Residents of Kitengela town, Kajiado County have called on the government to put up more public schools in the area.
The town, which has a population of 154,436 people, has only four public primary schools located in the area all of which are full to their capacity.
The four namely; Utumishi Primary, G.K Prisons, Magereza, and the newly commissioned Dr. Likimani primary school can’t satisfy the thirst for knowledge in the area leading to a mushrooming of private schools which charge exorbitant fees making them unaffordable.
Rachel Wanjiru, a resident in the area laments her struggles trying to place her children in schools in the area.
“It’s a challenge finding a public school in the area. Either they are too far from where you live and the fare is expensive to get the child to school or they are filled to capacity,” she said.
In a bid to ensure that their children attend school, some residents in the area have been forced to take their children to the neighbouring Machakos County.
Thomas Kyalo is one such resident “I have been forced to take my child to Athi River Primary school as the public schools here are either too far or full. The government recently commissioned Dr. Likimani primary school which offers CBC curriculum and within a day it was full!” he said.
Eva Makoa, a parent at G.K Prisons primary school which is far from the residential area of the town urged the government to establish a school near the town center, as many parents can’t afford private schools in the area.
”It’s quite sad seeing children stay at home when others are in school due to lack of school fees given the tough economic times and public schools being too far from where many residents live. As a parent, I am lucky that I can afford to pay sh100 per day for boda boda ride to school. Other parents would rather spend such an amount on more basic needs.” she said.
Even stakeholders from private schools in the area have called on the government to build more schools in the area.
According to a preliminary assessment of the report by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) which covers Sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that 1.8 million Kenyan children aged between six and 18 who are supposed to be in school, have either dropped out or never been in school at all despite the free primary and subsidized secondary education policy.
By Vivian Mbinya