1.1 Introduction

Education offers an opportunity for people to realize their fundamental human rights. It is an important vehicle for addressing inequality and marginalization, hence promoting social and economic equality. The social pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030 positions education and training as essential vehicles for the country’s attainment of middle-income status. The Basic Education Curriculum seeks to promote ethical values, equity, diversity, equality of opportunities and excellence for all children. This is in line with the aspirations of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Kenya Vision 2030, the Basic Education Act (2013) and Sustainable Development Goal number 4 (SDG 4) Sessional Paper No.1 of 2019 and the National Education Sector Strategic Plan (NESSP) 2018-2022. Further, the government
operationalized Free Primary Education (FPE 2003) and Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE 2008) to enhance access to quality education and to improve school retention and completion rates. These interventions have had a significant impact on increasing school enrollment rates, improving gender parity, and enhancing educational opportunities for boys and girls in the country. Despite these achievements, issues pertaining to access, retention, transition, performance and completion of education for all eligible children remain a challenge. Although the number of learners enrolled in school has increased over the years, school dropout rates have significantly increased, especially in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), low-income areas and pockets of poverty. Some of the factors that predispose learners to dropping out of school include early pregnancy, inhibitive cultural practices such as child marriages and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), unmet special needs for the gifted and those with disabilities, HIV and AIDS, drugs and substance abuse, bullying and Gender Based Violence (GBV). Other factors include corporal punishment, forced repetition of classes, child labour, human and natural disasters, indiscipline, persistent poor performance, peer pressure, lack of parental involvement and recruitment into violent extremism.

School dropout wastes human and financial resources, hence impeding the country’s socio-economic and political development. To address these issues, school re-entry guidelines for learners who drop out of school at different levels of basic education are necessary. The school re-entry guidelines are organized into four chapters. Chapter one
discusses the background, rationale, legal and policy context. Chapter two outlines the goal, objectives, target groups, scope and the guiding principles of the guideline. Chapter three provides guidelines for implementation of the school re-entry guidelines by thematic areas (early pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, gender based violence, inhibitive cultural practices, child labour and trafficking, drug and substance abuse, mental health and education in emergencies). Chapter four outlines the implementation framework, including reporting mechanisms.