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Report: How school land is grabbed

NAIROBI
By Augustine Oduor | November 30th 2015

A report by the county government has named private developers and religious organisations among top grabbers of public school land.

The Nairobi County task force report on the 'Improvement of Performance of Public Primary Schools and Transition Rate from Primary to Secondary Education' also reveals how many schools have lost huge chunks of land to private and religious entities.

The report findings state that the relationship between schools and religious institutions begins with 'elements of partnership' through hiring or providing infrastructure or services to the schools, but later strains begin to emerge when each entity is pursuing expansion.

"The task force observed that out of every 10 visited schools, one had a complaint on encroachment, either by private developers, religious organisations or illegal settlements," reads the report in part.

The report says that through their findings, most of the public properties have been grabbed by private developers who hive off part of school land.

It also says that religious institutions have acquired certain sections of public school land through charitable exercises that eventually lead to illegal possession.

"...they come up with the language of assisting schools such as helping to put up facilities such as toilets in the school and later ask to be leased part of school land after which they eventually, in collaboration with authorities, acquire illegal allocations," reads the report.

The 35-member team, chaired by Mark Matunga, further noted that some schools were being taken over by partners and the county council had lost control of them.

"Schools such as Catholic Parochial, Khalsa Boys and Girls South C and Muslim Girls primary schools offer examples," reads the report.

The task force says the list could be longer, noting that the above named schools are only those that presented written submission.

The task force says it received numerous submissions through public forums, interviews and complaint letters from heads of institutions, parents and residents.

The report recommends a thorough audit of city public land meant for schools with the aim of immediate repossession.

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