Education CS George Magoha has directed investigations into the low representation of female KCSE candidates in five counties.
He said Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Turkana and Homa Bay counties had high gender disparity during the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.
“Are girls being married too early in areas where very few girls sit exams,” Prof. Magoha posed.
He said Turkana County had the highest percentage of overage candidates (1,603: 0.213%) while Bungoma had the highest percentage of under-age candidates (1,344; 0.179%).
As he released exam results for the 2020 KCSE candidates, the CS said he has tasked the Directorate for Quality Assurance and Standards to investigate the cause of the low numbers.
Sat for exams after delivery
Prof. Magoha revealed that the number of cases of candidates sitting for the KCSE the examinations after delivery their babies went up in 2020.
According to him, this shows that the long school closure due to COVID-19 may have driven learners into “many temptations” at a time most households were facing enormous challenges.
He said in 2020, a total of 652 female candidates sat the KCSE Examination in hospitals after delivery.
Counties that had the highest number of candidates who sat their examination in hospitals after delivery included Bungoma (43), Meru (38), Nakuru (36), Kisii (36) and Nandi (31).
In the previous year, a total of 282 female candidates sat the KCSE Examination in hospitals after delivery.
The counties with the highest prevalence in 2019 included 45 Bungoma (17), Kakamega (16), Meru (16) and Makueni (16).
“As a Ministry, we will work with all the relevant Government departments to ensure that we focus on 46 the worst hit counties to address the root cause of this perennial problem of teenage pregnancies. We will do this knowing only too well that addressing this menace requires a multi-sectoral approach,” he said on Monday.
The CS continued: “More importantly, I wish to urge all parents and guardians to, more than ever before, offer the greatest support to our girl child. I particularly wish to call for greater support and protection for our learners who sat the 2020 KCPE Examination and are expected to remain at home until July 26, 2021 when they will join Form One. These learners require close supervision and guidance to protect them from the many temptations that come from evil men who sexually prey on them.”