Adult education in need of support


From left to right – Pastor Daniel Yonoo, Geoffrey Ekalale and Vivian Koli after completing their
Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams in November.


As an adult learner I come across a number of challenges though the common ones are parenting which takes most of my time and inadequate capital because as I attend my classes and I have no other activity that generates capital for me

The adult education sector in Turkana County is now calling for the county government support and intervention considering that the sector has been marginalized for a long time now. Adult learners are facing a number of challenges with the major ones being lack of resources including classrooms, teachers and lack of funding to support the programme.
A total of 111 private candidates out of the registered 118 sat for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E.) exams in November, which is a drop from last year’s 122 private candidates who were enrolled in the same category. The candidates including 5 inmates who undertook exams from the Lodwar G.K prisons station expressed high hopes in succeeding but the question still remains what is next after the results?
In an interview with the Turkana Guardian at his office, officer-in-charge of Adult and Continuing Education in Turkana central sub-county, Dominic Ngoko said the sector has been forgotten because much concentration is put on the formal system of education.

“there is a total marginalization of adult education programme at both the county and national government level and at all activities although a beam of light can be seen since the governor and his deputy sent goodwill messages to the candidates for their success, however, when it comes to funding the programme especially sponsorship of our learners we are sidelined and simply ignored,” said Mr. Ngoko.
He continued by adding that this comes due to the lack of resources like schools of their own and other structures hence they end up being forgotten whenever a topic concerning education pops out.
The Catholic Diocese of Lodwar is the only active partner working closely with the sector under the back-to-school programme, which was initiated in 2006 by Tim Flynn. The main objective of the back to school programme under the diocese of lodwar was to give a second chance to school dropouts and also create an opportunity to those who did not have a chance to join school probably because of various disadvantages. This year, the programme registered 23 candidates for K.C.P.E exams including 11 male and 12 female.

The registration for the programme is done on the months of December and January where those interested apply and the selected are later informed. However, those applying for  the programme should be above 18 years and should have never sat for K.C.P.E exams before.
As much as the Diocese of Lodwar is putting its efforts and resources in supporting the programme through provision of P1 teachers who take the learners through a 9-month curriculum and supplying the learners with writing materials, text books and meals so that they can concentrate on their studies, more has to be done to the sector especially by the county government because resources are now closer to the people.
Speaking to the Turkana Guardian, one of the officers of the back-to-school programme, Mr. Wilson Losike supported the adult education officer on the government intervention in the sector and urged the county government through the ministry of education to support the private candidates after primary education. “The back to school programme is donor funded and suppose the funding is cut off right now then it’s going to be a disaster. We urge the county government and members of the county assembly to intervene so that the programme can be sustainable and continuous. Some pass well yet they do not have money to continue with secondary education or even tertiary education and that’s where the government should intervene,” Mr.
Losike said.

In pursuit of knowledge Vivian Koli, Geoffrey Ekalale and Pastor Daniel Yono, who are all adult learners and have completed their K.C.P.E exams explained their journey as a tough one with lack of education and knowledge. They described the discrimination they face in their own community claiming that many people treat them badly knowing they cannot act in their defense. Vivian Koli however has a different challenge she faces as a parent and an adult learner explaining that parenting and inadequate income are the major ones. Having been married at an early age and currently living separately with her husband, she has to take care of their four children and besides that she has to attend her classes without missing even a single one because if she does so, it will cost her in one way or another.
Apart from just providing motherly care for the children, she has to provide them with food and other basic needs, which require money. “As an adult learner, I come across a number of challenges though the common ones are parenting, which takes most of my time and inadequate capital because as I attend my classes and I have no other activity that generates capital for me. It is difficult though am not going to terminate my studies for the sake of other things, I made a decision and am going for it no matter what comes along the way,” she said.
As at now, foreign individual donors are trying to establish projects and programmes to support adult and continuing education with the current one being Rose Howell from the U.S.A who is setting up a structure that will host over
60 street children.
Tullow Oil Company has been giving out scholarships to pupils and students although the adult learners have been
sidelined for the opportunities and with the growing numbers of adult and continuing education learners, more funds
and resources should be put in place to support them and also involve them in county activities and upcoming developments.

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