Over 8000 pupils from Kajiado South sub-county are yet to report back, during the second week after schools re-opened following a nine-month break occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a report compiled by head teachers from schools in the area through the Ministry of Education, 6,777 pupils in primary schools and 1,398 students in secondary schools are yet to report to school.
Kajiado South Deputy County Commissioner, Lawrence Kinyua, while addressing an education stakeholders meeting in Loitokitok town Thursday, revealed that only 75 per cent of the learners had so far resumed school with many factors being cited for the poor turn-out.
Kinyua said girls were the most affected as a high number had dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancies and early marriages.
“Only 75 per cent of pupils have reported back to school since they re-opened two weeks ago following a nine-month break occasioned by the novel pandemic. Some 25 per cent of learners are yet to report to school with a majority of these being girls” said Kinyua.
The DCC further revealed that many learners have been engaged in income-generating activities such as hawking, casual labor, sand harvesting, boda boda business among others during the long holiday, thus dropping out of school.
Another reason cited for the low turn-out was that some parents had lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, hence could not afford to take their children back to school.
Others are reported to have kept their children away from schools due to fear of contracting the coronavirus, while some families migrated to other areas in search of water and pasture for their livestock together with the learners.
Kinyua emphasized that the government was committed to ensuring that no learner is left out and all chiefs and their assistants in collaboration with ‘Nyumba Kumi’ elders were going door to door in search of pupils who had not yet reported to school.
The administrator added that head teachers had compiled a comprehensive list of pupils who had not reported back to school and this will be used in tracing them.
He warned parents against keeping their children away from school adding that it was against the law as all children have a right to education.
John Parit, the Director of Lenkai primary school in Loitokitok said some parents moved to rural areas after losing their jobs as a result of the pandemic, while others were still searching for schools for their children as some private schools in the area had been closed.
Julius Kisai, Kajiado County Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) chairman, said most schools in the area had reported a low turn-out with a few schools reporting a high number of new learners seeking places at the school.
Kisai called on all stakeholders to work together to ensure all pupils who have not reported to school are traced and brought back.
He added that even the girls who got pregnant and have given birth at home should be taken back to school and allowed to continue with their education.
The government embarked on an exercise dubbed “Operation back to school” aimed at assessing how pupils have reported back to school and the institutions preparedness to receive the learners in line with Covid 19 protocols.
All the Principal Secretaries have been dispatched across the country to assess the situation in schools and the impact of the pandemic on education.
By Rop Janet