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Tana schools risk closure over drought

Learning institutions in Tana North and Tana River Sub-Counties risk closure as families migrate with their livestock to fallback grazing fields in Tana Delta.

The Department of Education is carrying out an exercise to ascertain the number of students and schools affected as the national examinations are around the corner.

“It is true drought has affected education. There are many areas in Tana North and Tana River Sub-Counties where families have migrated with livestock to Tana Delta due to drought and students are also bearing the brunt,” said Khalif Hassan, County Director of Education.

The CDE has advised parents who are migrating in pursuit of water and pastures to enroll their children in low-cost boarding schools for continuity in learning.

He said, “We have opened low-cost boarding schools in Oloserea, Bangale, Balambala, Mororo Primary, and Waldena. We are asking parents who migrate with livestock to leave their children in those schools”.

The County Education Official urged parents who have moved to Tana Delta to enroll their children to schools that are near to them, saying they would be accepted without uniforms.

Teachers have not been left out as those employed by school boards are not receiving salaries as a result of a decrease in parents’ income threatening the completion of the syllabus.

“If a community source of water has dried up, teachers and syllabus coverage are affected because students are not in school,’’ said Hassan.

He encouraged head teachers to refrain from expelling students for failing to pay fees saying that instead, they should start the food for fees programme by allowing parents to bring livestock and other farm produce in place of money.

Tana River has not had rains for the last four seasons resulting in the drying up of water pans and poor regeneration of pastures. The education sector too has suffered due to the vagaries of the prolonged drought.

According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Drought Early Warning Bulletin for September, Tana River is in the alarm-worsening drought phase.

By Sadik Hassan

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