The government will ensure that all public schools in the country have title deeds by end of this year.
The Lands Cabinet Secretary (CS), Farida Karoney speaking in Murang’a on Saturday said out of the approximately 33, 000 public schools in the country, only about 13, 000 learning institutions have already secured title deeds.
Karoney disclosed that the government was currently tallying all public learning institutions on matters related to land ownership, with a view to hastening issuance of ownership documents to those without any pending conflicts.
She admitted that some of the public learning institutions have land ownership wrangles with churches, communities and individuals.
And for institutions with pending land ownership cases in courts or those experiencing conflicts with other entities like churches, the CS said the matter will be solved urgently to allow such schools acquire title deeds.
“We are losing public land belonging to schools, police stations, hospitals among other government bodies to private developers. So we want to work with communities, churches among other stake holders to restore the stolen land to respective public entities,” said Karoney.
She pointed out that issuance of title deeds to schools will curtail increased encroachment of public land by greedy individuals.
Karoney said every public land was set out for a purpose and grabbing the property, ends up robbing the concerned institutions spaces to expand and the much needed opportunity to offer quality services.
“It’s important to safeguard public land so that our children have places to play and learn, while other institutions like hospitals and police stations have spaces for expansion.
“The rate in which some individuals are grabbing public land, means that by 30 years to come some schools will not have any play grounds for students,” said the CS during Murang’a Catholic Diocese Education Day at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
The CS further divulged that title deeds for some schools are being kept by some individuals for selfish gains, but she cautioning those who have encroached on public utilities that their days were numbered.
“The ministry will strive to ensure all grabbed school land is returned. Already in some institutions learners have nowhere to do co-curricular activities which are very crucial for growth and nurturing of talents among the learners,” she added, during the occasion that was graced by the Murang’a Bishop, James Maria Wainaina.
Meanwhile, Karoney lauded the Catholic Church for heavily investing in education saying in most of their schools, discipline and good performance prevailed.
She urged the church to remain steadfast in safeguarding school property so as to ward off unscrupulous persons, out to take away what’s is meant to facilitate friendly learning environment for Kenyan children.
On his part, Bishop Wainaina condemned individuals who want to possess pieces of land belonging to schools, saying sheer greed should not be allowed to deny young people chances to acquire education and nurture their talents.
“People should learn to be contented with little they have and the widespread habit of stealing from the public should stop. Grabbing of public land is a big shame,” added the Bishop.
By Bernard Munyao