On Friday principal secretaries Peter Tum (Labour) and Jerome Ochieng (ICT) toured private and public schools in Turkana county to emphasize on the need for all students to report to school in what has been dubbed, ‘operation back to school.’
As at yesterday, an average of 60 percent of students had reported to schools in the county which was termed as too low by the two PSs. Interestingly even private schools had reported similar low figures while it was expected that they would have recorded a near 100 percent.
The PSs said national government administration officers will ensure that even students who do not hail from the county are contacted and taken back to school.
For instance, at Lodwar boys high school where students hail from as far as Lamu, area county commissioner Muthama Wambua said he will liaise with his counterparts across the country and ensure those students are brought to school.
Tum said the government was not discriminating against private schools saying all students have a right to education and parents whose children studied in private schools had a responsibility to ensure they too report resume learning. “There are no private children, all children have a right to education,” he added.
The two toured Nagis secondary school and Nadapal primary school in Loima sub county. They also visited Al- Noor academy, Comboni girls high school and Lodwar boys high school in Turkana central sub county.
On his part, Ochieng said the president had directed PSs and CSs to ensure that the 100 percent transition rate from primary to secondary schools achieved is maintained. He said it was the responsibility of everyone to ensure this objective is achieved.
At the same time, Ochien’g said parents must not use lack of school fees as an excuse for not taking their children to school. “We understand that schools must operate, parents need to engage head teachers on how they will be able to pay fees while the students are in school,” he added.
Among the reason cited for low turnout in schools was the culture of students reporting late even without genuine reasons and the wait and see approach adopted by some parents in the wake of Covid 19 pandemic. “Some parents want to see whether those who report to school in the first week will be infected by the virus before they decide whether or not to take their children to school,” said Nagis head teacher Wilson Lesit.
Meanwhile, a number of students were reported to have been impregnated after the schools were closed last year due to covid-19 pandemic. The head teachers are however allowing the young mothers especially form four candidates to resume learning.
The County commissioner vowed to deal with adults who impregnate school going children in the area and directed chiefs to ensure anyone found culpable faces the full force of the law.
By Peter Gitonga