KENYA COUNTRY STATEMENT BY DR. MOHAMED SHEIKH, DIRECTOR GENERAL NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT DURING THE 56th SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORKMohamed Hassan
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- The Kenyan delegation is honored to participate in the 56th Session of the Commission on Population and Development, which focuses on the crucial connection between population, education, and sustainable development. We align our statement with the G77 and China statement delivered by the representative from Cuba.
- Kenya remains committed to implementing the Programme of Action (PoA) of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and to fulfilling our seventeen (17) national commitments from the Nairobi Summit on ICPD 25 which was convened in 2019. The Summit, which Kenya co-hosted with the Government of Denmark and UNFPA, revitalized the international community and increased political momentum towards the ICPD Agenda. Since then, Kenya has released three annual reports demonstrating progress made in the implementation of our 17 national commitments, all of which have been integrated into national and county development plans and strategies.
- Kenya is dedicated to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) by 2030, in line with the Constitution of Kenya, Kenya’s Vision 2030, and the African Union’s Continental Education Strategy for Africa. The Government is making efforts to ensure equitable access to 12 years of basic education for all children in the country. Our policies have resulted in an increase in the percentage of the population aged three (3) years and above attending school.
- Currently, Kenya has 8.9 million primary school pupils and 3.6 million secondary school students, which represents 93 percent and 80 percent of primary and secondary school-age children respectively. Gender parity has almost been achieved at both primary and secondary levels, with girls slightly outnumbering boys at primary level and vice versa at secondary level. Moreover, enrollment in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has risen steadily by 37 percent between 2020 and 2022.
- However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our efforts to achieve a 100 percent basic education completion rate, which now stands at 85.6 percent. To improve the completion rate, the Government is implementing measures to address disparities at the sub-national (county) level.
- The Government also recognizes the importance of lifelong learning in the promotion of social inclusion, active citizenship, and individual development. We are pleased to share that enrollment in adult education classes has increased countrywide.
- In 2019, the population size in Kenya was recorded at 47.6 million with an inter-censual growth rate of 2.3 percent per annum. The population is projected to increase to 51.5 million in 2023 and 57.8 million in 2030.
- Over time, Kenya has formulated population policies that acknowledge the crucial role of education in shaping demographic indicators and promoting sustainable development. The most recent of these policies is the Kenya Population Policy for Sustainable Development (Draft Sessional Paper Number 1 of 2023), which outlines practical strategies for attaining SDG 4. The policy advocates for integrating population dynamics into the education curriculum; implementing initiatives to retain pupils and students in schools; enhancing transition and completion rates; reducing gender gaps in education; and promoting technical and vocational education and training.
- The considerable influence of education on demographic and health indicators in Kenya is evidenced by:
- Delayed teenage pregnancy: In 2022, teenage girls with no education were seven times more likely to get early pregnancy than those with more than a secondary level of education.
- Increased use of family planning methods: Women with more than a secondary level of education were almost three times more likely to use any method of family planning compared to those with no education.
- Improved nutritional status of children: Children born to mothers with no education were more likely to be stunted, with 22 percent affected, compared to 9% of children born to mothers with more than a secondary education.
- Declined infant and under-five mortality rate: The education of the mother plays a vital role in enhancing the survival status of children, as seen in the decline of Infant and Under-five mortality rates from 52 and 74 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2009 to 32 and 41 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022, respectively.
- Improved maternal health: Almost all live births to mothers with more than a secondary education were attended by a skilled attendant (99 percent), compared to 55 percent of births to mothers with no education. Consequently, the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) decreased from 362 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014 to 355 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019.
- I conclude by calling upon all of us present in this session to come up with effective strategies and measures to accelerate the realization of this year’s theme on “Population, Education and Sustainable Development” taking into consideration national priorities, values and development aspirations.