A section of the youth has called on the government to build more specialised schools for students with disability if the country is to realise inclusive and quality education for all in Kenya.
Speaking during an international Youth Dialogue on Education conference in Nairobi, the youth said the government continues to discriminate against people living with disability given the little investment in building and equipping of specialised schools for them.
“It is not easy travelling all the way from Machakos county to Kiambu county for school but it is the only way that I can also access education. Unfortunately, many others drop out of school as a result,” said Patricia Kamene, a delegate who is also a student at the Thika High School for the Blind.
The youth also petitioned the government to fast track the deployment and integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other technologies to schools so as to adequately prepare students well to face the future.
“Many schools in Kenya, just like in many parts of Africa, have no access even to the basics like computers. How do you prepare students for a future that is run by technology when they have no basic knowledge of ICT? asked John Mutange, another delegate and a Form Three student at Mbagathi Road Secondary School.
Organised by Plan International and its partners the Forum for African Women’s Educationalists (FAWE) and Unesco, the conference, brought together youth from 15 African countries to deliberate on education matters on the continent. It was a precursor of the high-level Pan-African Conference on Education (Pace) held on Friday in Nairobi.
A memorandum drawn from deliberations from the conference was presented to the ministers during Pace by the youth. Plan International Regional Director Roland Angerer supported the youth’s call for the need to push the education agenda in Africa through the integration of (ICT).
He urged the youth to use the conference in coming up with suggestions and recommendations aimed at achieving high quality education. “There is need to break barrier that hinder young people in accessing high quality education.
Early marriages, conflicts, poverty and cultural norms are some of the obstacles that should be addressed. Plan International aims to advocate for the budget prioritisation by the Government in the education sector,” said Roland.
Martha Muhwezi, Forum for African Women’s Educationalists (FAWE) Head of Programmes, said education for young people should be in a conducive environment where both boys and girls are accorded special attention having different biological needs respectively.
In addition, she urged the youth to be aware of their rights that allow them to hold the government accountable, in providing them with high quality education.