Education sector hit hard and schools remain deserted as insecurity bites

David Pkemoi an ECD teacher with his pupils at Asiyok Primary school studying under a temporary structure in Kolowa ward in Tiaty sub-county on January 25,2018 .They were displaced from their school following insecurity in the area. [Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard]


In the thick bushes at Kolowa ward in Tiaty, Baringo County, stands Todo Primary School.

The silence is defeaning. No chants of young pupils who often fill the compound of this village school on a normal learning day. The writings on the wall seem to be begging for attention from anyone who passes by.

The classrooms last enjoyed the warmth and laughter of pupils in December 2017. Four weeks since the beginning of the school term, schools here remain deserted. The only sign of life being is that of police officers around the desolate structure in the middle of nowhere.

“We have not reopened since insecurity issues became rampant. The pupils have not reported to school and no learning is taking place,” said Hellen Chebon, the head teacher.

Tension among the Pokot and the Marakwet communities has forced parents and children to abandon their books and flee to safer ground.

The school, which is approximately a kilometre from the Kerio border, is closed following a series of attacks that saw hundreds of livestock getting stolen and six people losing their lives.

According to Ms Chebon, the situation worsened after a parent was killed in the school compound. “That caused fear among the pupils and they started missing classes one by one,” she said.

Battle field

Families who resided in the nearby villages moved to other places far from the border since it had become a battle field for the two communities.

“We could not control the fear and could not promise them that they would be safe either,” Ms Chebon said. “Parents were becoming uneasy because of insecurity and they had no choice but to leave with their children.”

The situation is the same in the neighbouring Tirioko ward where only a few pupils were in school.

Out of the 300 pupils at Chesawach Primary School, only 46 were present when we visited.

The number of pupils who attend school has been dropping as more families move from the area.

Ruth Kamomai, a teacher at the school, said that the number of pupils who attend classes keeps decreasing daily.

Safer areas

The senior classes are the most affected since boys moved with their parents to look after their animals.

Kamomai is concerned that the number of candidates for national examinations will be so low and called on authorities to beef up security as soon as possible.

“I am worried that most of the candidates will not come back for the examination if insecurity persists. We are losing a lot because most of them have moved to other places with their parents and animals,” she said.

Some of the pupils have transferred to institutions in areas that are considered safer. More than 100 pupils have been absorbed at Ng’orom primary school.

In Asiyok Primary School, teachers moved with their pupils to safer areas, and teach them under a temporary structure every morning.