Basic Education Principal Secretary Dr. Belio Kipsang has instructed education officials in Baringo led by Regional director of Education to carry out comprehensive mapping of seven schools submerged by rising waters of Lake Baringo to inform how students will be distributed once schools are reopened.
Dr. Kipsang who asked the team to complete the urgent task within a week said the government was committed in ensuring that no child will be disadvantaged because of natural calamity.
The PS who toured the affected learning institutions in Baringo South and Baringo North to assess the situation said that the government through the Ministry will ensure no child come the day of opening whether in the coming months or January next year will have his learning curtailed because of calamities like flooding or rising of lake waters.
“I am assuring the leadership of this county and residents that President Uhuru Kenyatta has insisted the mapping be done immediately so that no child from the region is going to be disadvantaged because of natural calamities like flooding or the unprecedented rising of lake waters whatsoever. We already know this county is categorized as a hardship area and we shall not allow the children to suffer twice,” he insisted.
During the extensive tour, the PS was accompanied by director in charge of secondary Paul Kibet, directors Dr. Mary Gaturu (quality assurance and standards) and Nerea Olick (primary education), county commissioner Henry Wafula and MPs William Cheptumo (Baringo North) and his Baringo South counterpart Charles Kamuren, area TSC county director James Nyakweba and deputy governor Jacob Chepkwony among other host of leaders.
Dr. Kipsang who also toured Moi Teachers Training College (TTC), Baringo, to assess its preparedness to admit teacher trainees maintained that the government will ensure that students from the affected institutions get facilities that are up to speed in relation to what was required.
He said the detailed report from the mapping exercise will inform which schools will absorb the students incase reopening will be done soon, cost in terms of fees, extra infrastructure, whether the existing institutions will be rebuilt or new ones established.
“We have agreed that 84 students at Ngambo girls completely submerged in water will be absorbed at Lake Bogoria girls. We hope the waters of Lake Bogoria will not come all the way to Lake Bogoria girls causing another displacement,” the PS announced.
He pointed out that the ministry had experienced a lot of challenges since the beginning of the year with Covid-19 paralyzing learning in all institutions and flooding which destroyed some schools across the country.
“We lost AIC Liter girls in Elgeyo Marakwet which was totally swept away by floods and two primary schools in West Pokot and another secondary school in Budalangi in Busia. We are carrying out these mappings to enable us consolidate all these efforts and be able to make sure that all children go back to school once it is reopened,” he said.
He added that in the next two weeks he and the cabinet secretary will preside over the ground breaking at AIC Liter girls where a new site has been found and adequate resources already set aside for the entire project.
The county commissioner, he stated, has been mandated to lead a multi-agency team to mobilize requisite resources in terms of manpower to ensure that recommended works are done at the identified schools within the shortest time possible.
The multi-agency team he noted if need be should call for the services of National Youth Service (NYS) equipped with equipment and expertise, correctional services department and even the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to fast track the works.
Baringo North MP William Cheptumo said in his constituency they have lost two primary schools, Kampi Samaki and Ngenyin, which are completely submerged and four churches.
He added that 40 families have been displaced by the rising waters of Lake Baringo.
He appealed to the government through the ministry of education to avail funds to rebuild the schools or new one established adding that the community was ready to donate land.
Kamuren in his address regretted five schools in his constituency have been lost due to the rising water levels of Lake Baringo and Lake 94 which has also been swallowed by Lake Baringo.
Besides the loss of learning institutions, more than 6000 acres of farm land where contracted farmers were growing certified seeds for Kenya Seed Company were lost.
By Joshua Kibet