Martin Mwita @PeopleDailyKE
Kenyans living abroad have remained critical in supporting the local education sector through remittances as annual inflows surpass the $2 billion (Sh204.4 billion) mark.
A study by money transfer service provider, WorldRemit, has revealed at least Sh30 billion of the remittances is channelled towards education annually, enabling hundreds of families across the country to overcome school fees burden and other educational expenses related challenges.
The findings were computed using data from Unesco, World Bank and Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. About 220 million children are not in school in low and middle-income countries.
Of these, 1.5 million who live in Kenya make up almost 10 per cent of the population of school-age children. This is evidenced by the current trends where hundreds of candidates who completed primary education are likely to miss slots in Form One for lack of school fees.
“As millions of children in Kenya start a new school year, our research is a timely reminder that the contributions of the diaspora are vital to the education of children across the country. With global remittances predicted to rise in 2019, even more children are set to benefit,” said Sharon Kinyanjui, WorldRemit Head of East and Central Africa.
WorldRemit research reveals that diaspora remittances used to support education reduce by more than half the chances of children being out of school while ensuring thousands have access to books and educational supplies.
The funds also free up more time for school studies, saving secondary school children from working to meet their needs.
Kenya is the largest remittance-receiving country in East Africa with inflows hitting $2.23 billion (Sh227.81 billion) between January and October last year according to Central Bank of Kenya latest data.
The high remittances have been linked to the recent move by the government to encourage repatriation of wealth, where it has been giving initiatives including a tax amnesty.