Garissa comes second and is followed by Wajir, Turkana, West Pokot, Isiolo, Marsabit, Tana River and Nairobi respectively.
According to the ministry’s statistics, Mandera has a staggering 124,000 children out of school.
“Mandera represents 15 percent of the children who do not go to school in Kenya, Turkana 10 percent, Garissa 8.9 percent and Wajir 6.7 percent, Habat Abdi, Director of Primary Education, said on Tuesday.
Speaking during the second day of the 14th Kenya Primary Heads Association conference at Sheikh Zayed Centre Mombasa, Abdi said a third of the 852,000 out of school children are those living with disabilities.
Many others are girls from extremely poor households, those in broken families and those who drop out of school due to sickness and indiscipline.
“Six out of 10 children are out of school due to [poverty]. Education is not a priority in these families,” Abdi said.
The Director said for Kenya to resolve this problem, parents should be encouraged to take their children to school early.
“Children who join Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) are likely to enroll for primary education,” he said, adding that at these centers, they will get adequate nourishment and psychological stimulation.
Abdi also called for alternative learning programmes, informal education, mobile schools for nomadic communities, multi-grading systems and inclusive education for those living with disabilities.
In the case of informal education, learners are allowed to do their chores during the day and learn in the evening after the other children leave.
“The Lechukuti Pastoralists School in Samburu is a good example, where programmes run from 5 pm to 8 pm. During the day, they are allowed to go herd cattle,” said Abdi.
In the case of ‘mobile schools’, migrating parents are allowed to enroll their children temporarily in a multi-grading system. A single room is used to accommodate several classes and one teacher put in charge of all learners.
Communities in North Eastern region are predominantly Muslims. Madrassa centers are therefore available at nearby mosques to where the government can deploy teachers for formal education.
Abdi said children with disabilities should be taken to special schools.
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