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Lack of classrooms and toilets threaten learning in four schools

EDUCATION
By Jackline Inyanji and Ignatius Odanga | February 15th 2017
Mrs Mary Kandia teach form four Students of shirotsa secondary school under tree. Form one learn in a church next to delivery room in a hospital making them lose concentration when somebody is delivering.  Phoo by DUNCAN OCHOLLA

Teachers and students of three schools in Khwisero have taken refuge in the house of God, literally.

Besides the fact that the number of classrooms at Shirotsa Secondary as well as Emwaniro and Ekambuli primary schools is inadequate, they are also old and could collapse any time.

The schools also lack other facilities, including latrines, libraries and laboratories.

The situation is the same at Shitoyi Muslim Primary School in Butere, which is facing closure due to lack of latrines.

Hannington Owade, the head teacher, said health officers were expected to visit the school and were likely to close it because of the risks pupils were exposed to from lack of toilets.

Mr Owade said trouble began when heavy rains destroyed all their seven latrines.

"The next most likely thing is that health officers will move in and close the school because we do not have latrines for the pupils," said Owade.

The school needs at least 15 toilets for the 700 children. There is also the risk of an outbreak of cholera and other diseases due to poor sanitation.

"Our children risk falling sick. We're appealing to the two levels of government and well-wishers to come to our aid before the situation gets more complicated," he said.

At Emwaniro, Ekambuli and Shirotsa schools, learners are attending lessons at the nearby Ebuhala Catholic Church for lack of facilities at their own institutions.

Most of the time, they learn under trees but have to rush to the church whenever it rains because some of the classrooms also leak.

Emwaniro head teacher Harriton Mwakha described the classrooms at his school as death traps.

"The classrooms have never been refurbished since 1985, when the school was established. They are old and some are on the verge of collapse. That is why the church is our home most of the time. We are asking the government to help repair them and also build new ones," said Mr Mwakha.

"The nine classrooms were enough when the school was first established. But no additional ones were built as the student population increased hence the acute shortage."

He said the available classrooms were congested.

"Up to 100 pupils are forced into one classroom, which makes learning almost impossible. The pupils are unable to concentrate and this has affected their performance," he said.

Over 400 Standard Four, Five, Six and Seven pupils have been affected as the lower classes were allocated the available space.

The school currently has 782 pupils and 75 Early Childhood and Development Education children, who also lack learning facilities.

Mwakha said another six classrooms were needed to make learning possible.

"We are asking our leaders to step in and help us," he said.

And at Shirotsa Secondary, there is no space for Form One and Form Four students.

"Students are forced to learn under trees or in the nearby Catholic church and this has also affected the operations of Ebuhala Health Centre," said Rosemary Shiundu, the principal.

Owade of Shitoyi Muslim Primary said their appeals for help had yielded nothing.

"We have been to the offices of the local MCA and the Constituency Development Fund but nothing is forthcoming."

Habil Nanjendo, the MCA, said the school should present its concerns to the CDF office because education fell under the national government.

Last year, health officials closed Ludodo Primary School in Likuyani for two weeks due to lack of toilets.

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