Influence of Khat (Miraa) on Primary School Dropout Among Boys in Meru County, Kenya
Njeru, Lucy K.
Mwangi, John Gowland
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Despite introduction of Kenya’s Free Primary Education in2003 to achieve Universal Primary Education (MDG2), primary school boys’ enrolment in Kangetais declining while dropout rates are increasing. This study investigated the influence of Khat (Catha edulis) on the boys’ dropout rates. A cross-sectional design was used to collect data from 210 randomly selected dropouts and 10 primary school head teachers. Content validity of the teachers’ questionnaire and boys’ interview guide was ascertained by education experts, while reliability coefficients determined through a pilot test was 0.83αand 0.72αrespectively. Peer pressure, Khat chewing, and easy money from Khat trade forced boys to leave school. Khat was highly regarded, socially accepted, and promoted the local people’s economy and culture but was partly responsible for the boys’ dropout. About 62% of the dropouts regretted leaving school and would re-enroll if given a chance. About 89% ofthe money from Khat was spent on food rather than investment. Parents and education stakeholders should help pupils complete education by discouraging them from engaging in Khat. Those involved in Khat should be encouraged to invest part of their income.