Girls’ Education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Issues and Concerns
That education and empowerment of girls and women transforms lives and improves quality of life is not in doubt. According to UNICEF, girls who stay in school longer are more likely to be healthier, have children when ready, get jobs and most importantly, invest in their children’s future. Of concern, however, are issues of girls’ access to education, performance at national examinations, dropout rates, prevalence of HIV and AIDS and vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence. Globally, one in five that is about 20 per cent of girls are denied education and girls continually face discrimination and sexual abuse. The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey indicates that 1.3 million primary school age children are not in school. Out of this number, 55% are girls. Kenya’s Basic Education statistics show a dropout rate of 23.5% for girls in Standard Eight. In 2015 at the secondary school level, only 29.3% of the girls obtained a mean grade of C+ and above. Significant progress has been made in raising awareness of gender issues and structures and strategies are in place. Girls’ access and performance at the secondary level raises concerns and issues that have implications for the attainment of Kenya Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. In this paper, the author provides data and information aimed at providing a basis for discussion on ways to increase girls’ access to education, ensure that they complete schooling and perform well to enable them to participate fully in the attainment of Kenya Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.