New students shun insecure Kerio Valley secondary schools

Kerio Valley bandit attack

Men armed with bows and arrows keep vigil at a hill in the border village of Kapturo in Baringo North on February 20, 2022.

Photo credit: Florah Koech | Nation Media Group

Kerio Valley Secondary School in Marakwet East sub-county has suffered a blow after 176 Form One students failed to report for enrolment.

By Wednesday, May 11, only 16 of the 192 students admitted to had reported.

The school, located a few kilometres from Tot centre, which is grappling with insecurity, also faced an exodus of students in the upper classes, worsening its situation.

Acting principal Bonaventure Wandera said that since the school was established in 1976, it had never recorded such low numbers.

“The trend is worsening if something is not done urgently. Last year we received 23 Form Ones, a majority of whom the chiefs personally forced to report to school. We have no alternative but to continue with classes,” said Mr Wandera.

“Among other factors, insecurity is the main cause of low enrolment, which has been nosediving each year. Despite being a three-streamed school, the classes are half-empty.”

The school has 38 students in Form Four, 34 in Form Three and 11 in Form Two, a total of 99.

The school sits in the Kerio Valley, which has been hit hardest by banditry. The majority of the students expected to join the school come from the highlands and they find it risky to travel to the area.

“There is also an exodus of bright students from the other classes, making the school lose in terms of capitation, and the little money we get is used for paying salaries. There is no meaningful development in the school and it is unfortunate the infrastructure is in bad shape,” he said.

Mr Wandera regretted the school is also grappling with a high number of overage students, saying that there are five students aged 22 in Form Four.

Not coming to school

“Having the majority of overage students has contributed to indiscipline cases and parents have made it worse by not coming to school whenever they are required,” he said.

Last year, he said, the school posted a mean of 4.8.

“Our labs were condemned by the Ministry of Public Works over a year ago and save for a library and two other classrooms, all the buildings are dilapidated and we are calling for stakeholders to come to our rescue to help boost the school,” he said.

Mr Laxmana Kiptoo, an alumnus of the school, told the Nation the school’s fortunes were declining and leading to serious academic challenges.

“I think the school has lost its glory because of myriad challenges including dilapidated infrastructure and low entry levels. There is also very low motivation of teachers and serious lack of cooperation between the teachers, students and parents,” he said.

He urged the school’s alumni to hold an urgent meeting and find ways of helping it.

Meanwhile, a primary school teacher was killed last Wednesday evening by armed bandits after he was accosted on the Chesongoch-Tot road in Marakwet East sub-county.

Mr Simon Cheserek, a teacher at Chesongoch Primary School, was shot in the head and legs and succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital. He was heading home from school when he ran into bandits in the Toroko area.

Area Deputy County Commissioner Simon Osumba said a group of bandits ambushed the teacher, who was riding his motorcycle.

“The bandits were hiding in a nearby bush and shot at the [teacher], seriously injuring him and he died while being taken to hospital,” he said.

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