Probe cause of rising teen pregnancies, Amina orders

Alvin Mwangi, Mathew Ndung’u, Enock Amukhale and Sophie Njoka @PeopleDailyKe

Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed yesterday  ordered a probe into alarming teenage pregnancies.

She told the ministry’s Quality Assurance to establish the cause of the pregnancies which are undermining the education of the girl child.

Amina, who spoke at the conclusion of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination yesterday, was responding to the shocking revelations by People Daily that 20 babies were born on day one of the exam across the country.

We also reported that Kilifi county, a teenage pregnancies hot spot, had 100 pregnant candidates aged between 14 and 17 sitting the exam.

The CS promised to work with her Health counterpart Sicily Kariuki to come up with policies that will establish centres where the pregnant students can sit their exams.

Amina said this as most of the young girls who delivered were forced to do their exam in the maternity wards with some even having to write the tests in labour pain.

“The rate of teenage pregnancies is increasing at a very high rate, we have witnessed a high number of candidates who have become mothers during this period and this could be a problem for the country,” she said.

The teenage pregnancies shocker also attracted the attention of Education Principal secretary Belio Kipsang, who warned that parents of candidates who gave birth during exam could be arrested for “covering up for the pregnancies”.

Speaking in Nyeri when he distributed the last exam papers, the PS said the government will crack down on kangaroo courts that cover up the pregnancies.

“One of the issues that came out strongly during the exam period is teenage pregnancies. These girls are underage and thus we cannot talk of consent. It is actually defilement,” said Belio.

And on the exam,  Amina lauded the multisectoral approach that has been employed to man the exercise saying the collaboration helped to drastically reduce the malpractices.

“The way we have delivered this year’s exams is a perfect example to show that the government delivers. We promised and we have delivered a credible exam,” she said.

In Kiambu, at least 16 KCPE  candidates from Thika  were still missing on the final day of the exam. Six of them are from Mugumoini, three from Kimuchu, two from Kamenu, one from Kisiwa, another from Thika Barracks, Kianjau, St Patrick’s and Muslim primary schools.

To ensure exam integrity, most Cabinet secretaries  have been visiting schools to monitor the exercise for the last three days.

Labour Cabinet secretary Ukur Yattani was in Bomet, his Devolution counterpart manned Nyandarua while Sports CS Rashid Echesa was in the Western region as Interior CS Fred Matiang’i was in North-Eastern and the Coast regions.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto joined the team, too, and early on Wednesday oversaw the opening of most papers.

The exam had also been under the watch of  police officers from different departments who were ordered by  Matiang’i not to go on leave.

With the examination malpractices having decreased by a bigger margin, Amina said those caught will be prosecuted.

Marking now starts immediately and the results are expected to be out by the end of this month.

On Wednesday, 17 candidates at Oloonamuka Primary School in Narok county encountered some delays after their papers were reported to have disappeared while on transit.

Area County Education Officer James Nyaga confirmed that the candidates sat their papers albeit late after field officers photocopied the Science and Kiswahili papers from a nearby primary school.

The Oloonamuka head teacher, his seven colleagues and three security officers, who were in the vehicle carrying the papers, were arrested and detained at the Olpusimoru Police Station.

In Mombasa, a 15-year-old girl shed tears of joy, after she completed her KCPE examination in what she termed as a dream come true.

Mlongo Juma from Kongowea Primary School cried uncontrollably moments after she wrote her Insha paper, saying she failed to sit the exam last year after being chased from class for wearing torn uniform.

Juma claimed that her parents intentionally failed to buy her a new uniform because they wanted to marry her off as they did not value educating her.

She began praying quietly as other candidates chanted songs and dances before she broke down in tears.

Juma, who wants to become a doctor in future, said  it is unfortunate that her family does not value girl education and they believed a woman’s place in the society is in the kitchen.

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