Only 2,556 of the country’s 27,943 public schools have title deeds for the land they occupy, a National Lands Commission (NLC) report has shown.
The report indicates that a further 3,043 schools have transfers prepared while 71 have letters of allotment issued.
This means 22,273 or 79.7 per cent of the schools do not have any documents of ownership, thus providing an opportunity for land grabbers to claim the parcels.
In its end-of-term report, the NLC says the national schools titling exercise spearhead by the Commission since 2015 as part of its mandate to manage public land on behalf of the national and county governments, revealed the disparities.
This followed a presidential directive compelling the Commission, in consultation with other stakeholders, to ensure titles for all public schools were issued. The directive came after a spate of land grabbing cases, key among them being the Lang’ata Road Primary School incident.
“With the increase in grabbing of land for public institutions, the Commission gave a policy direction for processing of titles to all Government institutions. A national working group comprised of the Commission as the lead agency, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, Ministry of Education and the Shule Yangu Alliance was established to drive the process,” NLC says.
Waived legal fees
The Government then waived legal fees for preparation and registration of title deeds for schools and currently survey is being undertaken by the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning free of charge.
An analysis of data collected in 2015 by the Kenya Primary School Heads Association and the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association indicated that out of the 29,404 public schools, 24,405 (83 per cent) did not have any form of ownership documents.
Up to 16,172 (55 per cent) were not surveyed, 12,055 (41 per cent) were at risk of encroachment and grabbing and 4,100 (14 per cent) had reported land grabbing/contestation cases.
The NLC report further indicated that all schools in 16 counties of Tana River, Lamu, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Narok, Kajiado, Bomet, Nyamira, Kisii and Migori did not have any title.
In Kisii County, with one of the highest number of public schools in the country, only 80 of the 1,062 schools had documents of transfer prepared.
In Nairobi, 97 of 361 schools were found to have titles bearing the name of the defunct Nairobi City Council, while seven had allotment letters.
The report indicates that most schools in Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga and Busia counties have titles bearing names of individuals.
The working group undertook audits in Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, Kisumu, Siaya, Murang’a, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi, Embu, Makueni, Kitui, Kajiado, Machakos, Nakuru, Bomet, Kericho, Kisii, Kirinyaga, Homa Bay, Migori and Nyeri counties.