The national government has pledged to continue bolstering security around schools within the Boni area to ensure they stay open and curb any Al-Shabaab attack that may threaten learning in these marginalized areas.
The areas namely; Barsuba, Mangai, Mararani, Kiangwe and Bodhei had in 2015 stayed closed due to the Al-Shabaab threat resulting in most teachers running away from the schools and the institutions staying locked for 5 years.
However in late 2019, the national government embarked on a return to school programme for all children within the Boni area with schools being opened and security personnel being increased around the respective villages and schools.
The programme was then cut short by the Covid-19 crisis that rocked learning in 2020 with most schools across the country closing for the better part of the year.
Speaking to KNA during ‘Operation 100 % Back to School’ in Boni area today, Trade and Industry Principal Secretary Amb. Johnson Weru lauded security personnel across the county for enhancing security against terror threats by ensuring schools especially within the Boni area are opened for learning.
“By increasing security personnel within the wider Boni area, teachers have also gained confidence and agreed to be posted in hardship areas within the county,” Weru stated.
He also stated that he was pleased with COVID-19 mitigating measures put in place to ensure learning is uninterrupted.
“Students as well as teachers are well masked and spacing measures are carried out to ensure that the Ministry of Health regulations are adhered to,” Amb. Weru said.
The Trade and Industry PS also revealed that so far, the return rate of students and pupils to school stands at 97 percent which he said was commendable.
His sentiments were shared by Operation Amani Boni Incharge Colonel David Chesire who stated that the national government had already put in place sufficient personnel within Boni villages to ensure that learning takes place seamlessly.
He also noted that the regular patrols and the teachers being embedded with the security personnel within the camps has aided in providing the teachers with confidence to live and work in Boni schools.
Lamu County Education Director Joshua Kaaga who also spoke to KNA during the tour of schools across the county stated that the national government through the Education Ministry and the public administration have been working closely to ensure that all children return to school even in far flung villages across the Boni area.
“Of note is that most parents have been keen to ensure that their children return to school, and especially the girls have registered nearly 98 percent return rate,” Kaaga stated.
Also accompanying the PS during the tour, CEC in charge of Education Paul Thairu stated that the county government had already set aside funds for school feeding programmes across all public schools in the county.
He stated that the move would aid in ensuring children stayed in school throughout the term and the year and avoid distractions related to unavailability of food at household level.
“The county government is keen to ensure that education standards in the county improve as a result of school feeding programme and hiring of form four leavers from marginalised as intern teacher especially within the Boni area,” Thairu said.
Lamu East Deputy County Commissioner Wilberforce Kilonzo also stated that the national and county government were working together to ensure that learning standards especially in Lamu East were raised to ensure better transition rates for children within the Boni.
By Amenya Ochieng