Pastoralist Communities Asked to Embrace Education
The high illiteracy levels among pastoralist communities result from cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriage, and moralism.
Nomadic pastoral communities have also contributed to the high levels of illiteracy caused by school dropouts.
According to Daniel Kurau, manager of the AMREF Health Africa program, a large proportion of the adult population in pastoral communities is illiterate due to their lifestyles.
There are still a significant number of uneducated adults in our society.
According to Karau, pastoral communities in arid and semi-arid regions are disadvantaged due to their cultural practices and nomadic way of life.
Speaking in Maili Tisa, Kajiado Central, Karau emphasized the need to promote education in the community during an event commemorating International Literacy Day.
He noted that illiteracy prevents people from obtaining decent jobs and participating fully in their communities.
On her part, Kajiado County Director for Adult and Continuing Education Mercy Njiriri echoed Karau’s sentiments, adding that cultural practices and beliefs are deeply ingrained in the society, which hinders the promotion of education.
Njiriri emphasized that the only way to achieve economic and social empowerment was through education and urged illiterate residents to enroll in adult and continuing education courses.
The officer also urged the locals to abandon outmoded customs such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage to avoid falling behind in education and development.
Governor Joseph Ole Lenku, who attended the event, remarked that many Maasai elders did not have access to education during their formative years.
“Education has been one of our greatest challenges as a Maa community.”
“We have fallen behind because we rejected western education and clung to our heritage.
“We now have the opportunity to rectify this by enrolling in adult and continuing education to acquire basic literacy skills, “stated the Governor.
He stated that adult education would assist in promoting literacy among the elderly, urged them to enroll in classes to combat illiteracy, and pledged his government’s support for the adult education program.
During the ceremony, more than 100 adult students from various adult and continuing education facilities in the county received their diplomas and certificates.
Samuel Malei, a 40-year-old father of six, stated that he did not have the opportunity to attend school as a child because his parents did not value education.
Malei stated that he was motivated to return to school because he wanted to learn to read and write to help his children with homework and read the Bible.
He noted that studying as an adult was difficult because he had to juggle attending classes and to provide for his family, but his perseverance allowed him to succeed.
“I decided to enroll in adult classes so that I could learn how to read and write. It has not been an easy journey, but I am happy I did it, and hope to continue up to the university level,” said Malei.
Kilena Ndegema, a graduate of Namanga, stated that her parents forced her to drop out of school in Standard 7 so they could marry her.
“After my parents married me, I dropped out of school in seventh grade.”
“I am now a mother with two high school-aged children, but this did not satisfy my thirst for education, so I decided to return to school,” she said.
Ndegema stated that her thirst for education prompted her to enroll in an adult education program twenty years later to obtain a certificate in primary education.
She added that she would like to enroll in secondary school, but the lack of adult secondary schools in her area presented the most significant obstacle.
The mother of four urged education stakeholders to increase the number of adult education classes and hire more teachers because many uneducated adults want to return to school.
There are very few adult education classes in Kajiado despite the large number of illiterate adults who would like to return to school to complete their education.
“In Mail Tisa, we only have one class and a volunteer teacher; if more classes are built and teachers are hired, the literacy rate will increase,” she said.
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The annual celebration of International Literacy Day on September 8 aims to remind society of the significance of literacy as a matter of human dignity and rights.
This year’s theme, “Transforming literacy learning spaces,” emphasizes the need for actions and efforts to create literate societies and provides an opportunity for stakeholders to highlight improvements in global literacy rates in light of challenges faced.