Language, Gender and Educational Disparities among Pastoralist Women in Kenya: An Examination of ODL Intervention

Kamunyu, Mary
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Educational opportunities for pastoralists are dire, particularly for women and girls in Kenya. In some remote areas schools are still virtually unknown. Gender gap, linguistic, socio-cultural and economic hurdles have narrowed educational opportunities for pastoralist women. There is a need to craft educational policy choices and alternative models that can be responsive to pastoralists’ needs and priorities. The objective of this study is to examine the relevance of ODL among Maasai pastoralist women that can enhance provision and participation in education. Secondly, examine the challenges faced in ODL provision by Maasai women. The study has surveyed two colleges in Narok County that offer ODL. Interviews and questionnaires have been employed on 60 female respondents. Data has been analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. The study has found that negative attitudes towards girls’ education among Maasai still persist. However, Maasai women have accessed education through ODL, though with a host of challenges. Maasai women said that ODL is a preferred option since they lack time to attend regular classes. Long distances to colleges and high cost associated with residential training make regular learning inaccessible. Challenges associated with ODL included: inadequate learning materials and language problems, narrow range of courses, low internet connectivity, frequent power blackouts, lack of clear understanding of distance education, lack of computing facilities as well as poor management of the course etc.The study concludes that the government has attempted to adapt pastoralists to services rather than services to pastoralists. The study recommends that the government should conduct civic education on ODL, expand computing resources for ODL, revise language and communication policy, increase scholarships and bursaries, and expand skills and infrastructure in ICT, well as lobby for increased budget for promotion of education among pastoralist women. // Paper ID: 334
Women and Girls' Education, Gender, Open and Distance Learning (ODL)