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Bridging Gap Between Rural & Urban Education in Kenya

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Kenya School Children in a rural school Kenya School Children in a rural school

It has been said time and again that students in the urban areas perform better than students in the rural areas. A number of reasons have been given for this difference some them to do with levels of family income, along with gender, and location to the school. Most children in rural areas miss school more than their counterparts.

Research shows that Children from rural households are more likely to be out of school temporarily or permanently drop out of school as compared to their urban counterparts.   Research goes further to show that school enrollment rates differ markedly in different counties. Children from poor families are much more likely to be out of school than children from rich families.  Nearly as many boys as girls are enrolled in school at the national level, yet pronounced inequalities persist in some counties.

Regional differences in school participation in Kenya have historically been influenced by regional inequality in economic development. Some areas in Kenya are more developed than others and have given an advantage to children who come from such regions more than those who come from less developed regions.  

Statistics show that Central and Western Kenya have the highest primary school gross enrollment rates at around 100 percent. Eastern, Rift Valley, and Nyanza provinces followed at 97, 92, and 91 percent respectively. The enrollment rate was about 80 percent in Coast Province, while North Eastern Province was quite low at 24 percent.   North Eastern Province is the poorest and the least populous province in Kenya.  The most shocking thing however is that, the capital of the country Nairobi has a low enrollment rate at 66 percent. Despite a concentration of population and wealth in the capital, Nairobi is faced with high levels of inequality as a result of a stream of poor rural-urban migrants that has stretched its social amenities, including in the education sector.

The Constant Gap between rich and poor continues to widen with more wealthy families being found in the urban areas.  Children from wealthy families are more likely to enroll in school as compared to their counterparts from poor backgrounds.  Even with free primary education both groups have benefited from free primary education, but the gap in enrollment rates between the rich and the poor has not diminished.

In rural areas, social customs and traditions tend to favor boys more than girls. More boys tend to enroll in school while girls are expected to tend to the home or get married.  This is different in urban settings where both sexes are viewed as equals and are both expected to go to school and compete in national exams on an equal footing.

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