Troubled Mukumu Girls’ School gets Sh16 million boost

The troubled Sacred Mukumu Girls School in Kakamega County has received a Sh16 million shot in the arm as the government seeks to ensure the safety of learners and teachers.

Photo credit: Derrick Luvega | Nation Media Group

The troubled Sacred Mukumu Girls School in Kakamega County has received a Sh16 million shot in the arm as the government seeks to ensure the safety of learners and teachers.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Saturday (May 27) commissioned a Sh6 million water purification machine at the school, assuring parents that the situation was back to normal.

The minister, who was speaking on the day the Nation revealed how students and a teacher at the school were poisoned to death, announced that the government would next week release Sh10 million to fund the replacement of old asbestos, even as the new board of management pledged further budgetary support to turn the school around.

Mr Machogu assured that the government was doing its best to improve conditions at the school, where several students and a teacher have died following a series of outbreaks of disease linked to contaminated water and food.

According to the school's management, 1,972 of the 2,000 students have so far reported back since the school reopened on May 8.

Mr Machogu said the government and the school’s new board of management were working closely to improve the infrastructure and other learning facilities at the institution.

CS education Ezekiel Mochogu is received by Mukumu Girls High School principal, Sister Jane Mmbone, at the school on May 27, 2023, during the official launch of a water purification station.

Photo credit: Isaac Wale | Nation Media Group

Mr Machogu said the government is in talks with development partners to enable the installation of similar machines in all schools in the country.

“We recognised the problem with water and we are purifying it. The government has also sunk a borehole at the school and the machine is being used to clean the water to ensure it is safe for consumption,” said Mr Machogu.

The CS met members of the new board of management (BoM) before commissioning the water purifying machine. 

He said the decision to destroy the 800 bags of maize, beans and rice that had earlier been procured by the school was meant to eliminate any possibility of learners being exposed to further unsafe food.

Safe for human consumption

Mr Machogu, however, insisted that tests carried out on the cereals had shown that the food was safe for human consumption.

“We decided to get in fresh supplies and I can assure (you) that there is no student who is admitted in any hospital as we speak,” he said.

The disease outbreak at the institution in April killed three students and a teacher in what was linked to food and water contamination.

During the disease outbreak, more than 240 learners were admitted to different hospitals, including Kakamega General Hospital, complaining of diarrhoea, vomiting and fatigue.

Mr Machogu said the government also brought in a new principal, Sr Jane Mmbone, whom he described as a performer who will help move the school’s mean score from 7.2 in 2022 to the targeted 9.5 points.

“We are all proud of this school because it is known all over Kenya and it consistently performs well in national examinations. This school has produced great women in this country and I want to assure parents that our girls are in a good place and will excel in their examinations,” said Mr Machogu.

On the delayed release of schools capitation, the minister said the National Treasury had already released Sh28 billion to the Ministry of Education to be wired to schools as funding for the current quota.

The capitation, he said, will be in school accounts beginning next week. 

“We are now ready to release funds for Junior and Senior Secondary after National Treasury released Sh28 billion for this quota. By Friday, the money will be in school accounts.”

He further said all the Junior Secondary school students are in class learning, adding that the government is in the process of putting up 40 percent of the laboratories.

Sr Mmbone of Mukumu Girls said she was glad that the students and parents had faith in the school despite the challenges it has gone through over the last month.

“They deemed it right to return to our school after the (health) challenge. Our candidates have assured us they will go for better results,” said Sr Mmbone.

“We are safe and in safe hands. We are happy our health has improved. We will improve in our performance,” the students said through the poem.