Teachers struggle to serve in Security prone areas, say Kindiki

CS Interior Prof Kithure Kindiki before the Senate Security , Defence and Foreign Relations committee at the Parliament buildings. [ Elvis Ogina,Standard]

Tribulations of teachers in Arid and Semi-Arid Land areas have continued to affect the delivery of services to learners.

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki explained how the government has to move all non-local teachers to safer grounds for fear of terrorist attacks.

Kindiki said that teachers have to take refuge in makeshift or in police stations for their safety.

The CS said it is from here that the tutors are transported to and from their respective schools every day.

"We have removed all non- local teachers from risky to safer areas until the current wave of threat is handled," Kindiki said.

CS was speaking when he appeared before National Assembly Education Committee chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly.

Melly wanted the government to guarantee teachers security as schools reopen for a third term.

‘‘Schools are closing and will be opening in a month's time, the teachers who are stigmatized on watching their colleagues killed. How can we help such teachers come to terms,’’ said Melly.

Kindiki said: ‘‘We put them all at one place where we feel their safety is guaranteed as we continue addressing the problem.”

Luanda MP Dick Maungu noted that teachers are traumatised, affecting delivery of services to learners.

‘‘Life of our teachers is at risk, how can you expect a teacher to hide somewhere for a night and wake up the following day to attend to learners in class,’’ Maungu said.

Nyamira MP, Jerusha Momanyi, wondered how security of teachers will be guaranteed at makeshifts when colleagues are killed while at police stations.

 ‘‘Why are the non-locals targeted even in the police stations, police escape death but teachers are killed,’’ Momanyi said.

However, Kindiki said, the government has deployed elite security personnel to the area for teachers' security.

 ‘‘When they realised the police stations were used to host teachers, they started bombing the stations. We had to improve on critical infrastructure as part of our plan,’’ Kindiki said.

He revealed that 37 teachers have been killed while travelling during school holidays to their home counties.

Another 29 security officers, eight engineers contracting roads in the area as well as three hydrogeologists have also been killed.

"The type of threat in the North Eastern region requires more deployment of elite police and we don't have enough. Some of the terror elements have increased from the neighbouring Somalia," he added.

Mandera South MP Haro Abdul said many teachers are forced to stay without travelling home for fear of their security.

‘‘Majority of teachers don’t even travel home during holidays for fear of attacks. There are no security personnel for teachers in remote areas to register their concerns,’’ Abdul.

Kiambu MP Anne Wanjiku wondered why local leaders have kept silent over the matter while teachers continue losing lives.

‘‘Does the issue have political goodwill? How does this happen with the watch of local leaders, are we seeing a false play,’’ Wanjiku said.

Malava MP Malulu Injendi wondered why teachers posted in the region are the target of the attackers without the knowledge of the administrators.

‘‘Those causing terror in the area are locals. We have administrators in those areas who sit to watch such incidents. How powerful are they?’’ Injendi asked.

The CS blamed the challenge to political influence as well as threat from local communities for compromising the security with money.

‘‘Threats from the local community to non-local continue to harm our education. It is not only affecting teachers but the children of the locals themselves,’’ he added.

‘‘The attackers sometimes have been accessing the area three days before the attacks. This means they get information and are housed by the locals for the greed of money.’’

However, the CS said it would be prudent for the Teachers Service Commission to ensure teachers deployed from other regions don't take long to serve in the area.

He also suggested that the government should encourage scholarships for local students to take teaching courses which will reduce teachers’ shortage, and consider risk allowances to teachers serving in the ASAL region.

He also recommended flight tickets for teachers traveling back home, investing in technology to reduce physical movement as well as recruitment of local teachers as a long term solution.