, TURKANA, Kenya, Aug 24 – One out of ten children in Kenyan Primary Schools are completing without having acquired the basic competencies expected of a child completing class two according to 2016 study by Uwezo East Africa.
Primary education in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands remains appallingly low with a child in an ASAL county three times more likely to be out of school compared to their counterparts across the country.
Nanyangakippi Primary School which is fifty kilometers from Lodwar town is one school that targets to tout education as the most important factor for achieving sustainable development and used as an important means for changing attitudes and behaviors.
With a population of 401 pupils’ currently five government teachers, two volunteers and three subordinate staff, the school has been able to realize but a fraction of achievement to provide standard education to the immediate community.
Headmaster Martin Mabele has been working at the learning institution for the past eight years states that many are the challenges facing the education sector in the region.
They include early marriages, severe prolonged droughts, untimely migrations, lack of sufficient clean water, under staffing hence the poor performance, girl child negligence, lack of health facility near the school.
“Of the 401 students at least 116 have dropped out of school. When most students reach the upper classes i.e. six, seven and eight they drop out due to the challenges mentioned.”
There are students too who walk as far as fifteen kilometers, this deters them from making the daily walks to school,” noted Mabele.
Mabele also called for the increase in the number of teachers.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) County director in Turkana, James Nyakweba seconded Mabele’s request affirming that indeed the county does lack sufficient number of teachers.
He assured that measures are being put in place to fill the gap.
Currently there are 1,701 teachers who teach in the 405 public primary schools in the county. The shortage of teachers amounts to 1, 537.
“The commission is addressing the issues of teachers through regular replacements done through recruitment’s on a monthly basis,” said Nyakweba, “Where low numbers of teachers have been recorded; we carry out staff balancing which is done annually.
The challenges that teachers face in Turkana are many. They include the hostile terrain, housing, weather, and transport among others.
“Turkana is an expansive county and so are the challenges there in. A clear example is the housing for teachers in Nanyangakippi Primary School; they live in manyattas built by the community for purposes of accommodating the teachers.
School attendance in Turkana Central is quite low according to TSC county director Nyakweba adding that they are working towards improving retention of pupils in schools.
Trustee, Safaricom Foundation Steve Okeyo noted that “Primary education in the Arid and Semi-Arid lands remains appallingly low with a child in a county from these regions three times more likely to be out of school compared to their counterparts across the country.”
Okeyo was speaking during the launch of a Kshs 64 million education programme funded by Safaricom foundation in partnership with ZiziAfrique Foundation.
The funds are set to benefit three counties i.e. Turkana, Bungoma and Turkana.
“Present during the launch, CEO, National Council for Nomadic Education Kenya Harun Yusuf said, “The Accelerated Learning program is designed to mediate the lack of literacy and numeracy competencies.”
Turkana Central Deputy County Commissioner Alexander Mativo also stated that they will be making use of the Nyumba Kumi initiative to ensure that children go to school.
The administrator decried the high number of children who have attained school going age in the region but were still in their homes tending livestock.
He warned parents who do not take their children to school of arrest saying he would use the nyumba kumi initiative to ensure all children accessed education.
“Parents have no excuse of not taking their children to school since we are enjoying peace in most parts of Turkana central sub county. Those found to be going against the law will be arrested.”
The Accelerated Learning Programme will run for a period of one year in Turkana, Bungoma and Tana River Counties and will focus on improving competencies in reading and mathematics.