The issue of girls’ secondary school education has become a real concern in all nations of the world especially the developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya included. Girls’ education worldwide provides benefits to the family, the girl and the society at large, thus issues affecting it should be addressed to avoid affecting the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on universal education and gender equality. This study was designed to investigate the effects of selected factors on girls’ enrolment and academic performance in secondary schools in Kericho West Sub-County. Ex-post facto research design was employed. The populations of the study respondents were 23 principals, 23 teacher counselors and 2570 girls in 2 girls’ schools and 21 mixed secondary schools in the Sub-County, making a total of 2616. The accessible population was 1845 girls, 11 Principals and 11 Teacher Counselors from the 11 randomly selected schools. Out of 1845 girls, 314 were proportionately sampled, while 11 Principals and 11 Teacher Counselors were purposively selected, thus making a total sample of 336 respondents. Questionnaires were formulated for girls in the sampled schools while interview schedules were prepared for the principals and teacher counselors. Validity of the instruments was measured in relation to the set objectives and reliability established by piloting in three schools. Cronbach’s alpha method was used to determine the reliability of the instruments which attained a reliability coefficient of 0.7. Descriptive statistics, involving frequencies and percentages, were used to analyze the data collected. Data analysis was done with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18 for windows. The study established that inadequate guidance and counseling was the major factor affecting girls’ academic performance, while early marriage mainly affected enrolment. Teenage pregnancy and poverty also affected girls’ enrolment and academic performance in Kericho West Sub-County. It is recommended that guidance and counseling be provided not only for the girls but be extended to their parents who are the decisive factors in the payment of school fees. The study would provide a policy framework for the Ministry of Gender and Youth Affairs and Ministry of Education on how to deal with factors affecting girls’ enrolment and academic performance in order to enable girls to compete favorably with boys and also for them to contribute positively to the development of the country.

Background of the Study
Girl-child education worldwide especially at the secondary school level provides benefits to the family, the girl and the society at large (UNESCO, 2006). Education influences a girl's chance of paid employment, age at marriage, control over child bearing, exercise of legal and political rights and the ability to care for herself and her children. Research evidence shows that education of women and girls enables them to better manage their households, to apply improved nutritional practices and to maintain proper hygiene and effectively utilize a wide range of available services including family planning among others (UNESCO, 1996). Education is a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes that begins at birth and ends at death (Ngeno, 2003). According to the Totally Integrated Quality Education and Training (TIQET) Reported (1999), educations involves a deliberate, systematic and sustained effort to acquire knowledge, attitudes, values, skills as well as any other outcome of that effort that shapes the development of an individual. According to UNESCO (2006), education is a basic human and fundamental right for every person, a key to offer human rights, the heart of all development, and the prerequisite of equity, diversity and lasting peace as recognized by world education in April 2000.

In addition to the mentioned benefits, it is globally recognized that education is a fundamental human right which should be provided to all without discrimination, as the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Article 2(1) states that every person has a right to education (Mohanty, 2002; Mammah, 2003). The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), formulated in 1989 claims the right to equal education for all girls and boys (Pandey, 2004). It recognizes every child's right to survival, to develop physically, mentally and socially to his or her fullest potential, to express his or her opinion freely and to participate in decisions affecting his or her future (United Nations, 1997). The Children's Act which became operational in Kenya in the year 2001, states that, it is the right of each child to receive education irrespective of his or her background (Kapiyo & Muma, 2003). The Kenya National Development Plan (1997-2001) clearly states that every Kenyan has the inalienable right, no matter his or her social- economic status to basic education (GoK, 1997).

In 1990, the World Conference on Education for All (EFA) which took place in Jomtiem Thailand, declared among others that every person shall be able to benefit from education opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs (Mammah, 2003). Participants recognized that girls and women constituted the majority of the unschooled in almost every region of the world, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia (Smock, 2002; Pandey, 2004).The participants made a global commitment at Jomtiem to ensure access to, and improve the quality of education for girls and women and to remove every obstacle that hamper their active participation (Pandey, 2004). According to a World Bank Report (2007), the target of MDG number 3 is the elimination of gender disparities in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005 and at all levels of education not later than the year 2015.

In spite of the global concern, the literacy rate of the World’s Women (72.2%) is significantly lower than that of men (86.6%). Nearly two thirds of the worlds illiterate adults are women (565 million), most of whom live in Africa, Asia and Latin America (World Education Report 1995). Out of the 300 million children without access to education, 200 million are girls (Merof, 2004). UNESCO estimates that, of the 137 million illiterate youths in the world, 63% were female (UNESCO, EFA, 2005). Girls are less likely than boys to complete the first schooling cycle particularly in South Asia where the Primary completion rate is estimated at 90% for boys and 83% for girls. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the primary school completion rate is 67% for boys and 57% for girls (World Bank, 2007).

According to Pandey (2004), the disadvantaged position of girls within the education sector is revealed through limited access, lower rates of representation at particular levels, low rates of completion and performance. Pandey (2004) asserts that without education of comparable qualities with that given to boys, girls are unable to access well paid jobs, advance within them and gain political influence. According to World Bank (2007), factors that hinder girls' participation, retention and achievement worldwide include; high cost of education, inappropriate curriculum, poor school facilities, lack of boarding schools and sexual harassment by boys and male teachers.

The low enrolment of girls in secondary schools in various countries is seen in a United Nations (UN) study carried out between 2003-2008 in secondary schools in Yemen, Iraq, India, Turkey, Netherlands, and Korea, U.S.A., Sub-Saharan Africa and Spain where the percentage of boys attending school was higher than that of girls. The results are shown in Table 1....

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 56 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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