The Garissa Branch KNUT Executive Secretary, Abdirizak Hussein now claims that the ministry of education’s one hundred percent secondary school transition might not be achieved in the area.
Abdirizak said that the emerging security challenges where Al-Shabaab militants targeting non-local teachers is a sure way of crippling the education sector in the area.
According to the KNUT official, the killings of three non-local teachers at Kamuthe Primary School last week by Al-Shabaab militants that led to the withdrawal of non-local teachers from the four sub counties of Fafi, Ijara, Holugho and Dadaab is a big blow to the transition exercise.
Speaking on Wednesday to KNA on phone, Abdirizak said that as the deadline for admitting form ones first approaches, most parents were opting to transfer their children to schools within Garissa Township a situation he said will further congest the schools.
He said that even in the event the students end up joining the schools, the quality of education in the schools will be highly compromised.
“We performed dismally in last year’s KCSE with the main reason being lack of teachers that was largely brought by insecurity. With the withdrawal of non-local teachers who form the majority, then the situation would turn from bad to worse,” Abdirizak said.
“The 100 percent transition is a brilliant idea but with dwindling number of teachers. How do you expect these students to perform well?” he added.
Abdirizak said that the government should walk the talk and recruit more teachers, restore security in the four sub counties so that non-local teachers can go back and teach.
He said that the government should also avail enough funds on time to schools in the area, noting that most of the head teachers had difficulties in running the institutions for lack of funds.
“Most of the head teachers and principals have confided in me that they are admitting students not because they are able to sustain them but because they are following the directive from the ministry. Given a free hand they could not have admitted them,” he said.
According to a Principal from one of the local day’s schools in Garissa Sub County who requested anonymity, admitting students is one thing and sustaining them another.
“Yes we have admitted day scholars. He or she is supposed to cater for lunch and transport for those who come from far. This is the responsibility of the parents and most of them cannot afford. In this case who is supposed to foot the bill,” he posed.
“Another challenge is low marks at admission with some having as low as 100. Surely how do you transform such a child,” he added.
The problem has been further compounded by the withdrawal of non-local teachers coupled with poor infrastructure.
Reached for comment, the County Director of Education, Khalif Isack while acknowledging that the biggest problem was overcrowding in classes especially day schools, said a team from Nairobi was going round schools collecting data on infrastructural gap with a view of addressing the same.
Khalif said the issue of security of non-local teachers is also being addressed adding that the weekend’s leaders meeting is part of the wider strategy of restoring security in the area.
“We are equally concerned about the security of our teachers and that is why we immediately withdrew them from Fafi, Hulugho, parts of Ijara and Dadaan following the Kamuthe attack that saw three of them killed,” Khalif said.
The Garissa sub-county has a total of 28 schools; both boarding and day schools.
By Jacob Songok