The quest for education has pushed young and old in Mombasa County to resume classes having dropped out of the school at their early ages for various reasons.
According to the County Director of Adult and Continuing Education (CDACE), Franklin Karanja, people as young as 15 years and as old as 60s have enrolled into adult education programmes to pick up from where they had left during their schooling days.
“The continued value of education has made many resume classes. Many have found to be missing opportunities because of gaps in their education level,” observed Karanja in an exclusive interview with Kenya News Agency (KNA).
He further indicated that although those in the youth bracket are the majority, the learners also include politicians, who dearly need higher education to fulfil their political ambition.
“Most of politicians quietly come back to class to improve communication skills and fill in a gap somewhere, either an academic paper is missing to have the right requirement for the position they are in or they are aspiring,” added Karanja.
He said civil servants too are streaming back in the adult classes to scale up their education for career progression.
Karanja further stated that the rigorous nature of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) which put parents and guardians at the center of the learning process, has also prompted many to resume learning.
“The current CBC education curriculum is very involving and teachers and parents are core in the implementation of the curriculum, so for them they are back in classes to have the numeric and literacy skills to support their children with school activities,” he added.
Preachers mostly Muslim clerics, who only attended Islamic education system, are also among the adult learners, presumably eyeing Kadhis’ jobs.
The county ACE boss said the learners are gauged of their level before being placed in the appropriate programmes. He revealed that there are currently 1,671 learners attending basic and post literacy, adult and continuing education primary and secondary programmes in 75 centers.
The most recent data also indicate that 159 male and 536 female adult learners were enrolled in basic education but the average class attendance shows 102 males against 253 females.
The figure further points out that 21 males and 61 females are attending a post literacy programme with daily average class attendance showing a paltry 12 male compared to 43 female learners.
Karanja indicates that data shows a nexus between girls and boys transiting from primary and secondary school in the normal education system.
“This shows that most of our girls in Mombasa County are not getting to schools. Most of the mature girls, who are patronizing our adult education programmes, at one time or another had no interaction with literacy programmes at any given programme,” he added.
At ACE primary level, 288 males and 93 females are enrolled into the programme but only 113 male and 73 female attend classes on average.
“Remember for the primary, usually we are handling people who joined standard one but did not complete standard eight. The data changes, the story changes, more females are completing standard one to eight as compared to boys. More boys are graduating into semi illiterate adults as compared to girls. We can see the efforts of girl child empowerment which has a positive impact on the transition period and completion cycle for the girls as compared to boys,” added Karanja.
He added that whereas 302 male and 211 female learners have registered to undertake adult education secondary programmes, some 236 males and 158 female attend classes on average.
“What does this tell us? After class eight most boys did not transit to form one as compared to girls. The programme now comes in to do mop-up. Most of them stayed for two to three years before finding themselves back to education cycle,” noted the county adult education officer
According to Karanja the enrollment data shows that females are more consumers of education than males pointing that this could have been triggered by cases of school dropout among girls in Mombasa.
He however observed that despite being majority of registered adult learners, half of the numbers of female learners do not attend classes smoothly
“Women are household managers and for them to get quality time to come to our centers is a bit tricky. We keep on encouraging them to at least give us three days of your week, so that we expose them to literacy and numeric skills,” added Karanja.
Karanja revealed that 95 adult learners have been registered to sit for KCPE examination in November with 256 candidates registered to do KCSE examination in December this year.
He said the KCPE candidates will transit to adult secondary programmes while those who finish KCSE will transit to colleges and universities to further their education.
The Mombasa county adult and continuing education boss said some of the challenges facing the programme include shortage of tutors and infrastructure.
“Some of the challenges, as the directorate we are facing, is a very acute shortage of instructors to address the illiteracy burden facing our county. I am working at half of the strength required to aptly perform. Currently I only have 15 full time instructors to meet the needs of Mombasa. We don’t have our stand alone structures,” he added.
Karanja further indicated that they depend on public primary schools to undertake lessons, which normally kickoff after lower primary school pupils end their daily classes after midday.
“Another area is the charging of examination fees. Our candidates do not enjoy the government waiver for KCPE and KCSE registration fees which hampers our learners from registering for the exams. We hope it will be looked into so that our learners will enjoy it like the learners in formal schools,” he added.
Karanja hailed Nyali and Changamwe Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for paying fees including the national examination levies for the adult learners.