Roles of Stakeholders in the Implementation of Re-Entry Policy Guidelines on Adolescent Mothers in Secondary Schools: Case of Machakos County-Kenya.
Muthikwa, Christine M.
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The government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education developed the Re-entry policy on Adolescent mothers in 1994. The policy allowed adolescent mothers to go back to school after delivery. It was intended to reduce pregnancy-related school dropout rates amongst girls. This study sought to examine the roles that stakeholders were playing in implementing the Government Re- entry policy guidelines on adolescent mothers in secondary schools in Kathiani Sub- County, Machakos County. The specific objectives of the study were: to establish the numbers of adolescent mothers who dropped out of school between 2014 and 2017; to examine the roles of stakeholders in implementing the Re-entry policy guidelines; to determine the gaps in the re-entry policy guidelines. Finally, this study suggested strategies that could be used to implement the re-entry policy guidelines. The proposed theoretical framework for the study was the Ecological Systems Theory by Bronfenbrenner (1979) which looks at a child‟s development within the context of the systems of relationships. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The target population was the 28 mixed day secondary and the 4 girls‟ boarding secondary schools in the Sub-County making a total of 32 secondary schools. Additionally, Principals in these 32 secondary schools, teacher counselors, form 4 class teachers, adolescent mothers in these schools, adolescent mothers out of school, parents of adolescent mothers and the Ministry of Education (MOE) officials were targeted by this study. Random sampling technique was used to sample 14 mixed secondary schools (50%) and 2 girls‟ secondary schools (50%) making a total of 16 secondary schools. All the 16 principals, 16 counselors, 16 Form 4 class teachers were involved in the study so they were purposively sampled. Purposive sampling technique was also used to sample 1 MOE official, 15 adolescent mothers in school and 10 parents of adolescent mothers. 10 adolescent mothers out of school were sampled using purposive and snow ball sampling techniques. The sample size for this study was 84 respondents. Data collection instruments included structured questionnaires and interview guides. Qualitative data was organized in thematic categories according to the study objectives and then analyzed thematically. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Adolescent mothers were the main beneficiaries of this study since they are the main targets of the Re-entry policy. Besides the adolescent mothers, the findings from this study were expected to be useful to policy makers in the field of gender and education, policy implementing agents who are referred to as stakeholders in this study, school principals, teachers, parents, and the community in Kathiani Sub County and other areas. The study established that between 2014 and 2017, an average of 65 girls dropped out of secondary school annually in Kathiani Sub County as a result of adolescent pregnancy. Stakeholders were not adequately carrying out their roles in the implementation of the re-entry policy guidelines. However, teacher counselors played a key role in helping adolescent mothers to cope despite the fact that they lacked relevant skills needed to handle issues of adolescent sexuality. The policy guidelines lacked clarity on some important matters which affected the implementation process negatively. The study recommends the following: the Ministry of Education should regularly monitor the implementation process of the Re-entry policy so as to reduce pregnancy-related school dropouts among girls; all stakeholders should actively participate in playing their roles in the implementation of the Re-entry policy guidelines; the Re-entry policy guidelines should be reviewed to make them more clear and specific and the best strategies should be used in the implementation of the Re-entry policy for better results.