Education CS George Magoha

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha inspects a classroom at Githwariga Primary School in Nyeri yesterday.

| Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Parents risk arrest over learners who are still at home 

What you need to know:

  • In school, head teachers are under instruction to submit daily attendance reports to the sub-county directors of education.
  • Teachers have also been warned against sending home learners for non-payment of fees so that they can remain in class.

Parents staying home with school children, including girls who gave birth, risk arrest as the government goes all out to have all learners in class by the end of the week.

Fearing mass dropout, the ministries of Education, Devolution and Interior are working with county governments to ensure all children resume school as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Jamhuri Day.

In a circular Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang sent to regional, county and sub-county directors of education, the officials were instructed to work closely with regional coordinators, county commissioners, deputy county commissioners, chiefs and their assistants “to ensure children who fail to report to school are immediately traced and brought back to school”.

Already, chiefs, village elders and members of Nyumba Kumi are moving from door to door hunting for learners who are still out of class.

In school, head teachers are under instruction to submit daily attendance reports to the sub-county directors of education for onward transmission to the directors of primary and of secondary education at the ministry headquarters.

Teachers have also been warned against sending home learners for non-payment of fees so that they can remain in class to make up for the nine months they have lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cheptunoiyo Primary School

Pupils at Cheptunoiyo Primary School on January 5, 2021 after schools across the country reopened. Most schools in Baringo have recorded low turnout of learners.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Additionally, the Devolution ministry will ensure successful delivery of food to regions that have school feeding programmes by the end of the week to facilitate a quick return to normalcy.
School girls who became pregnant or gave birth during the nine-month closure have also been instructed to go back to school.

Education Chief Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia yesterday called on county education officials to account for every learner.

He directed the officers to enrol learners whose private schools closed down due to Covid-19 losses. “Public schools have enough space and nobody shall be locked out,” he said during inspection of school reopening in Mombasa.

"All pregnant school girls and those who have already given birth are all our children and must go back to school. Do not hide those girls, let them go back to school and learn, pregnancy is not a disease" he said.

Coast Regional Coordinator John Elungata said the region had recorded 85 per cent turnout and assured education stakeholders that by the end of the week, all learners will be in school.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha also expressed satisfaction at the rate of reporting when he monitored the reopening in Kiambu and Nyeri.

He said the ministry will on Friday issue a statement on the state of reopening.

“We had challenges in the Coast and North Eastern region, but we are focusing on them. In Turkana and a few other areas, we know that the feeding programme, which attracts the children to school, has not started yet. The food has been purchased and is in the stores,” Prof Magoha said at St Luke Githwariga Primary in Nyeri.

Married off

This came as security department in Lamu warned parents who married off their daughters and men who impregnated schoolgirls of dire consequences.

Schoolboys engaged in coxswain business at the Lamu seafront will also be arrested.
County Commissioner Irungu Macharia said more than 70 per cent of learners had reported back to class.

“I am aware that a number of pupils, mostly the girls, had not reported back by Monday. We have launched a massive door-to-door search to have those children sent back to schools. Parents who won’t send their children to school or men who impregnated or married school girls will be arrested and prosecuted,” warned Mr Macharia.

Meanwhile, schools in Tiaty West and East sub-counties of Baringo County recorded low turnout attributed to retrogressive cultural practices.

Hundreds of girls in the region have been subjected to female genital mutilation or married off while others are pregnant.

There are also fewer boys in schools after many of them were circumcised last week.

Tiaty West Deputy County Commissioner Jackton Orieng threatened to arrest parents who took their children for circumcision unless they resume learning.

At Nakoko Primary in Silale Ward, out of more than 300 pupils, only 12 learners were present. Only one boy turned up while at Cheptunoyo Primary , only 35 pupils out of 348 had reported to school yesterday.

“We don’t know why parents in Tiaty opted to take school-going boys for circumcision when schools were reopening yet they had time when schools were closed,” said Mr Orieng.

The initiation ceremony among the Pokot community is done after several years to form an age-set.

Most of the boys could not miss the ceremony because it will take another decade for the ceremony to be performed.

In Kisumu, County Director of Education Isaac Atebe said at least 50 per cent of students had reported back to school. He, however, could not give the exact figure of the turnout as his office was still collecting data on missing learners.

"Chiefs are visiting the homes physically to flash out the absent learners," he said.

In Meru County, Kanyakine chief Isabella Mutura said parents who married off girls and men who have married school children would be arrested.

In Narok, County Director of Education Phillip Wambua said county commissioner Evans Achoki had ordered chiefs and their assistants to trace all missing learners. Governor Samuel Tunai called on the county security committee to bring to book men who made school girls pregnant as well as parents who subjected their daughters to FGM.

Reported by David Muchunguh, Faith Nyamai, Winnie Atieno, Kalume Kazungu, Flora Koech, Sammy Lutta, Tom Matoke, Brian Ojamaa, Charles Wanyoro, Reginah Kinogu, Waweru Wairimu, George Sayagie, Geoffrey Ondieki, Rushdie Oudia, Ian Byron, George Odiwuor and Shaban Makokha