The National Government has embarked on an ambitious mop up program to help expedite the process of issuing birth certificates to school going children in Machakos County.
Under the process being spearheaded by the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government in conjunction with Education, ICT and Health ministries, the government hopes to reach out 66,700 learners in Primary schools within the county by January next year.
According to the Ministry of Education, at least 3,463,719 children in primary schools do not have birth certificates across the country.
Another 68,265 students in Secondary schools also lack the crucial documents in the 47 counties.
While addressing the County Operations Committee which has been mandated to fast track the process in her office on Thursday, the Machakos County Commissioner (CC), Esther Maina has called for concerted efforts to help attain the target of ensuring no child is admitted to school without a birth certificate come next year.
She noted that with the roll out of a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) by the government, every effort must be taken to ensure no child is admitted in school without being registered with the Department of Civil Registration Services.
“This is a mop up operation meant to expedite the process of issuing birth certificates to all school going children. We intend to have attained our goal of reaching out to all the 66,700 children in our schools hopefully by January next year,” she said.
Besides ensuring that all school going children acquire the certificate, the move will also assist the government capture all the pupils in the county through the online registration platform known as the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS).
The NEMIS portal is a web based data management platform which tracks performance mobility of learners and teaching staff to ensure efficiency and effective utilization of education resources.
Douglas Masinde, the County Director for Civil Registration Services in Machakos requested the inclusion of head teachers in the exercise to help speed up the process.
“We need to employ the help of head teachers to help identify those pupils who do not have birth certificates in respective schools. Thereafter the teachers should liaise with chiefs and the parents of the children and forward this list to our offices for us to follow up on the matter from our side,” he said.
On December 4, this year Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i said the Government would not extend the deadline for applying for old birth certificates beyond the March 31 deadline.
Dr. Matiang’i who was in Machakos after visiting the Department of Civil Registration offices in Machakos, said the government would not extend the deadline and those who have not acquired the documents should therefore take advantage of the window period to obtain them.
The CS who was accompanied by Machakos County Commissioner (CC), Esther Maina alongside area security team members said the move to retain the deadline is to help migrate the processing of government records from the traditional manual system into the digital format.
“We want to clean our old system and move to the modern digital format starting from April 1 next year. Consequently, let those who have not acquired their birth certificates do so by March 31 as we shall not allow any late registration beyond that,” he maintained.
He also called upon the local staff to work closely with the office of the CC to help expedite the issuance of the processed certificates to the public by announcing through public barazas before the end of this year.
On his part, Masinde requested the CS to allocate additional staff in the area to help deal with the large number of applicants visiting the office on a daily basis.
Masinde noted that with the rising number of people applying for both birth and death certificates, it was prudent to address staffing needs in the county which currently has only nine employees.
Dr. Matiang’i promised to look into the matter but advised the office to liaise with County Security team under the chair of the County Commissioner to look for ways of solving the challenge.
By Samuel Maina