The ongoing Form Four exams have exposed the depth of the teen pregnancy crisis, with hundreds of candidates sitting their first papers in maternity wards.
Many more are expected to give birth before the exams end on April 21. The Education ministry is yet to reveal the number of pregnant teens but checks in individual counties indicate that thousands of schoolgirls could soon be mothers.
In Kericho, 10 candidates sat their first paper in labour wards in Bureti, Ainamoi, Belgut and Kipkelion East sub-counties. The girls are admitted to Roret Health Centre, Kapkatet Sub-county Hospital, Londiani Sub-county Hospital, Kipchimchim Hospital, Kabianga Health Centre and AIC Litein Hospital.
“One of the candidates from Londiani in Kipkelion East Sub-county delivered twins and is sitting the exams in hospital,” said Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya.
In Rangwe Sub-county, Homa Bay County, six candidates started the exams from maternity beds after delivering. One was still in hospital yesterday.
Deputy County Commissioner Thomas Nyoro told Nation that arrangements had been made to ensure that the candidate comfortably sits the exam.
“We will make sure she sits and completes all her tests as instructed by the government. She will sit for some papers in the hospital while she is recuperating,” Mr Nyoro said yesterday.
The high number of pregnant learners has been attributed to irresponsible teenage sexual behaviour during the long school closure forced by Covid-19 from mid-March last year.
KCSE and KCPE candidates reopened on October 12, 2020 while the rest of the learners resumed in-person learning in January.
In West Pokot, eight candidates did not sit their exams from school after giving birth in different hospitals, according to county director of education Jared Onyiego. The situation is also the same in Nandi County where four girls are doing their exams away from their schools.
Read: Candidates sitting KCSE in maternity wards as exams begin
County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said two girls are from Nandi Central while the others are from Nandi North and Nandi South. Health executive Ruth Koech said over 7,600 girls in primary and secondary schools fell pregnant during the long break.
The government had already projected the numbers would be higher this year and instructed education officials to ensure that all candidates sit the examinations, including those hospitalised. In Kisumu County, four candidates gave birth in different health facilities on Friday, the first day of the exams.
“We continue to record the numbers on a daily basis. We will ensure that those who are able to sit are given an opportunity in accordance Kenya National Examination Council regulations,” County Director of Education Isaac Atebe told Nation.
In Kisii County, four candidates were admitted to Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) after developing labour pains whereas in Nyamira County, seven candidates at Gesiaga High School gave birth last week.
They are said to be in good condition and are sitting the exams from school.
“This is the highest number the school has recorded since it was established,” said a teacher at the school.
In Migori County, director of education Elizabeth Otieno revealed that Suna East and Kuria East sub-counties reported two cases each,
In Meru County, director of education Milton Nzioka said seven girls were sitting their exams in hospital wards.
“None has delivered so far but we will keep monitoring the situation,” Mr Nzioka said.
In Nyeri, two students are siting for their tests at the Othaya Level Five Hospital following health emergencies. According to County Commissioner Lyford Kibaara, one of the girls was in labour while the other developed some complications after delivery.
“We have the medical team readily available just in case of any emergency,” he said.
At Bungoma County Referral Hospital, nine girls on Friday sat their KCSE exams from the wards. Six of them had given birth while the other three are undergoing treatment.
In Embu, three students are sitting their examinations in hospitals. Two students are undergoing treatment at Embu Level Five Hospital while a third one is at Kenyatta National Hospital.
According to the county director of education, Mr James Kairu, one of the students has given birth.
“We made arrangements and all those who are admitted are doing their examinations in hospital,” he said.
Reporting by Vitalis Kimutai, Victor Raballa, George Odiwuor, Benson Ayienda, Gitonga Marete, Reginah Kinogu, Oscar Kakai, Tom Matoke, Brian Ojamaa, Evans Kipkura, Onyango K’onyango, Stanley Kimuge and George Munene
Read the original article on Nation.