Parents arrested for failing to enroll their children as State seeks 100 per cent admission in school

A Ministry of Education report reveals that some of the missing candidates were found locked up in houses by parents. [Photo, Standard]

Details of a week-long search for the 150,000 missing candidates who failed to take up their Form One slots can be revealed today.

From cash rewards, door to door searches to arrests of parents, the ‘Last Mile Form One Admission Campaign towards 100 per cent Transition’ registered substantial gains last week as the number of missing students dwindled.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang launched the drive after it emerged that six counties – Mombasa, Lamu, Kwale, Samburu, Isiolo and Tana River -- had registered below 70 per cent.

By close of Friday when the campaign ended, the overall Form One admission had hit an all time high of 91 per cent. This means that only 90,000 candidates are still missing in the admissions roll, with some of the candidates said to have enrolled to resit the class eight examinations this year.

Nyeri is leading with 100 per cent admissions, which means that all the candidates who sat the examinations in the county have been enrolled to form one.

Siaya, Nyandarua and Bomet counties are second with 99 per cent admission.

Child labour

Kajiado and Muranga have recorded 97 per cent while Vihiga, Nandi, Kisumu, Busia and Homa Bay registered 95 per cent.

Reports show that this number could further come down after the close of Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) registration deadline ended on Friday.

A Ministry of Education report reveals that some of the missing candidates were found locked up in houses by parents while others were already working.

Mr Kipsang kicked off the desperate search last week by chairing a crisis meeting in Sheikh Khalifa Secondary School in Mombasa to push the coastal counties to step up the search for the candidates.

The meeting was attended by Director General Elyas Abdi, Director of Secondary Education Paul Kibet, all regional coordinators of Education (RCEs), county directors of education and representatives of schools boards of management.

Also in attendance were the Mombasa deputy governor, the regional commissioner, all Coast county commissioners, all TSC county directors, all sub-county directors, principals of secondary schools, chiefs and assistant chiefs.

At the meeting, the officials were directed to adopt a multi-agency approach and coordinate the search to mop up candidates.

After the meeting, eight parents were arrested in Taita Taveta County for failing to admit their children to secondary schools.

The parents cited lack of fees for failed admission. In Lunga Lunga sub-county of Kwale, the Majoreni assistant chief moped up some 10 students who were then admitted to Majoreni secondary school.

A group of 25 were admitted to Perani secondary school in Lunga Lunga sub-county while another 50 were picked up during a door-to-door search in Kauma sub-county and enrolled in day schools.

In Tana River, reports emerged that most of the candidates had been married off. 

Officials in the county said some parents fled their homes as chiefs moved in to intensified the search.

Reports indicate that some parents had lined up their daughters for early marriage when the government hit the ground, forcing them to put off the weddings.

And in Lamu, 17 candidates were picked and enrolled in secondary schools, some taken to school without uniforms.

Another 17 candidates were moped up in Kilifi County through a door-to-door search and placed in Majajani secondary schools.

In Mandera County, a number of girls were mopped up from their homes and admitted to schools. The girls from Gagaba, Dandu, Kubihalo and Burduras locations were picked up from their homes and admitted to various day schools in the county.

Still in Mandera West, six girls were rescued and five of them admitted to Takaba girls secondary school. The sixth was admitted to Gither secondary school.

In Nairobi, a boy was located in Dandora and another 10 recovered in Kangemi and taken to school. They were admitted to Kabete Lab and Lavington secondary schools.

In Isiolo, 52 candidates out of the missing 348 were traced and admitted to various schools.

Young mothers

Last week, the Ministry of Education directed its officials to search and re-admit all girls who gave birth during last years national examinations.

In addition to these category of learners, Amina also directed that students who may have been denied a chance for secondary education due to insecurity, inhibitive cultural practices and drought be mopped up and admitted.

Also targeted were candidates who failed to join form one because of fees constraints occasioned by indirect costs of secondary education and extreme poverty.

Amina has asked Director secondary school Paul Kibet to continue with admissions of candidates even during the half term session that kicked off this weekend.

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‘Last Mile Form One Admission CampaignBasic Education PS Belio KipsangEducation Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed