Baringo County has resumed a mop-up exercise targeting more than 35,000 school going children who have dropped out due to various reasons.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting at the Kenya School of Government (KSG), Baringo Campus, area County Commissioner, Henry Wafula, said the exercise targets children from regions facing challenges posed by drought, floods, insecurity and retrogressive cultural practices such as early marriages, child labour and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Wafula said that his office will team up with stakeholders to ensure that all the school going children returned to their respective institutions of leaning so that they can continue with their education.
“We are going to mobilize our grassroots network where we shall involve all our village elders, both the Sub-County and Ward Administrators as well as other education stakeholders to ensure that all dropouts are identified and taken back to their respective schools,” Wafula said.
The County Commissioner who presided over the event with the theme “Leave No Child Behind/ Come Twende Shule,” noted that the region has been faced with its fair share of problems but added authorities will not just sit down and see most of the children missing out on education which is key in their development.
He noted that already some of the schools within insecurity prone areas such as Kapindasum Primary School, have been provided security personnel who guard and protect the children and teachers round the clock to ensure learning goes on uninterrupted.
Wafula called for more support from the County Government and Non-Governmental organizations in order to assist in food distribution to the affected institutions, thus curbing absenteeism by children from families crippled by high poverty levels.
County Executive Committee (CEC) for Education, Dr David Sergon, in a rejoinder, acknowledged that the issue of high dropouts of school going children is a matter that requires multisectoral approach from both levels of government and the political class.
Dr Sergon called for concerted efforts to ensure that the 1,045 ECDE Centres in the County with a child population of 39,000 is fully supported in order to encourage communities to embrace education of their children at a tender age which in turn limits absenteeism and dropout cases.
The Education CEC pointed out that retrogressive practices were being perpetuated by even the elites in areas like Mogotio adding that there is need for an alternative rite of passage to replace the harmful one.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) County Director, James Nyakweba, urged the stakeholders to join hands in ensuring that all children in the area are back in school.
He said that once the learners are assisted to get back to school, they will transform the society in the future.
United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) Chief of Field Office, Lodwar Zone, Rotuno Kipsang, said that from the survey conducted in 2021 by National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NAKONEK), 16,030 girls are out of school in the County and five per cent are out due to disability challenges.
“We have a chance to turn this around by getting children back into a protective environment of schools,” Kipsang said.
Kipsang stated that UNICEF has received Sh31 million from Qatar Government to implement an Out of School Children programme in three Sub-Counties of Tiaty East, Tiaty West and Marigat, which has 6,269 of the dropout cases.
By Benson Kelio and Jebichii Chepkwony