How State plans to use schools to plant 52 million trees per year

The government will use learners in schools and colleges, as well as workers in the education sector, to plant millions of trees to help meet its target of planting 15 billion trees by 2032 to help mitigate climate change.

The Ministry of Education has issued instructions to school principals detailing what is expected of both learners and workers.

The Ministry of Basic Education has set a target to produce 200,000,000 tree seedlings per year, the second largest target after the State Department of Forestry.

Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang issued a circular to county education officers instructing them to mobilise schools for the tree-planting campaign and submit their targets to his office.

For instance, a circular from Embu County Director of Education Kipruto Kosgei to school principals sets targets for each category.

“This is therefore to comply with the contents of this circular and submit your tree growing campaign monthly as follows:” reads part of the circular.

Every primary and secondary school learner in the country is expected to plant four trees per year. Nationally, there are 8,123,952 learners in public primary schools. They are expected to plant at least 32,495,808 trees per year.

Public secondary schools have an enrollment of 3,956,547 students who are expected to plant 15,826,188 trees per year.

Each teacher trainee is expected to plant 10 trees per year. The current enrolment in colleges is 20,456, which translates into 204,560 trees per year.

Translate to 52,426,556 trees per year

According to the circular, the target for teachers and non-teaching staff working in educational institutions is 30 trees per person. There are about 390,000 teachers employed by the Teachers Service Commission. They are expected to plant 3,900,000 trees per year. All these translate to 52,426,556 trees per year.

“I’ve been looking for seedlings even before the national tree planting day was declared because we have the government target and also a target for our school,” a head teacher said.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has also been at the forefront of encouraging schools to plant trees to help meet the government's target.

“I direct all schools to establish tree nurseries for their own consumption in establishing forested zones in their compounds and distribute tree seedlings to the communities within the school vicinity and beyond. I am also directing schools that do not possess enough land to support forested zones, by establishing tree nurseries for distributing tree seedlings to the communities and in the process exposing the learners to tree nursery management skills,” he said at a past event.

In May, Mr Machogu said that the establishment of tree nurseries, planting and growing of trees will be part of the assessment points for primary and secondary school heads.

“We want competition in that and we’ll be even doing ranking the same way we used to do ranking in performance in matters academic,” said Mr Machogu at an event in Siaya County.