Kenya joined the rest of the world to mark the International Children’s Day on Tuesday as senior policy makers reaffirmed commitment to boost access to education and social safety nets for this vulnerable demographic.

Amina Mohamed, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Education, said that robust policies are in place to promote universal school enrollment among children as a means to catalyze economic growth and social renewal in the country.

“We have already unveiled requisite measures to ensure every child has access to compulsory basic education in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 and our own vision 2030 blue print,” said Mohamed.

The theme of this year’s International Children’s Day called upon governments to ensure all children are in school, are safe from harm and can fulfill their full potential.

Mohamed said Kenya has made targeted investments to ensure that empowerment of children is realized through life-long learning and access to critical services like health, shelter and proper nutrition.

“The government is paying particular attention to early childhood education to ensure it meets the physical and emotional needs of young ones. The ongoing curriculum reforms are geared towards boosting soft skills and cognitive abilities of children,” said Mohamed.

She noted that Kenya is on the verge of achieving universal primary school enrollment thanks to abolition of tuition fees and other incentives such as free meals and text books for young learners.

Mohamed noted that enactment of the children’s act has strengthened protection of young ones from physical and emotional abuse in the hands of parents, teachers and other caregivers.

“Besides enacting a strong legislative framework, the government has partnered with key stakeholders to raise awareness on threats to child survival including sexual abuse, harmful cultural practices like early marriages and female genital cut as well as conscription into criminal gangs,” said Mohamed.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said refugee school-age children in Africa are facing numerous challenges to access education.

Stefania Giannini, UNESCO assistant director-general for education said children’s right to education should be protected no matter where they are from, where they live and what legal paperwork they carry with them. Enditem

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