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West Pokot attains 95pc secondary school transition rate

Over 95% of the school-going children in West Pokot County have transitioned to secondary school.

The Basic Education Director at the Ministry of Education, Stephen Barongo, speaking while visiting West Pokot for a mop-up exercise, aimed at ensuring that all learners who are yet to join secondary school do so with immediate effect.

The Basic Education Director at the Ministry of Education, Stephen Barongo issuing admission letters to Form one students, who were on the brink of dropping out of school in Pokot South constituency. Photo by Anthony Melly

Barongo said even the remaining 5% of children, who are still not enrolled in school represent a significant number of children who are still deprived of education, and there is need to ensure they are all in school.

He stated that their aim is to ensure that by the conclusion of the one-week mop-up exercise, all students will have returned to school for their studies.

‘‘The Ministry of Education has collaborated with the region’s county commissioner’s office in an extensive operation to expedite the enrolment of students who are yet to join high school,’’ he said.

The Director stated that the objective of the Ministry of Education is to mobilise more than 130,000 students in Grade 7 and Form 1, ensuring a smooth transition to secondary school in accordance with the 100% transition policy.

He further disclosed that officers from the ministry of education are present in every part of the country to ensure that all students who were in grade six last year have successfully moved on to grade seven as junior secondary students this year.

Additionally, he said students who were standard eight candidates must make the transition to form one this year too.

Barongo emphasised that their decision to carry out a mop-up exercise was motivated by the government’s commitment to providing free and compulsory education to all children in day schools.

‘‘The government shoulders the majority of the financial responsibilities for children’s education, and it is imperative that no student is left behind in their educational journey,’’ Barongo urged the parents.

He said that the Ministry of Education is pleased with the progress made in West Pokot County in ensuring all learners are in school.

‘‘The collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Education department and the Ministry of Interior in West Pokot have utilised the chiefs, and through their efforts, the region has successfully taken the children to school, with a majority of the children now enrolled in education institutions,’’ he revealed.

He said officers at the county commissioner office, as well as the area chiefs and officials from the Ministry of Education in West Pokot, have agreed that every child attends school.

The director said he has talked with parents who brought their children for admission, and they all acknowledged the significance of education and the profound impact it has on their children, and they firmly agreed that no child should be left behind.

‘‘It is imperative that no child is left behind at home, while their peers attend school. Any parent who poses an obstacle to their children’s access to education must be held accountable for their actions,’’ he said.

The Director went on: ‘‘The enforcement of compulsory education implies that education is mandatory for all children attending school and born in Kenya.”

He mentioned that in case of unfortunate circumstances where individuals miss out on education, he assured that they would be guided by the Directorate of Adult and Continuity Education so that even at their current age, they would have the opportunity to attend school and acquire the skills of learning, reading, and writing.

He said that an educated individual can greatly contribute to the development of the country with ease.

The director said that they arrived from the Ministry of Education headquarters in order to provide assistance to the counties, ensuring that every child is enrolled in school.

He said that the government is granting a capitation to students in grades seven, eight, and nine, as well as to all students in Form 1.

He assured the learners who turned up during the mop-up exercise that they will receive full sponsorship from the government.

The education boss cautioned the secondary school principals to refrain from imposing any extra charges without appropriate authorization from the government.

‘‘The government has all the fees for day schools, making the programme of a day school to be free day secondary school,’’ the Director said.

Barongo urged parents to be responsible for maintaining a close relationship with their children by engaging in meaningful conversations and actively motivating them to pursue education.

He urged the residents to embrace the Competency Based Curriculum, emphasising that its aim was to harness the unique abilities of every learner.

Kapenguria Division Assistant County Commissioner Ruth Wachera, stressed the importance of the mop-up exercise, which aims to facilitate a 100% transition of all primary school students to secondary education.

She said 15 learners from the Talau location and seven learners from the Siyoi location have been assisted in securing admission letters for Form 1 enrolment.

She encouraged the learners who got their Form 1 admission letters to maintain discipline and work hard if they were to have a good future.

‘‘Parents should play their roles effectively to ensure their children are disciplined,’’ she urged.

She said that the officials at the Ministry of Interior are committed to ensuring that all students who are yet to join secondary schools are admitted promptly.

‘’The National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) will visit villages to ensure that children who sat for the class eight national examination have joined secondary school,’’ said Wachera.

She called upon the well-wishers to support the orphaned children and those facing financial hardships in their families, enabling them to enrol in secondary school and pursue their studies.

St. Mary’s Siyoi Secondary School Principal Wycliffe Ngachi graciously agreed to admit three learners who were on the brink of leaving school, but were rescued from their villages by the area chiefs following a mop-up exercise that was conducted.

Ngachi enrolled the three learners who were unable to attend secondary school due to poverty, with a commitment from him and the National Government Administration Officers that they would do their level best to provide assistance to learners so as to attend school.

The principal stated that the school is completely ready to admit learners entering the form one of secondary education, even if they are still wearing their primary school uniforms.

He urged parents and guardians who may be hesitant to send their children to school due to lack of school uniforms to prioritise enrolling their children in school first as they make efforts to buy them new outfits to wear in secondary education.

‘‘Form one learners should report to the admission office in order to receive their admission letters. Once they have obtained their letters, they can proceed with their studies, as other necessary arrangements will be taken care of by their parents or guardians,’’ she said.

The County Director of Education, Simon Wamae, and various other officials, including National Government Administration Officers, accompanied the Basic Education Director, Mr. Barongo.

By Anthony Melly

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