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Mandera education sector in a quagmire

Leaders from Mandera County have described an advisory by Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki that Education Cabinet Secretary Ms Amina Mohammed does not have powers to decree over the entry points for teacher training colleges as an affront to the development of education in the area.

The advisory, the leaders say was inimical to the future of the education sector in Mandera county since the area still performs poorly in national exams due to years of marginalization and insecurity.

The leaders say, the AG’s advisory has put Ms Amina’s intention to build the capacity of indigenous teachers in limbo after non resident teachers working in the area left en-masse after their colleagues were killed by suspected al-shabaab terrorists in the past two years.

Recently Attorney General Justice Kihara Kariuki told Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed that she has no powers to decree that entry grades into teacher-training colleges be lowered for applicants from marginal counties to D+.

Before the AG’s advisory, CS Amina had ordered in November that the entry grades for diploma courses be lowered from KCSE mean grade C+ to C- and those for certificates from C to D+.

The CS ordered the grades be lowered for students from marginalized counties and backdated the order to cover candidates who sat the KCSE since 2006.

Amina decreed that the targeted counties include Turkana, Samburu, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Lamu, Baringo, Narok, Kajiado, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Tana River and West Pokot.

Mandera leaders led by deputy governor Mohammed Arai reacted angrily to the reversal order by the AG and demanded an explanation from the Teachers’ Service Commission.

Mr. Arai, threatened to petition the government through the TSC for declining to adhere to the order by the CS.

The Deputy Governor who spoke in Mandera town noted that the region’s education sector has suffered a lot leading to poor performance in national examinations.

“We won’t relent on petitioning TSC and the AG who we believe are undermining our efforts to provide education to our children”, he said.

Mandera schools are seriously understaffed after the mass exodus of non local tutors following the Al Shabaab killing of 28 of their colleagues traveling for Christmas holiday in November 2014.

Earlier efforts by the county leaders to resolve the mess and to engage the Ministry of Education in getting a long lasting solution of fixing the teacher shortage have borne no fruits though.

It was expected the directive by the CS would allow all students with the KCSE grade of D+ to enroll into the teacher training colleges to make up for the vacancies left by the non-local teachers who fled the region due to insecurity.
By Dickson Githaiga

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