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close this bookAccess of Girls and Women to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Africa (BREDA - UNESCO, 1999, 480 p.)
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View the documentStatus Report Baseline Information on Girls in Science, Technical and Vocational Education in Ghana
View the documentPromotion of the Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in the Republic of Kenya
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Promotion of the Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in the Republic of Kenya

Anne W. NJENGA*

According to the 1989 census, Kenya has a population of 25 million people. Women make up 51% of this population. Young children and youth make up about 60% of the population.

Education is one of the most important tools of empowerment for a woman. It enhances her ability to access knowledge, acquire skills and accept changes. It also increases her employment opportunities. Empirical evidence exists to show that educated women provide better for the health, nutritional and care needs of their children, have fewer children and have delayed marriages.

Women and girls have many roles they are expected to perform. It is important to address these roles as often they (roles) militate against the access, participation, retention and achievement of women in education.

PERSPECTIVES FOR THE ROLE OF GIRLS AND WOMEN IN SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Roles of Women

Since independence in 1963, Kenya has undergone tremendous socio-economic changes. As a result of these changes the women in Kenya have assumed multiple roles.

The majority of young men have migrated to the urban areas in search of jobs, leaving the women to shoulder the responsibility of providing the basic needs, particularly food, for the families. According to statistic, 70% of the food requirements in Kenya is produced by women. In rural areas also 80% of the agricultural activities are carried out by women (Gachukia, 1984).

The women are also the sole care providers for their young children. The increased primary school enrolment of young children (though a positive factor) and the disintegration of the extended

Kenya Institute of Education, PO Box 30231, Nairobi, Kenya. family system has deprived the mothers of the traditional childcare support that the mothers heavily depended on.

In addition women are the health providers, decision makers and socializing agents of their children.

The impact of these multiple roles is compounded more by single motherhood and wage employment. The number of women heading households has tremendously increased. By 1979, it was estimated that 32% of households in Kenya were headed by women (Yossef and Hammam, 1985). These women play the role of 'fathers' and are also the sole breadwinners of their families. The women in wage employment are employees, mothers, breadwinners and at times wives. These roles often create conflicts that the women must deal with. Such conflicts may impact negatively on their work outputs, motherhood and emotional status.

Despite these problems it is evident that the Kenyan woman today is playing a significant role in social and economic development of the country. She provides nurturance and care for her young children. Such children whose total needs are well met will grow up to be an asset as they are able to contribute significantly to the economic development of the country. The women also play a significant role in subsistence and cash crop agriculture which is the mainstay of Kenya's economy. It is therefore evident that women have made tremendous contribution to the social and economic development in Kenya.

Roles of Girls

The girls assist the mothers in carrying out all the household chores which include, for example, caring for the baby, fetching water and fire wood, cooking, cultivating and washing. If the mother is sick or is away from home, it is the girls who miss school to attend to these chores. In the evening, the girl has less time to study because she has to assist the mother.

This adversely affects her participation and achievement in school. Absenteeism may result in poor performance in school which will lead to repetition and finally dropping out of school, sometimes before the girl achieves basic literacy. For the majority of those who reach the end of their education cycle they often perform poorly in their promotion examinations1 hence they are forced to stop school.

1 Footnote: The are two promotion examinations in the 8-4-4 education system:
¬ Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) done at the end of 8 years of primary education cycle. Those who pass the examination proceed to secondary schools.

Current Trends in Employment Opportunities for Girls and Women

Since independence the number of women in wage employment has risen from 12% in 1964 to 21% in 1987 (Kenya National Development Plan, 1989-93). This is mainly due to increased participation of women in formal education. However, a comparison of men and women in wage employment reveals that women are significantly underrepresented in all sectors of wage employment. (see Table I).

Table 1: Participation in Wage Employment by gender

Industry

Males

Females

% of females


1989

1990

1989

1990

1989

1990

Agriculture & Forestry

198.3

204.0

63.5

63.4

23.7

23.7

Mining & Quarrying

6,8

7.0

1.7

1.6

20.0

18.6

Manufacturing

164.8

167.6

18.0

20.1

9.8

10.7

Electricity and water

19.2

18.9

3.2

3.1

14.3

14.1

Building and

64.4

67.3

4.3

4.1

6.3

5.7

Construction

Trade, Restaurants & Hotels

93.8

95.2

16.5

18.8

15.0

16.5

Transports & Communications

66.9

63.8

8.9

10.4

11.7

14.0

Finance & Insurance

50.5

51.2

13.1

14.1

20.6

21.6

Business services

Community, Social & Personnel Services

- Public administration

142.7

145.1

39.2

39.2

21.6

21.3

- Education service

160.2

165.5

64.2

71.1

28.6

30.1

- Domestic service

49.8

50.9

19.9

19.9

27.9

28.1

- Other services

69.5

71.0

34.0

34.4

32.9

32.6

Total

1,086.9

1,107.5

285.9

300.2

20.8

21.3

Of which regular

931.4

963.4

243.5

256.6

20.7

21.0

Casual

1555.5

144.1

42.4

43.6

21.4

23.2

Source: The National Manpower Survey, 1989. (MMPE)

The main reason for this is the higher level of illiteracy among women. About 57% of the women in Kenya are illiterate. Empirical data exist to show that education provides a headstart for wage employment. A woman who is educated will get a job more easily than the one who is illiterate. She will also earn more money and will be more productive.

¬ Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) done at the end of 4 years of the Secondary school cycle. Those pass well proceed to the university. The others go to Technical Institutes.

The majority of the women who get jobs are placed in low status jobs. Table 1 shows that the majority of women are in job groups A to H. Empirical data exist to show that very few women go beyond the primary school cycle. Women are, for example, underrepresented in the secondary school and university level cycles, hence their placement in low status jobs because of their low level of education.

The job group placement also influences total earning. The higher the Job Group the higher the earning. Consequently, there are very few women earning good salaries. Most of them earn very low salaries. This has a negative impact on their welfare and their ability to provide adequately for the total needs of their children. It is therefore true to say that the majority of women are earning salaries that can hardly sustain their families. Such women are likely to be frustrated and less productive in their jobs.

In addition, such women often have no savings. They therefore may not be able to pay for further skill 'development courses unless such course are financed by their employers. This means that they may not be promoted easily, as most of the promotions are based on skill development.

Current Trends in Participation of Girls and Science Subjects in School

Throughout the history of formal education in Kenya, girls have continued to be underrepresented in maths and science subjects (Eshiwani, 1983). In the 1988 KACE2 examination, for example, girls comprised of 17.6% in maths, 6.7% in physics, 18.9% in chemistry and 27.9% in biology (see Table II).

2 Footnote: KACE is an examination that was previously done at the end of six years Secondary School education cycle. Those who passed well proceeded to University. Others joined technical Institutes and others diploma colleges. KACE was abolished at the implementation of the 8-4-4 education system. It was replaced by KCSE which is now the university promotion examination in the 8-4-4 education system.

Table II: Women in Education Percentage female candidates participants in 1988 KACE

Subjects

% Female candidates

Mathematics

17.04

English

54.84

Kiswahili

28.18

Physics

6.72

Chemistry

18.94

Biology

27.90

Geography

27.70

History

29.33

Economics

35.12

CRE

38.73

Source: Kenya National Examinations Council, 1991.

In the 1989 KACE and KCSE examinations the enrolment of girls in maths and science was also disappointing. In 1989 KACE examinations, for example, only 11.8% of the girls enrolled of maths, 18.5% for physics, 28.5% for chemistry and 37.9% for biology (see Appendix IV). The majority of the girls who sat for the three examinations (1998 KACE 1989, KACE and KCSE) enrolled in at subjects.

In the previous education system, maths was compulsory only at the secondary school level (Form I-IV) but sciences were not. In forms V and VI students had an option to study either maths/sciences or art subjects. The majority of the girls enrolled in art subjects (Eshiwani, 1983, Njenga, 1986, 1992). In 8-4-4 education system, however, maths and sciences are compulsory. Students are only allowed to choose between either pure or general sciences. The pure sciences comprise of physics, chemistry and biology done as separate subjects. The general sciences consists of physical sciences and biological sciences. In this education system, most of the girls opt for physical and biological sciences. In the 1993 KCSE examination, for example, only 30.6% of the girls enrolled for physics, 30.9% for chemistry 40.9% for biology. In physical sciences the girls comprised 45% and 46% in biological sciences (see Table III). This preference of the majority of girls to study general sciences bars them from enrolling in maths - pure science based faculties like Medicine, Dental surgery, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering and Architecture. This means, that the majority of the girls because of their physical/biological sciences combination are left with only one option when enrolling in the universities, that of studying at based courses.

Empirical evidence exists to show that over the years the achievement of girls in promotion examinations (KCPE, and KCSE and former KACE) in maths and science subjects is much lower than that of boys. Table III, which analyse the achievement of girls and boys in these examinations, corroborate this.

Table III: Performance in KCSE Examination by gender Cluster 2: Maths and science


Total

A à B

C + à D+

D à E

2.1 Maths

Female

59,810

1,826

5.058

51,926


(100)

(3.1)

(10.1)

(86.3)

Male

80,616

6,215

14,970

59,431


(100)

(7.7)

(18.6)

(73.7)

2.2. Biology

Female

19,890

2,066

6,723

11,201


(100)

(10.4)

(33.8)

(55.8)

Male

28,742

4,452

11,169

13.121


(100)

(15.5)

(38.9)

(45.6)

2.3. Physics

Female

9,058

675

2,750

5,633


(100)

(7.4)

(30.4)

(62.2)

Male

20,486

3,657

7,609

9,220


(100)

(17.9)

(37.1)

(45.0)

2.4. Chemistry

Female

20,252

2,120

6,750

11,383


(100)

(10.5)

(33.3)

(45.0)

Male

31,703

4,407

11,986

15,310


(100)

(13.9)

(37.8)

(48.3)

2.5. Physicals Science

Female

39,254

1,144

8,034

30,076


(100)

(2.9)

(20.5)

(76.6)

Male

48,354

3,2798

14,245

31,331


(100)

(6.7)

(29.2)

(64.1)

2.6. Biological science

Female

39,263

2,148

10,212

26,903


(100)

(5.5)

(26.0)

(68.5)

Male

48,893

5,422

16,441

27,030


(100)

(11.1)

(33.6)

(55.3)

Source: Makau, B.M.M (1994) Review of significant statistics on Education of Girls and Women in Kenya. A paper presented at a national symposium on the education of girls at the garden Hotel, Machakos, Kenya in March 1994.

Table IV: Performance in the 1993 KCPE Examination by gender


Total

A to B

C + to D+

D + to E+

Maths

Female

184,849

33,277

113,187

38,385


(100)

(18.0)

(51.2)

(20.8)

Male

213,589

65,225

119,075

29,287


(100)

(30.5)

(55.8)

(13.7)

Science & Agriculture

Female

184,848

79,526

109,629

24,439


(100)

(37.2)

(51.3)

(21.4)

Male

213,594

79,526

19,629

24,439


(100)

(37.2)

(51.3)

(11.4)

Source: Makau, B. M. M. 1994.

In the 1993 KCPE examination, for example, only 18% of the girls attained A-B grades as against 30.5% the boys. In science and agriculture, the achievement was even lower, only 16.5% of the girls had A -B as against 34.2% of the boys (see Table IV).

In the 1989 KACE examinations the achievement of the majority of the girls in maths and sciences was also low. Very few girls obtained grade C and above in maths and physics. In maths only 10% obtained A, 14% B and 17% C. In Physics 11% obtained A, 3% B and 7% C. In biology and chemistry the achievement was much better. In biology 25% obtained A, 31% got B, 25% C. In chemistry, 17% obtained A, 124% B and 22% C (see Table IV).

In the 1989 and 1993, KCSE examination this trend is repeated (see appendices IV and V). In 1993, for example, very few girls attained grades B and above in maths (only 3% opposed to 7.7% boys), physics (7% as opposed to 17.9% boys).

The performance at KACE formerly and currently the KCSE determines enrolment in the universities in various faculties. In Medicine, Dental Surgery, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering and Architecture, a student must have attained grade B and above to be able to enrol in these faculties. Since there is no gender preference in the university selection, it means that very few girls qualify for enrolment in these maths-science: based faculties. Appendices VII - X corroborated this discussion. Over the years the girls have continued to be underrepresented in the faculties of Medicine, Dental Surgery, Pharmacy, Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Engineering and Architecture.

In the 1990/91 academic year, for example only 18.7% of the girls enrolled for the undergraduate courses in Medicine, 23.5% in Pharmacy, 36.0% in Dental Surgery, 21% in Agriculture, 22% in Veterinary medicine and 16% for science. The enrolment in Engineering and Architecture were even lower, 5% for both. (Table IV). Table V: Female Enrolment in courses in University of Nairobi (Kenya), 1990/1991

Course

Undergraduate

Postgraduate

Design

43.0


Arts

41.5

31.2

Dental Surgery

36.0


B. Ed. (Ext)

33.3


Land Economics

32.8


Law

27.2

16.7

Anthropology

27.1


Pharmacy

23.5


Art & Cultural Studies

23.1


Commerce

22,9

21.2

Vet. Medicine

22.2

18.5

Agriculture

21.3

25.9

Medicine

18.7

22.0

Science

16.0

16.7

Building Economics

10.5


Engineering

5.1

1.2

Architecture

5.0

27.2

Journalism


51.5

African Studies


42.9

Population Studies


33.3

Diplomacy


8.0

Computer Science


5.9

Source: S.P. Wamahiu, F.A Oporido and G. Nyagah (1992)

During the same period, for the post-graduate courses, only 22% of the girls enrolled in Medicine, 31% for Dental Surgery, 25% for Agriculture, 19% for veterinary in Medicine, 17% science and 1% for Engineering. The enrollment of 27% in Architecture was encouraging considering the low enrollment at undergraduate level. This means that most of the girls who completed the undergraduate course enrolled for the post-graduate degree.

This trend of underrepresentation of girls in these maths-science based faculties has continued to date. The data Appendices VII- C corroborate this. It is interesting to note that the girls who excel in maths and science appear to prefer to enrol for Medicine, Pharmacy and Dental Surgery.

The main reason for this underrepresentation of girls in these faculties is twofold. First of all few girls as already noted enrol in pure sciences at KCSE. The achievement of these who do so is also often low.

Current Trends in Employment of Women in the Teaching Profession (Particularly Science)

At the primary schools level women are well represented. They number about 50% of the total teaching force.

However, at Secondary school level the girls are heavily out numbered by men. This is particularly so in B. Ed. Science The Secondary school teachers are university graduates of Bachelor of Education Science Degree. The reasons for underrepresentation of girls in the universities, particularly, in the math-science based faculties has already been discussed

Current Trends in Enrolment of Girls and Women in the Technical and Vocational Education System

Today, Kenyans, like all other people in the World are living in a rapidly changing technological world. To be able to survive and function efficiently in the world today we must possess necessary scientific and technology skills. This calls for those in school to study maths and science subjects as these will give them a head-start in entering technical oriented careers and therefore getting well paying jobs more easily.

Unfortunately, the participation of girls in maths, science and consequently technical oriented careers has remained very low.

In Kenya there are four types of technical institutes. The Youth Polytechnics which recruits students after KCPE to study craft and artisan courses. The Polytechnics, Technical Training Institutes and the Harambee Institute of Technology which all recruit students after KCSE to study diploma and certificate courses.

The ratio of girls to boys in the Youth Polytechnics is 1:1 (see Table VI). Unfortunately this is not the case for the other three institutions, namely the Polytechnics, Technical Training Institutes and the Harambee Institutes of Technology. The participation of girls in these institutions is very low. In 1990, for example, the girls comprised less than 26% of the total student enrolment in all the three institutions. This trend is repeated in the subsequent years from 1991-1992. There was, however, a slight improvement in 1993 where the percentage of girls rose to 30% in all the institutions, (see Table VI).

Table VI: Percentage and number of students in post secondary institutions by gender from 1990 - 1993

Type of institution

1990

1991

1992

1993


M

F

M

F

M

F

M

P

Polytechnics

4635

1817

6323

2520

6456

2573

6453

2585


74.5%

26.5%

74.5%

26.5%

71.5%

28.5%

71.4%

28.6%

Institutes of technology

4445

1324

4558

1455

4270

1363

3427

1854


75.8%

24.2%

75.8%

24.5%

78.8%

21.2%

64.9%

35.1%

Technical Training Institutes

4447

1429

5192

1657

5802

1852

5666

2225


75.8%

24.2%

75.8%

24.32%

75.8%

24.2%

71.8%

28.2%

Total

13257

4600

16073

5632

16528

5788

15546

6664


74.2%

25.8%

74.1%

25.9%

74.1%

25.9%

70.0%

30.0%

Source: Ministry of Education

Even for those who are recruited in these institutions, there is yet another gender imbalances in the selection of courses for study. The majority for the girls enrol in the art-based courses which include Tailoring, Institutional Management, Secretarial, Business Studies, Graphic Arts and Information Management and Liberal Studies. (See Table VII).

Table VII: Student enrolment by gender in 67 youth polytechnics

Course

Female

Male

Total

Clothing technology

106

7

113

A.C.C. I & II

162

248

410

Plumbing

3

28

197

Secretarial

173

24

39

Electrical

1

29

39

C.P.S

17

22

58

Mechanical

5

53

52

Agricultural Mechanic

1

51

56

General filter

11

45

15

Copy Typist

15

-

16

Carpentry & Joinery

4

15

16

Automotive

1

15


Total

499

561

1060

This means, therefore, that very few girls enroll for maths-science based courses. In 1989, for example only 2% of the girls in the Youth Polytechnics enrolled to study Building, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering courses. During the same year only 1.2% of the girls in the Diploma/Craft Institutions enrolled for Building, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering courses. This trend was repeated in all the Polytechnics in 1991 where only 6.3% of the girls enrolled for Building, 3.4% for Electrical Engineering and 2.7% for Mechanical Engineering (see Table VIII).

Table VIII: Kenya Polytechnic Student Enrolment Analysis by Department and Gender for all Students Entering the Polytechnic, 1991

Department

Male

Female

Total

%

Applied Science

268

81

349

23.2

Business Studies

171

205

376

54.5

Building and civil Engineering

150

10

160

6.3

Computer Studies

27

14

41

34.2

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

198

7

205

3.4

Graphic Arts

537

237

774

30.6

Institutional Management

23

132

155

85.2

Information and Liberal Studies

178

142

320

44.4

Mechanical Engineering

286

8

294

2.7

Surveying and Mapping

115

24

140

17.9

Mathematics and Statistics

125

52

177

29.4

Total

2078

913

2991

30.5

Source: S.P. Wamahiu et al. (1992)

The main reason for the low enrollment of girls in theses institutions and their underrepresentation in the maths-science based courses like Building, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering is twofold. First of all, there are very few girls who enroll for pure sciences in KCSE, which is the requirement for recruitment in these courses. The achievement of the few girls who attempt the maths-pure science combinations in KCSE is also low. Consequently, the majority of the girls do not qualify to study-the technical oriented courses. Hence their high enrolment in the art-based courses.

FACTORS (BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE) DETERMINING THE ORIENTATION OF GIRLS TOWARDS SCIENCE EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL/VOCATIONAL.

Economic Trends

The trends for the current National Development Plan (1997-199) is Industrialization. To be able to realize her goal during this period, Kenya requires a workforce with technological skills.

Only those who have such skills are able to find jobs and therefore participate fully in the economic development of the country. The women, the majority of whom, as already noted, lack such skills, will miss out on the mainstream of economic development in Kenya.

It is anticipated that women, on realizing that technological skills are a prerequisite for job placement, will be motivated to acquire such skills.

Sociological (Cultural, Tradition, Religious Including Attitude Towards Science Technical Education)

Sociological aspects have had a significant negative impact on enrolment and achievement of girls in maths and science subjects and technical education. These aspects include:

· Mystification of Maths and Science Subjects
Students, teachers, parents and the community in general harbour a mistaken belief that maths and science subjects are extremely difficult and more so for the girls. As a result the girls receive very little encouragement from all those around them to study hard and excel in maths and sciences. They do not therefore put much effort in these subjects because they believe they cannot excel in them, hence their poor achievement.

· Adherence to traditional Roles of Women
There are still many communities in Kenya who believe that the major role for a woman is to be a mother and a wife. In such communities girls are married off very early. Many never enrol in school. Those who do so are often forced to leave school and are married off. Many leave school before they even acquire basic literacy.

· Poverty
When there are financial problems and the family cannot pay fees, it is often the education of the girls that is compromised. This view is corroborated by a study done by Njenga (1986). When she asked university graduates in her sample to list the sources of their fees, the men gave a wide range of sources. All the girls had only two sources, the main one being the father's salary or income. A few had fees paid by either an older brother or sister. All the girls in the sample came from families with a stable income. Most of their fathers were salaried. The majority of the men from very humble backgrounds. However, their families, relatives and the public did all that was possible, to ensure that they paid fees for them. No such efforts were recorded for any of the girls in the sample.

· Parental Aspirations and Parental Education
Parental aspirations, particularly those of the mother have a significant influence on the participation and achievement of girls in school. Parental aspirations are highly correlated to the educational level.
Parents who are educated value formal education. They therefore do not only take their children to school but they also pay all the dues. This ensures that their children do not miss school unless they are sick. They also encourage their children to study and excel in examinations. Children from such families often perform better in school than their counterparts who do not receive such financial and moral support.
In her study, Njenga, (1986) all the girls in her sample had literate parents. In particular, all the mothers had at least reached standard III. They were all literate. This was not the case with the men in the sample. A good number of them had mothers who were illiterate. This corroborates the evidence that educated mothers play a significant role or ensuring better education for their daughters.

· Stereotyped Expectations
In most African countries the teachers, parents and the community have continued to harbour stereotyped expectations of girls and careers they ought to join. They believe that technical subjects like engineering and architecture are for boys. They therefore give very little encouragement to girls to join such careers. It appears that the majority of the girls have also accepted these stereotyping expectations from society. This is because the majority of those who enrol and excel in maths and science opt to study either Medicine, Dental Surgery or Pharmacy. Appendices VII - X corroborate this. There are more girls studying these disciplines than there are in Engineering and Architecture even though the subject requirements are almost similar. Medicine and the related careers are considered more suitable for girls because their work environments are always close to the home. This makes it possible for the girls to perform their roles as wives and mothers more efficiently.

· Poor Socialization
In African tradition, girls are socialized not to compete with men. On entering school girls find themselves being required to constantly compete with boys. The latter (boys) perform better in maths and science because of the encouragement given to them by the teachers (most of whom are men) and parents. It takes a very strong willed girl to ignore the home socialization and put up a stiff competition against the boys. Empirical data exists to prove that only these girls who receive strong encouragement from home, particularly from their mothers, are able to compete favourably with boys. Such girls often excel in the so-called 'male' dominated subjects and careers (Njenga, 1986).

Technical (Related to the Changes in the World of Work)

The underrepresentation of girls in the technical institutes and in the faculties of Engineering and Architecture in the universities is mainly a result of non enrolment in maths and pure science and also poor achievement at the KCSE examination. This is mainly due to:

· Lack of role models whom girls and women can identify. There are very few girls working in these careers who can be used to motivate girls in school to enroll and excel in maths and science and consequently join technical related and other maths-science based careers.

· Lack of science facilities in most girls' schools militate against their achievement in maths and science in promotion examinations. Even though the government made maths and science compulsory in the secondary school cycle of the 8-4-4 system, little effort was put to provide relevant facilities for the study of science. The majority of the girls' school as noted earlier were not offering science prior to the 8-4-4 education system hence they are poorly equipped. Achievement in the KCSE in these schools has, therefore continued to be low due to lack of science facilities.

· Stereotyped expectations by the teachers, parents and the community has continued to militate against girls enrolling in technical-oriented careers.

Employment-related (employability, labour, market, structures, wages)

Although there are more jobs and better salaries in technical oriented careers in Kenya, girls and women have not been able to take advantage of this healthy job environment due to lack of technical skills. As already noted this is closely linked with their low achievement in the headstart subjects of maths and science in primary and secondary school promotion examinations.

Education (in general education, Science education and technical/vocational education)

Most of the factors that adversely affect girls' enrolment and achievement in maths, science and technical oriented careers have already been discussed, for example stereotyping expectations, lack of role models, poor science facilities in schools and poor socialization at home. Other factors include:

· Teachers
The majority of teachers teaching maths, science and technical subjects at all levels of our education system are men. In most cases, these teachers because of their socialization and stereotyping expectations, tend to encourage boys to excel in maths and science subjects. They often ignore the girls. At the time of making career choices they will often encourage boys to enrol in maths-science and technical based careers. They encourage the girls to enrol in art-based careers. This gender discrimination continues to negatively impact on participation and achievement of girls in maths-science based and technical careers.

· The Curriculum
Curriculum, particularly, prior to the review of 1992 was gender biased. Because of the examples given in the textbooks the majority of the girls felt that maths, science and technical careers were meant for boys. The girls were therefore not motivated to excel in maths and science subjects. The 1992 curriculum review attempted to develop gender sensitive content at all levels. It is anticipated that this will bear fruits in the future promotion examination results.

Measures to promote Equal Access of Girls to Science Education and Technical/Vocational Education

The measures instituted to promote participation of girls in maths, science and technical/vocational education include:

· Introduction of the 8-4-4- education system in 1985 which emphasized the study of maths, science and practical subject by all students. The greatest impact of this education system has been felt at the secondary school cycle with all girls studying maths and science. As a result of this initiative the percentage of girls entering technical and science oriented careers has slightly increased, particularly, from 1992.

· Review of curriculum in 1992 to develop gender sensitive content. Before embarking on this review the Kenya Institute of Education, (the curriculum development centre in Kenya) organised a short orientation course, “On Gender and Its Relevance to the Curriculum”. This course was attended by all those who participated in the review exercise. This ensured that they developed a gender sensitive curriculum. This objective was achieved, as can be seen from the current curriculum content.

· Carrying out extensive research in the 1980's on issues related to access, participation and achievement of girls in all levels of education with, particularly emphasis on maths, science and technical oriented careers. This research have been instrumental in conscientizing policy makers, teachers, parents and the public on the issue of low participation and low achievement of girls in maths and science and their underrepresentation in maths-science and technical based careers. It is important to point out that this advocacy has even reached the Head of State who in 1995, directed that the Ministry of Education (MOE) allocate extra funds to buy equipment and other science facilities for girls in secondary schools.

· Government seeking donor funding to be used to provide science facilities and textbooks in schools. A number of donors have given funds which have been used to buy textbooks and equipment in a number of schools.

· Advocacy through various NGOs using print and electronic media. FAWE has, in particular, played an important role of promotion girls' education through folk media, songs, TV, and radio shows.

· Lowering local university admission grade for girls by one grade. This has made it possible for more girls to enrol in the local universities.

· Ministry of Education directive in 1994 that girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy may continue with school after giving birth.

Difficulties and Constraints Encountered in the implementation of these measures

· Lack of adequate funds to provide science equipment and other facilities has highly compromised the realization of objectives of the maths-sciences and technical biased 8-4-4- education system. Due to lack of funds, for example, the Presidential directive to provide science facilities to all girls' secondary schools has not been implemented.

· Lack of adequate awareness about participation of girls' in various levels of education by the public resulted in the local university authorities stopping the one-grade lower entry provision for girls. Those opposed argued that this provision implied that girls were less intelligent than boys. They felt that instead of lowering the entry requirements for girls, efforts should be made to provide adequate science facilities for girls' secondary schools, as this is the main reason for their poor performance in KCSE.

· Lack of adequate knowledge on gender issues about the majority of the teachers and parents has continued to militate against the enrolment and achievement of girls in maths, science and technical oriented careers. Girls continue to receive very little encouragement at home and school, hence their under-enrollment and low achievement in these subjects.

· Lack of adequate science teachers, particularly women teachers who could act as role models for the girls to identify with. This has continued to compromise the enrolment and the achievement of girls in maths and sciences.

· Negative attitude of teachers, parents and the community has made the implementation of the MOE directive that girls who drop out of school may go back after delivery. Many of the parents feel that once the girl has a baby, she should either get married or get a job to support herself and the baby. The majority of the teachers refuse to allow the girls to back to the same schools. They prefer that they enrol in other schools where they are not known. They feel that by going back to the same schools such girls may become poor role models for the others.

Specific information

Compulsory Maths and Science Education

· The 8-4-4 education system is maths-science and technical education biased. All the pupils from primary to secondary school have to study maths, science and practical subjects. As a result, more girls are now studying these subjects. Their enrolment in technical oriented careers has also slightly increased in the technical institutes.

· In the 8-4-4 education systems, practical skills health and social education issues have been integrated in relevant subject areas. This ensures that the youth are adequately prepared to face the challenges of the contemporary and rapidly changing technological world.

Future Interventions

In order to improve access, and achievement of girls in maths, science and technical education, the following interventions should be put in place.

· Increased funding, particularly for providing science facilities for girl's secondary schools.

· Training all teachers and KIE curriculum developers on gender issues in order to ensure that they provide a girl-friendly environment and curriculum content. Such training will ensure that the teachers are supportive and encourage the girls to enrol and excel in maths and sciences. They will also encourage them to join the 'male dominated' careers.

· Creating awareness of parents on importance of girl's education and in particular maths and science education. This will ensure that parents start providing psychological support and encouragement to their daughters.

· Encouraging the women scientists and technologists to act as role models for young girls. This will give the girls a motivation and incentive not only to enrol but also to excel in the male dominated subjects and careers.

· Government and NGOs to continue with advocacy and public information through print and electronic media on issues of girls education and particularly achievement in maths and sciences.

· Increased research on access, participation and achievement of girls in maths, science and their enrolment in maths-science based and technical oriented careers. Finding from such researches should be widely disseminated because empirical data provides the greatest advocacy in the world today.