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NorthEastern leaders threaten to block exams

EXAMS-SILENCENAIROBI, Kenya, July 15 – North Eastern leaders have threatened to move to court to block students from sitting national examinations if the education crisis in the region is not addressed.

Nominated Senator Halima Abdile who is also the vice chairperson of the Senate Education committee says the leaders were concerned over the fate of the students who have not had adequate learning since Al Shabaab attacks targeting teachers from other parts of the country.

She was speaking as the committee addressed journalists after the cancellation of a scheduled meeting with Interior and Education Cabinet Secretaries over the matter.

“As North Eastern leaders we are taking this issue seriously. We understand that the students have the same rights and the Constitution has defended it. I will request the two CSs to respect the law and if they fail, we will go to court to block other students from sitting for the National exams,” said Halima.

Senate Education committee Chairman Daniel Karaba expressed his disappointment in the move by the CSs to snub the meeting accusing them of failing to consider the plight of the students whose future was uncertain.

“The Speaker had set this day as the day we meet the Ministers, and communication was made and were here on time. We hope to call this meeting at a later because these matters are urgent,” said Karaba.

The Kirinyaga acknowledged the fact that the education Ministry sent a representative but was angered by the fact that the Security docket did not bother to inform them of whether they would come.

“I am a very annoyed person, but we are going to summon them again,” he added.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro had urged Senators to attend the meeting as a committee of the whole house so as to give their input and most showed up.

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Nominated Senator Agnes Zani, a member of the education committee said it was unfair that students from other regions were learning while those in areas that have witnessed frequent attacks were not yet they sit for the same exam.

“We wanted to find out from them what challenges they were undergoing in trying to get the teachers to resume work, the security challenge, the cost implication and how we could hasten the process of resolving the standoff, ” said Zani.

Following the bus and quarry attacks in Mandera which left 67 killed, teachers who were the most casualties in bus attacks vowed never to go back to Northern Kenya decrying the security situation.

They said they had lost confidence in the government’s resolve to beef up security in the region as four months later 148 people were killed in the Garissa College terror attack.

Since the April attack, several other attacks have occurred and fewer teachers have resumed work, forcing the Teachers Service Commission to recruit others.

By late may this year, 95 schools had been closed in Garissa, Mandera and Wajir counties as a result of insecurity in the region with many schools forced to drop certain subjects due to lack of trained teachers.

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