In just a few weeks, schools will reopen for the first semester after the school calendar was disrupted by the coronavirus.
Ideally, this is the time when parents have to spend significantly more than the whole year on their children’s education
The cost of education continues to rise in Kenya – and the chances of it ever falling are slim considering recent taxes are even levied on learning materials.
And so, in a matter of weeks, parents will be selling their land or animals to collect fees.
Others will beg, borrow, or steal, and yet there are some children who do not register for school because they do not have the school fees.
There’s another category who don’t report to school because they’re pregnant. There will be an outcry as usual, and then things will die by next school year when more young girls get pregnant.
Talking about teenage pregnancy has become more of a calendar event. Every school year the topic comes up and is condemned by all sides and then forgotten.
But the latest reports should make Kenyans wake up to the sad reality that is stifling girls’ growth.
In January and February this year, the Ministry of Health processed 45,724 cases of pregnant adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19.
The figures were announced by Health Minister Susan Mochache on Thursday in Mombasa during a national dialogue with regional and district commissioners on HIV and AIDS, teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.
She said that in 2021, of all prenatal visits, 21 percent were teenage mothers between the ages of 10 and 19, compared to 2018, when 427,135 cases of teenage pregnancy were reported in maternity hospitals.
By any measure, these numbers are high and not encouraging at all. Whatever is being done to reduce teen pregnancy cases does not seem to be working and it is time we not only change course but join the fight.