More Kenyans are enrolling their children in costly academies, shunning free public schools, a survey shows.
The report on education released Wednesday, indicated that enrolment in public schools in slums in Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu and Nyeri, decreased from 69 per cent in 2003, when free primary education was started, to the current 37 per cent.
Parents preferred academies because of insecurity, lack of enough public schools and poor performance of pupils and teachers.
The survey was conducted in five slums by the African Population and Health Research Centre.
Wednesday, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said the ministry would support low-cost academies in the slums, which more than 60 per cent of pupils attend to ensure the learners got quality education.
“The ministry will consider social economic backgrounds of people in slums when formulating policies to ensure quality education for the disadvantaged,” he said.
The low-cost schools are usually shacks or single-room structures, where children in slums are taught mostly by untrained teachers.
Public schools in the slums are few with some serving up to 3,015. Parents are concerned over the security of their children having to walk long distances. Also public schools’ academic performance was poor as they were beaten by even the low-cost academies without facilities.
For instance, at Korogocho and Viwandani slums in Nairobi, it was found that pupils in low cost academies in Class Three performed better than those in public schools.
The fact that the poor are willing to pay more is an indication of how low education standards in public schools have sunk.