Gov’t to increase school infrastructure at the Coast

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The Ministry of Education is contemplating several measures to ensure there are adequate classrooms to accommodate students transiting to secondary schools in the Coast region.

The Regional Deputy Director of Education Simon Wamae noted that the success of the Presidential directive on 100 per cent transition has seen sharp increase in students’ enrolment in both private and public secondary schools in the six counties of Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu.

Coast Region Deputy Director of Education Mr Simon Wamae (R) speaks to KNA reporter Galgalo Bocha (L) on the ongoing secondary school enrollment and a host of other programmes the Ministry of Education is undertaking in the region. Photo by Andrew Hinga

According to the Education Ministry data, there are 224,530 secondary school students and 863,964 pupils in primary schools across the region.

In an exclusive interview with the Kenya News Agency in his office at Uhuru na Kazi building, Mr Wamae said they have identified schools that required expansion of key infrastructure to address the ballooning enrolment.

“Through the Transitional Infrastructure Grant (TIG) and Maintenance Infrastructure Fund (MIF), we are improving the existing classrooms and building new ones to ensure there are enough classrooms to accommodate all students,” he said.

He said the number of enrolment was expected to increase steadily with transition of all the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) 2020 candidates to secondary schools.

Wamae further stated that the ministry would ensure those who missed out in the initial admission were placed in the national, county and sub counties schools.

“We have also talked to the Ministry of Interior and National Coordination through Chiefs to ensure every child has reported to Form One,” added the regional education boss.

He also revealed that as schools’ infrastructure are improved and new classrooms built, the Education Ministry has also come up with new strategies to help improve performances in public schools in the Coast region.

“Our main challenge as officers of the Education Ministry is to ensure that we improve the performance in the region, specifically in KCSE, which was not very good. In a county like Kwale, it did not have those good grades, which are very elusive in the Coast region. We are working out strategies on how to improve quality grades of C plus and above,” added Wamae.

He further stated that county and sub county education directors would work with key stakeholders in implementing some of the strategies, including mentorship programmes in primary and secondary schools.

“We are ensuring there are mentorship programmes in schools, where we form forums and invite locals, who did very well in schools and succeeded in different fields to talk to the students to find the value of working hard and ensuring that they succeed in their lives. Without education, the issue of poverty will continue,” he added.

He said the implementation of the mentorship programme has been put on hold due to the surge in Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are in the initial stage of coming up with the group of mentors that will be able to talk, not only to the students, but  also the community, so that whatever we are doing, will not be from us, but from them and therefore it will have more impact,” remarked Wamae.

The deputy director said the mentorship programme would also empower female students faced with challenges such as early marriage, especially in Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River and Lamu counties.

“We want to empower our girls to report to authorities any attempt to marry them off. We shall work with NGOs and CBOs to educate them on the dangers of early marriage. The guiding and counselling in schools will also be escalated,” he added.

Wamae appealed to donors and other philanthropists to construct rescue centers that would serve as safe haven to victims of early marriage in those four counties.

“We endeavour to work with Children Officers in the rescue of any students who would be married off and other State agencies responsible in the enforcement of law and order,” he said.

By Galgalo Bocha

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