A number of secondary schools in Nyandarua North Sub County in Ndaragwa Constituency have continued to record low enrollments raising concern among education stakeholders in the region.
A spot check by KNA also established mushrooming community schools that were fighting for the small catchment area in a bid to cash in on the free secondary school capitation by the national government.
At Dedan Kimathi mixed Secondary school for instance, only six students were enrolled this year in form one.
School Principal Ms. Beth Kairu, told a sub county CBC Implementation Committee that toured the institution that the school relied on one nearby primary school as its catchment area.
“This area has also suffered rural-urban migration and the people left here are old. “This school relies on the neighbouring Mung’etho Primary School as its catchment area for students,” she said, adding that the secondary school total population stands at 81 students.
She appealed for help to put up boarding facilities to attract more students to enable the school remain afloat.
On the other hand, St Mary’s Aberdare Secondary School, formerly Kiriogo Secondary, has only 147 students down from last year’s 200.
The school’s principal, Jason Mwangi, attributed this to local community’s poverty level that has led to apathy for education, as most guardians had defaulted on paying Sh12, 000 a year, meant for the students’ lunch.
“Some of the students drop out of school to do illegal logging in the neighbouring (Aberdare) forest or join Boda Boda business, while girls end up in early marriages,” he said, adding that the neighbouring Mathenya and Ngobit secondary schools had also pulled many of its students, due to their accessibility.
However, Mwangi said the school 10-acre land was available for putting up boarding facility, which would translate to more numbers.
“We know it is an uphill task to put up the dormitories and dining hall, but we feel that is the only way the school will remain afloat as it’s the only hope of this village that was also drowning in drug abuse,” said the principal.
At the same time, Aberdare Secondary, situated about 20 km off Nyahururu- Nyeri road, too has 114 students enrolled in all its four streams against a capacity of 600, with the majority of the students being females.
Nyandarua North sub county director of education, Justus Musyoka, while calling on the school communities to work on their numbers, said more capitation and development would only be assured against a high enrollment.
Area Deputy County Commissioner, Walter Ngaira, urged the principals to do all they can to ensure students continue being in school, including utilizing the vast land for agricultural activities to afford the students lunch.
Ngaira said that the CBC policy to have parents take the learners to the nearest junior high school centre, will in turn improve the enrollment in the schools, urging them to increase their numbers for higher capitation from the government.
By Anne Sabuni