Kenya News

Media Reporting on Terror Fuels School Dropout – Report


A recent study conducted by the Journal of the European Economic Association showed that the number of students enrolling in school dropped in Kenya because of the sensational terror media coverage.

Additionally, those enrolled in schools are also at times forced to drop out because of fear.

From the report, homes with access to media outlets were more affected since the parents felt their children would die in terror attacks.

Primary school students going to school

Primary school students going to school.

File

Despite the terror attacks not being directly targeted at schools, they greatly decreased school enrolment by about 0.5 per cent.

Consequently, the report detailed the long-term effects of a lack of a good education like unemployment and involvement in criminal gangs.

“We estimate that for the average affected learner, this will lower lifetime earning potential by around 25 per cent of a year’s income,” read part of the report.

According to the report, the loss in earnings will affect the country’s broader economic development.

Referring to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statics (KNBS) the report noted that about half of the 70,000 learners who did not attend school in 2014 were influenced by the over-response fuelled by media reporting.

The report also used data on media content from the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone (GDELT).

However, the report was aimed at cautioning the media against sensationalism when reporting on terror attacks.

Notably, the study observed the primary school enrolment trend in Kenya between 2001 and 2014.

In September 2013, at least 60 people died when Al Shabaab militants attacked the Westgate Mall while others were severely injured.

It was reported that about four young men, armed with automatic riffles and grenades and attacked the shopping that is usually packed.

Journalists docked at a media center while covering an event.

Journalists docked at a media centre while covering an event.

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