest, i.e. in prison. There is a “tramp paragraph”, nobody is allowed to hang around afterwards. But what should the street children do?

Playing has almost no place in their everyday life. Only sometimes they may play football on the football fields. They don’t have any toys. A ball is a luxury good. But if they play they can’t make any money.

Projects for street children and children from the slums

But there are projects that want to help the street children. This creates children’s homes where children can also find a home. They get food, an education and free medical care. Many children have skin diseases. To counter this, they need medication. Often the children are malnourished or malnourished.

ID cards for street children

In some cities, young people are given an identity card at the age of 18. This is something special, because many adults have no ID at all. With an ID they can at least do small jobs and earn a living.