, ISIOLO, Kenya, Sept 14 – Deputy President William Ruto has directed the provincial administration and security agencies to arrest and prosecute parents who failed to take their children to school.
The Deputy President expressed outrage over the high number of pupils who abandon schooling in arid and semi arid areas of the country despite the Government’s commitment to free primary and affordable secondary education.
Ruto particularly took issue with the manner in which 10,000 pupils in primary schools and another 1,000 pupils in secondary schools in Isiolo County have abandoned schools in the last five years and called for concerted efforts in reversing the trend.
He said the Children’s Act states that every child shall be entitled to education and directed the County Commissioners to ensure parents who failed to take their children to school in areas under their jurisdictions were arrested.
Speaking during a funds-drive in aid of Garbatula High School in Isiolo County on Saturday, the Deputy President demanded answers from the county government and education stakeholders from the area on why such a large number of pupils could abandon education and the plans they had to reverse the trend.
“Statistics in this Isiolo County show that there are 25,000 pupils down from 35,000 in primary schools and 2,200 pupils down from 3,200 in secondary schools in the last five years. This is a crisis that must be addressed,” said Ruto.
The Deputy President was accompanied by among others Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki, Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo), Fatuma Dulo (nominated) and Governor Godana Goyo (Isiolo).
Others were MPs Robert Duba (Moyale), Dido Rasso (Saku) , John Ndirangu (Embakasi), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Samal Lomwa (Isiolo North) and Banticha Abdullahi (Isiolo South) among others.
“As Government, we want answers from leaders, County Commissioner and the education stakeholders in this county on why this is happening here as far as education is concerned and what action they have taken to reverse this worrying trend,” said Ruto.
“If parents in this county do not want their children to go to schools, then how do they expect to benefit from the Government’s commitment to free primary and affordable secondary education? posed the Deputy President.
Saying educated citizens were a great resource a country could have, the Deputy President told leaders not only in Isiolo County but the country at large to show their seriousness in the development of education.
“I mean we cannot engage in anything else, when for example there are 10,000 pupils in primary and 1,000 in secondary schools are out of learning institutions. Hapana (no way),