Education stakeholders in Garissa county met at a local hotel Sunday to strategize on how best to address challenges facing the region ahead of the planned re-opening of schools.
The meeting that was sponsored by the board of management and parents’ association brought together political leaders and officials from Kenya Secondary Heads Association (KESHA) and Kenya Primary Schools Associations (KEPHA) came up with a memorandum that will be presented to the ministry of education and the TSC on staffing levels among other challenges.
Some of the recommendations that were arrived at and which were read by KESHA executive member Abdikarim Mohamed include immediate recruitment of untrained teachers to fill the gap left by the mass transfers of non-local teachers in March just before the schools were closed due to Coronavirus pandemic.
The action by TSC led to an uproar especially from the local leaders and parents who deemed the move as an infringement on the rights of children from the region.
Six months down the line, the same problem is yet to be resolved with no new teachers posted as replacement.
Other recommendations include employment of non-local teachers to be made on contract basis to avoid a repeat of the mass transfers and that qualified locals should be given priority in employment and subjects advertised according to needs of the schools.
Also, in the list was that the Ministry of Education should stop creation/registration of new schools until existing schools are well staffed because quality of education is comprised due to scattered teaching force.
They also recommended that the ministry pursues formation of a task force to look into crisis of education in Northern Eastern Kenya in the light of workable solution.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale lauded the teachers’ effort of coming up with recommendations which he noted ‘if implemented the problem of teachers’ crisis that has dogged the region for many years could be a thing of the past’.
“As a region we need to move away from constant lamentation and fully take control of the destiny of our children. We are the ones who should come up with solutions,” Duale said.
“It should start with encouraging our sons and daughters to take up teaching courses because truth be told our people are yet to embrace teaching as a noble profession,” he added.
Duale said to arrest the glaring gaps in the education in the county and safeguard the safety of the children requires synergy and total commitments from the entire leadership.
“The future of our children depends on our present effort,” he noted.
Garissa county KNUT executive secretary Abdirizack Hussein said that the political leadership has a bigger role to play ‘in not only encouraging the locals to take up teaching courses but also supporting them when they do so’.
“The leadership of Garissa both at the National and County level have the onus to stand up to the Education challenges in the county, transcend and provide solution to the perennial crisis in the education sector in the county by engaging the education stakeholders at the national level,” Abdirizak said.
Ijara MP Sophia Abdinoor said that the entire political leadership from Garissa county will refine the recommendations before presenting it to the education parliamentary committee.
We want the document to have the legal backing. Going to court will take time and may not resolve our problems,” Sophia said.
On his part, Dadaab MP Dr. Mohamed Dahiye said that the 7 legislators from Garissa together with area senator Yussuf Haji and women rep Anab Subow will jointly push as a team for an affirmative action to ensure that education in the region receive the necessary attention from the government
By Jacob Songok