An evaluation of the role of Undugu Society of Kenya in providing education to street children: lessons for replication

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Wangenge, Gerald Ouma
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The street children phenomenon is a major human development problem that is experienced all over the world. A major cause of this phenomenon in Kenya is the lack of access to basic education or drop out due to poverty and the harsh effects of Structural Adjustment Pogrammes. To bridge the existing access gap in Kenya, a variety of non-formal education programmes have been started. Undugu Society of Kenya established by Fr. Arnold Grol in 1973 is arguably the most well established institution that endeavours to address the plight of street children through education (Non Formal Education) and training. However, it has not had a very noticeable impact on the magnitude of the problem. Potential for such impact seems to lie in the domain of collaboration with other non-governmental organizations and education providers. This study evaluated the role of Undugu Society of Kenya in providing education to street children with a view to highlighting lessons for replication by other groups wishing to establish similar projects, hence benefiting from Undugu's experiences, strengths and weaknesses. The Descriptive Survey Design was used in the study. The sample comprised of all the four Undugu Basic Education Programme Schools, Undugu Society of Kenya's Education and Training Coordinator, all the 30 teachers in the schools and 200 learners. The study employed purposive sampling technique in selecting the sample. Data to answer the research questions was collected mainly through questionnaires and interviews. Some of the findings made in this study include the fact that one of Undugu's major achievements is that it provides an alternative form of basic education to children who are not able to take part in the formal system. Taken as a whole, Undugu has had a total of 5152 learners since the inception of the Basic Education Programme, of whom 2270 (44.1%) have been girls and 2882 (55.9%) boys. All these learners were either school drop/push outs or never enrolled in school at all. To attain their mission, Undugu has employed 30 teachers, all of whom but one are trained. The Teachers' Service Commission has deployed ten of these teachers. To further improve the quality of education offered, Undugu provides quite a number of teaching-learning resources. For instance, once a learner has been admitted s/he is provided with eleven exercise books, a geometrical set, a ruler and a bag. Undugu Basic Education Programme Schools are situated right within the slums, so that the children are easily reached before becoming 'of the street'. The learners do not wear uniform and are provided with free food. Although the learners are provided with free food, the critical importance of education is not lost on them as 85.5% of them registered desire to get education. One other major finding is that Undugu Society of Kenya does not have a follow up programme for its former learners; hence it cannot effectively assess how the learners perform in life after leaving Undugu. This coupled with the fact that Undugu does not help their learners find employment is likely to make Undugu's achievements vulnerable and unstable since the learners are prone to relapsing back to street life. Like any other educational enterprise, Undugu Basic Education Programme is faced with quite a number of problems including low morale on the part of teachers, inadequate teaching-learning resources, insecurity for both the teachers and learners, and a general dissatisfaction with management by teachers. In view of the findings of the study, the researcher recommends that more research be done in the area of street children pedagogy, non-formal education curriculum, and competencies for street children teachers and management of non-formal education programme
Department of Educational Management Policy and Curriculum Studies, 101p. The HV 873.W3 2003
Street children--Kenya, Street children--Education--Kenya, Undugu society--Chairties, Human services--Kenya