Special needs school closed down as anguished parents remain with children home

Kabarnet Deaf and Blind school non-teaching staff led by Paul Rotich (left) addressing the press at the school during an interview on September 12, 2019. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]
Up to 75 children with special needs are yet to report to school after Kabarnet School for the Deaf and Blind failed to open its doors for Third Term.

The children, many of them who can barely speak or even walk need special facilities to learn and stay in school.

But at the beginning of the term, the institution wrote to parents advising them not to take their children to school after its non-teaching staff went on strike demanding to be paid 12-month salary arrears.

The workers, who are employed by the Education ministry under the department of special needs, are owed more than Sh4.2 million.

They accused the ministry of ignoring their plight despite the delicate task they perform to ensure the special needs learners are attended to.

“Basic family upkeep has been a nightmare. Necessities such as water and electricity were disconnected long time ago, our assets have also been confiscated by auctioneers,” said the workers' spokesperson, Joshua Kiptui.

The 31 non-teaching staff had issued a 21-day strike notice in May, but no action was taken to resolve their grievances.

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They have been staging a sit-in at the school until they are paid.

“If money is paid today we will resume work immediately, I will personally make calls and ask parents to bring their children,” said Susan Cherogony, the school's matron

Parents who spoke to The Standard called for a speedy resolution of the pay row, saying their children are missing out on education and special care.

“I cannot do anything, all my attention is on my child. At times I am forced to lock her in the house to go to the market,” said Fiona Kiptoon.

The parents now fear that the the gains made by the specialised care offered at the school might be lost if their children continue to stay at home.

To find out what the Government was doing to address the issue, The Standard visited the office of the county education director, Moses Karati.

Mr Karati was not in the office and declined to discuss the matter on phone

“I cannot comment on the matter,” he said.

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Kabarnet School for the Deaf and Blind