Lamu County Commissioner Macharia Irungu has revealed that the national government plans to officially re-open the five Schools in Boni forest, Lamu East that were closed for security reason four years ago.
This is in the wake of improved security to quash terror threats within the Boni which had rendered learning within the area impossible.
The five affected schools include Basuba, Milimani, Mararani, Mangai and Kiangwe that have remained closed since 2014 following guerrilla attacks by suspected Al-Shabaab militants.
Speaking to KNA in Lamu Friday , the county commissioner reiterated that it is in the county’s best interest that the national government ensures that the five schools re-open, in a bid to alleviate the suffering of students who have to live far or walk long distances to access the available schools for learning.
He noted that the affected pupils had been taken up in Mokowe Arid Boarding School and Kiunga day primary school both of which have posed challenges for the affected students and their parents.
“You find that the affected students who board in Mokowe arid are forced to stay away from their parents for a whole term due to logistical challenges and also Kiunga Day Primary is about 15 kilometres far from the villages where these children may be coming from,” Macharia said, adding that the inconvenience that it causes makes learning all the more difficult making the quality of education in the Boni area poor.
The county commissioner further maintained that the security situation within the Boni area has since improved, intimating that the Al Shabaab threat has been decimated with the KDF and NYS camps being set up in the area.
“The government is on top of security in the area, and it is unlikely that proscribed groups can dare launch attacks in the Boni area as was the case a few years ago,” Macharia observed.
He further stated that the national government is keen on ensuring the Boni area is vibrant for socio economic development, reasons being that the county will soon play host to the country’s second port.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Lamu County Education Director Joshua Kaaga who stated that there is an urgent need to have the schools re-opened in order to improve the quality of education in the county all around.
“ Education standards in Lamu are still suffering because there are certain areas where there is no learning going on, thus with government assurance that the Boni schools are now safe, there is little in the way to prevent the Teachers Service Commission from sending their teachers to the respective schools,” Kaaga said.
The county Teachers Service Commission Deputy Director Ali Hussein who also spoke to KNA intimated that the government is keen on redeploying teachers in the five affected Boni schools.
“We have had significant reports that the security situation in the Boni area has greatly improved due to the security agents’ efforts and presence in the area,” Hussein said.
Teachers who were in the region fled for fear of more terror attacks, with the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) insisting that they would only work there if their security was guaranteed.
By Amenya Ochieng