Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Boys emerge top as more girls sit exam

By JOHN NJAGI jnjagi@ke.nationmedia.com

For the first time in Kenya’s history, more girls than boys enrolled in primary schools compared to boys.

This was the case in 18 out of the 36 counties where gender parity was achieved.

However, boys still held the upper hand in terms of exam performance, dominating seven out of the 10 top spots in the country.

However, the feat in increased enrolment of girls, who have traditionally lagged behind boys, was a milestone for girl education in the country.

Education minister Mutula Kilonzo called on education officials to establish why boy enrolment in primary schools was on the decrease, and find remedies.

Mr Kilonzo noted that the number of girls taking the examination was almost double that of boys as it stood at 5.57 per cent for girls against a 3.69 per cent for boys in 2012.

Over the past years, educationists and policy-makers have pushed for increased enrolment of girls as they were traditionally locked out by backward traditions but the tables appear to have turned in their favour, at least in some counties.

The minister noted that the number of girls who sat for the examination increased from 375,400 in 2011 to 396,310 last year, an increase of 20,910, while boys increased from 400,814 to 415,620, an increase of 14,806 candidates.

At the county level, in 36 out of the 47 counties, gender parities had been achieved, representing 76.5 per cent, which according to the Education minister was an indication that ministry programmes to bridge the gender gap were working.

However, from a national level view, girls were still disadvantaged in certain counties, with 11 counties showing that the gender gap was widening in favour of boys.

The three counties in North Eastern Province performed poorly with Garissa County at the tail end.

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