The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Education, Prof. George Magoha has disclosed that so far the mop up operation by the government to ensure 100 per cent student transition to secondary school has hit 99 percent but they are still keen to capture all the 10,000 learners still out of school.
Prof. Magoha made the remarks in Kisumu on Wednesday where he led a high powered team from his ministry and provincial administration to seek out all the students who have not reported to the respective schools they were selected to join.
The CS revealed the counties that are still lagging behind as; Kajiado, Embu, Nyandarua, Tana River and Narok where his team have their work cut out for them in their resolve to achieve the 100 percent transition rate.
He called upon the multiagency team which also included the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) alongside the provincial administration and his ministry to ensure that the remaining number of learners are mopped up by Friday this week.
The CS attributed the low figures of learners captured on some of the counties mentioned above to cases where some students were placed from outside the neighbouring counties and regions.
“In central region for example as much as 120% of learners have transited to secondary schools an indication that they received students from other counties who may have taken up the limited vacancies which targeted local learners,” he explained.
Reacting to the North Eastern region debacle where TSC transferred all the teachers from other regions who had been targeted by the Al-Shabaab terror attacks but reassured that the government will ensure that teachers are posted to all parts of the country.
Prof. Magoha said that he does not believe in having teachers run away from violence prone areas and other hot-spots since it had the capacity and ability to deal firmly with the aggressors so that learners can have a level playing field.
However, the CS appealed to the communities living in the affected areas to join hands so as to ensure teachers security is guaranteed to curb similar mass exodus in future over cases of insecurity.
A total of 15 students were admitted to the nearby Kasagam Mixed Secondary School in Kisumu East where the Senior Principal, George Opinde was directed to issue them new uniforms and have them enrolled in form one.
The CS’s whirlwind crackdown took the team to K’Owino market in Nyalenda, Kanyakwar village and Kasagam area also in Nyalenda where local residents praised the government intervention as timely and well intentioned.
The Kisumu County Commissioner, Susan Waweru and a host of Chiefs and their Assistants accompanied Prof. Magoha’s entourage in the exercise which caught many parents by surprise with others taking to their heels in a bid to evade arrest.
At Chiro K’Owino in Nyalenda there was a dramatic escape staged by one of the learners just as Prof. Magoha’s team approached the slum house never to be traced.
Elsewhere, the Principal of Kanunga Secondary School in Kiambu County has expressed the need to support the boy child by all means especially in Kiambu as the government endeavors to meet 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary.
James Maina while talking to KNA from the school said he totally supported the government’s target of transiting all Primary school pupils as this was a way of giving a strong foundation to the communities.
“When people have acquired an education, it becomes very easy for them to improve on their way of life and also participate in development of their economies and environment,” Maina said.
The principal said out of a capacity of 240 form one pupils, 288 had been directed to be enrolled to the school but 268 reported and have so far begun their classes.
Owing to his ingenuity to make the boys comfortable while in school, Maina has converted two classrooms into dormitories so as to provide more space for the form ones. He has also collapsed a wall that separates two other classrooms which he said would create more space for the boy’s dormitory so that they have ample space to keep their boxes and personal effects.
The school head who was transferred from Murang’a County in January to head the school has also provided a bathroom and some toilets for the boys so that they don’t have to walk for a long distance towards the boarding area.
“Someone could be unwell and needs to answer to a call of nature instantly at night and they don’t have to walk a long distance to the other dormitories which are a bit far,” he said.
The school scored a mean score of 6.4 in the 2019 KCSE which Maina believes can be improved if they were made comfortable as they would be able to concentrate on their studies keenly.
He further revealed that owing to the transition, there was need to construct additional dormitories to the school that could accommodate 300 students as the boys were congested in the current ones.
“We have applied to be considered for a grant of about Sh 23 million which we can use to construct the new dormitory,” said Mr. Maina who expressed his optimism that they would receive some assistance.
He called on his counterparts in other schools to embrace the idea of transition as it was the only way through which the government could eradicate poverty from the community. “Given a conducive environment, these boys are focused and can do wonders,” he added.
He further noted that he has a deficit of 10 teachers as he currently had 32 in the five streams of 940 students.
By Pauline Omondi/Joseph Ouma/Lydia Shiloya