The on-going drought in Kajiado County has negatively affected the transition of Grade-six learners to Junior Secondary Schools (JSS).
Only 85 per cent of learners have reported to JSS with many pupils yet to join due to lack of school fees.
Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku noted that pastoralists have lost thousands of livestock, their main source of income, to the prolonged drought thus are unable to pay fees or provide food for their families.
Speaking in Kajiado after attending a County Education Board Meeting, Lenku appealed to head teachers not to send any learner back home for lack of fees or textbooks until the prevailing drought situation stabilizes.
“The drought has affected the transition of learners to JSS since parents are unable to pay school fees. All learners in JSS should be allowed in school unconditionally. Mop up of learners still at home is on-going,” he said.
The Governor further noted that there was a shortage of teachers in Junior Secondary Schools and called on head teachers to identify qualified teachers in the primary school section to assist in teaching the JSS learners.
He added that the County Government would prioritize the provision of food and water to all public schools to ensure that pupils attend and remain in school.
Lenku also revealed that he would implore upon the County Assembly to consider redirecting budgetary resources towards drought mitigation with a special focus on the education sector to help mitigate the situation.
A spot check by KNA revealed that learning in public Junior Secondary Schools in rural areas is yet to fully take off with schools in urban areas facing challenges such as shortage of teachers, lack of capitation and overstretched facilities.
At Olkejuado Boarding Primary School, there are only three JSS teachers with over 240 learners. The facilities are overstretched with pupils forced to share available books, desks and beds.
The same situation is replicated at Moipei and Saina Primary School. However, at Ilmarba Primary School which is located in a remote area, only 14 learners have reported to JSS.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Thursday announced that the transition rate to Junior Secondary School in the country was at 96 per cent. The CS also noted that Form-one enrolment was at 91 percent across the country as of Wednesday, March 1.
Machogu appealed to chiefs and their assistants to collaborate with the sub-county and county education officers to mop up learners who have not yet enrolled in Grade 7 or Form One.
He asked teachers to allow students who cannot afford new uniforms to remain in school with their old (Grade 6 or Class 8) uniforms until their parents can afford the required set.
On capitation, the CS said the government had planned for Sh15,042 capitation per student and dispatched textbooks to all JSS institutions in the country.
“The government has agreed on a capitation of Sh15,042 per pupil. The money will be disbursed any time now because what we were waiting for is the exact figure and enrollment per school,” said Machogu.
By Rop Janet