Machogu directs universities to establish tree nurseries

Ezekiel Machogu

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.

Photo credit: File

All public and private universities will be required to establish tree nurseries as part of the government’s efforts to achieve its target of planting 35 million trees and producing 300 million seedlings annually.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Tuesday said the initiative also aims to inculcate a culture of environmental awareness among students by ensuring that they actively participate in tree planting and maintenance activities. 

Last year, primary and secondary schools were also tasked with planting trees. However, many school administrators complain of a lack of financial support for the initiative.

With an estimated 17 million learners and 600,000 educators, the education sector is expected to contribute 15 billion trees to the national programme. 

“We will initiate tree nurseries at every state department within our ministry, beginning with higher education, encompassing our 74 public and private universities. It has been unanimously agreed that each university, whether public or private, must establish a tree nursery. It will be mandatory for every public university to possess a tree nursery,” he said.

“We have requested our universities to cultivate sufficient seedlings to support nearby primary schools with their tree nurseries,” he added.

The project extends beyond higher education, encompassing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions nationwide. He underscored the necessity for all TVET schools, from national polytechnics to Technical Training Institutes (TTIs), to integrate tree nurseries into their infrastructure.

“We have more than 300 TVET schools, and it has been mandated that starting from the national polytechnics to the TTIs, every one of them must establish tree nurseries,” the CS added.

The initiative will also be implemented in over 23,000 primary schools across the country. Mr Machogu said the ministry has targeted ensuring that half the primary schools establish tree nurseries.

“This will be approximately 12,500 institutions. These efforts are slated to commence this year, signalling a robust and proactive approach towards environmental conservation within the educational landscape,” he said.

“At the Ministry of Education, we have a green army from ECDE to university level. If each learner were to plant a tree within a school or their home areas then we can easily get 700 million trees planted each year and we want to encourage our young people to plant trees,” he said.

According to Ms Tuya, the initiative seeks to integrate tree growing into the fabric of Kenya’s education system. With an estimated 17 million learners and 600,000 educators across the country, the programme aims to cultivate a culture of environmental consciousness from early childhood to university level.

The government’s strategy is to grow 35 million trees annually and produce 300 million seedlings, contributing to the broader strategy to raise Kenya’s tree cover from 12 percent 30 per cent by 2032.

The initiative builds upon the success of the 15 billion national tree growing programme, a flagship government climate action initiative.