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Why some schools will not be reopening today

By Standard Team | January 4th 2021

Lake Baringo Secondary School in Baringo North. Its flooding has been caused by the rising waters of Lake Baringo. [File, Standard]

After staying at home for 10 months as a result of the Covid-19-imposed holiday, some learners will resume school today in very difficult circumstances. 

In Elgeyo Marakwet, over 200 students of a school buried by landslides in April last year will be relocated, awaiting completion of a new school, which is under construction.

Students of Liter Girls Secondary School, which was located on the border of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties, will temporarily be moved to St Paul’s Kapkondot Secondary School, over eight kilometres away from the destroyed school, according to the institution’s management.

Charles Kiptoo, a parent, asked the school administration and the Ministry of Education to expedite the construction of the new school to minimise congestion at St Paul’s Kapkondot.

“Most parents are anxious. We have to be told how our children will be taught in the new school,” he said.

Principal Hellen Kimutai said the school was to be relocated to a nearby village polytechnic, but there was not enough space at the vocational training centre.

Kimutai said she was confident construction of the new school will be completed before the end of this year.

She said the school administration has requested the government to deploy the National Youth Service (NYS) to hasten the construction.

“We have already received Sh100 million from the Ministry of Education. We have the designs of the classrooms, administration block, dormitories and other structures and they have been approved by the ministry,” the principal said.

Across the border, Chesegon Primary School in West Pokot County was swept away by floods and landslide on April 18, last year, and it will not open.

KCPE candidates and Grade Four pupils have been moved to Cheptulel Primary School while the rest of the learners will be moved to Chesegon Technical Training Institute whose construction is yet to be completed.

West Pokot County Education Director Jacob Onyiego said Chesegon primary is not suitable for learning after the destruction caused by the landslide.

In Baringo County, education officials and parents will have a rough time trying to accommodate hundreds of children displaced by swelling lakes Baringo and Bogoria in neighbouring schools.

At least 39 schools were either partially destroyed or completely submerged by water from the lakes, whose volumes have increased tremendously in the past one year.

Twelve primary, five secondary and 22 early childhood schools have been submerged.

The affected schools include Ngambo Secondary and Primary, Kiserian Primary, Nosukro Primary, Lake Baringo and Kiserian Secondary.

Kampi Samaki Primary School will host Lake Baringo Secondary students, while Meisori Secondary will host Salabani Secondary learners.  Ngambo Secondary students will be accommodated by Lake Bogoria Girls.

Plans by national and county governments to rehabilitate the schools have hit a snag, as there is no end in sight to the lakes’ swelling.

Meanwhile, school heads in Nakuru are struggling with the headache of distributing teachers, as more classes are set to be established to attain social distancing among learners. A spot check by The Standard established that all the schools in Nakuru County selected to receive additional desks and chairs from the government received 50 desks each.

Grace Maina, the principal of St Maria Veronica Girls School, said the institution, with 650 learners, now needs an additional six teachers even after recently recruiting two.

“We had 10 classrooms and have completed the construction of four new ones. We have two laboratories and two tents, which will create another four classes. However, we don’t have enough teachers to attend to all the new classes,” said Maina.

The situation is the same at Menengai High School where principal Richard Ngatia said they have so far created four extra classrooms.

[Stephen Rutto, Irissheel Shanzu, Julius Chepkwony, Kennedy Gachuhi, Antony Gitonga and James Munyeki]

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