Parents at Makongo HGM Secondary school in Makueni sub county have opposed plans by the Ministry of Education to close the school after it failed to meet the minimum criteria for registration.
Over 150 parents and community members on Tuesday barricaded the Machakos-Wote road paralyzing transport for several hours as they protested the school’s closure.
The Parents Teachers Association (PTA) Chairperson Peter Mutwii said the school that has been in operation since 2016 has been the closest institution for their children.
‘‘The school has been offering learning to our children and closing it would be unfair to the students and the entire community that has supported its growth,’’said Mutwii.
The PTA chairperson said the school was started to cater for the students in the area and its proposed closure would force them to walk for long distances to the neighbouring schools.
‘‘The school was opened because the nearby schools are far apart and cannot serve us, closing it will be a disgrace. We had already sent an application to have the school registered and we wonder what has occasioned the closure,’’he said.
He called on the Ministry of Education to reconsider the decision and have the school that currently has an enrolment of close to 60 students registered.
‘‘We have 13 students who will be sitting for their KCSE next year and it will be difficult for them to get new schools,’’ he added.
A parent Mary Kioko said she was shocked when she received news that the school will be closed.
‘‘I am worried over where to take my child, the nearby schools are full and far,’’she said.
However County Director of Education Jane Njogu said the school failed to meet the minimum requirements for registering a new school.
‘‘The school does not even have a title deed and we cannot tell whose land its sitting on, consequently the students lack National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) and therefore cannot be registered as candidates,’’she said.
The Director of Education also disclosed that the Ministry of Education has placed an embargo on registration of new schools.
‘‘We have put on hold registration of new schools with exception to very special circumstances that still have to be approved by the Principal Secretary. Besides the tenure for Board of School Committees that recommend for opening of new schools expired and new ones have not been reconstituted,’’ she added.
Ms.Njogu advised the parents to enrol the leaners in the nearby schools which she said have enough teachers and infrastructure.
‘‘Kivani,Mukuyuni and Mwea schools are established schools that are within the recommended distance and can offer quality and free education to the students,’’noted the County Director of Information.
By Roselyne Kavoo