Our work on the Kenya Financial Diaries made it painfully clear to us that school fees are incredibly expensive for low income families. The lowest end public schools often ask about KSh 20,000 per year for a single student, when rural household incomes often average around KSh 6,000 per month.
As we trudged through Kivani Secondary School’s third term student attendance records, one absenteeism after another greeted us. Per our analysis in preparation for Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with selected parents and guardians at the school, the average student missed about 13% of class time. I didn’t give it much thought then.