Nearly half of mothers cannot read a standard two story – Report

Nearly half of mothers cannot read a standard two story – Report

Kenya is joining the rest of the world in marking the 50th Anniversary of the World Literacy Day.

The World Literacy Day is set aside to celebrate the efforts and advancements made to increase literacy globally.

The day was first celebrated in 1965 following a decision by UNESCO, to designate September 8, 2015 globally, mark the impact of literacy, and efforts towards eradicating illiteracy worldwide, which, according to UNESCO  estimates cause the global economy USD 1.2 trillion.

The day also gives a chance to highlight literacy gaps in a bid to increase literacy levels among the children and adults.

Despite the effort from various fronts to increase access to learning opportunities in Kenya, some children and adults still struggle with basic literacy skills.

According to recent Twaweza Research findings, nationally, 45 percent of mothers cannot read Standard Class two English story.

Regionally, 90 percent of mothers in the North Eastern region (twice the national average) cannot read a Standard two level story compared with less than 30 percent of mothers in the Central region.

In addition, a child in the Central region is over seven times more likely to solve a Standard two literacy problem than his/her counterpart in the North Eastern region. The findings show that the level of education of a mother is significant in literacy acquisition of the child.

“As we celebrate the World Literacy Day, we need to be conscious of the millions of Kenyans who cannot even read or write an SMS. To save the generations, it is important we do everything possible to ensure that every child completing Standard eight in Kenya has acquired sustainable literacy skills to push them through life. In achieving this, we will not achieve different results by doing more of the same, but through commitment to ensure that children left behind are taught at their level so that they may catch up,” said  the Director of Data and Voice at Twaweza, Dr John Mugo.

“Kenya’s development trajectory that is Vision 2030 will only be achieved if we urgently focus our energies on ensuring that a significant proportion of children and adults access education opportunities. A literate society will stimulate economic growth of the country,”said Dr. Emmanuel Manyasa, a manager at Twaweza.

However, the Director of Adult and Continuing Education, Irreneous Kinara, says Global Monitoring Report of 2014-2015 estimates Kenya’s literacy levels to be between 75 percent and 79 percent, noting that estimated illiteracy levels of Kenyans stood at 20 percent of the population.

“This is an improvement from the 2006 Kenya National Adult Literacy Survey which indicated that there were 38.5 percent illiteracy levels in the country, which translates into 7.8 million adults Kenyans at the time,” said Kinara.