State tracking parents of 53,000 learners out of school in Meru

PS Mary Kimonye

Public Service PS Mary Kimonye and Infrastructure PS Mwangi Maringa talk to pupils of Beetu Junior Academy in Tigania West, Meru County on January 11, 2021.

Photo credit: David Muchui | Nation Media Group

Administrators in Meru County have intensified tracking of parents whose children are yet to report back to school, as it emerged that more than 53,000 learners are still missing from institutions in the region.

Public Service Principal Secretary Mary Kimonye and her Infrastructure counterpart Mwangi Maringa said the government will now resort to use of phone data to track parents to ensure all children report back to school.

Ms Kimonye expressed concern over the high number of learners who are out of school, citing teen pregnancies and transfers as some of the major causes.

According to data from the county, about 21,501 pupils are yet to turn up in public primary schools while 10,629 are missing in private schools.

Another 20,064 students have not reported to public secondary schools while 957 are out of private secondary schools.

However, Ms Kimonye said all pregnant girls must report back to their schools or be transferred to nearby day schools.

"Girls who have delivered must be accepted back to school while those who may not be comfortable due to stigma should be helped to relocate to a nearby day school," she said.

Inspected for preparedness

On Monday, the government officials inspected several schools for preparedness with Athwana High School and St Angela's Nguthiru in Tigania East and Tigania West recording four pregnancies each.

"Two weeks is a very long time for learners to be out of school. The Ministry of Education and the national government administration officers now have the list of parents whose children are at home. We will now use their phone contacts to trace every parent," Ms Kimonye said.

She called on chiefs and members of the Nyumba Kumi initiative to intensify door-to-door search for pupils to ensure none is left at home.

PS Maringa called for enhanced counselling programmes in schools to help contain cases of teen pregnancies.

On the economic stimulus desks programme, Ms Kimonye said many carpenters were unable to deliver on time, leading to re-awarding of contracts.

According to data from the Ministry of Education, only 5,714 desks out of 11,690 allocated to primary schools are complete.

Out of 9,900 desks meant for secondary schools, only 3,093 have been completed.

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