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Primary schools with dilapidated classrooms cry out for facelift

By Standard Team | January 20th 2016
Class four pupils of Ang'ongo primary school in muhoroni Kisumu county study in dilapidated mud wall classroom.

Kisumu: As Ministry of Education officials continue to raid schools to establish whether money allocated to them by the Government was spent diligently, the state of some of these institutions can only be described as pathetic.

One of these schools is Akingili Primary in Kisumu West sub-county.  The school’s infrastructure, according to the head teacher Kepha Olum, is the most dilapidated in the region. Mr Olum complained that the allocation from the Government is measly and only enough to do maintenance work on the mud-walled classrooms.

The teacher said that every year the school has a budget of around Sh200,000 and receives Sh160,000 for free primary education that comes in three tranches to cater for a population of 250 pupils.

“Every year we use part of the money on teachers’ remuneration, which takes up around Sh100,000, and other general purposes, including maintenance of school facilities leaving nothing for any new project,” he said.

The school has 12 teachers, eight employed by the Teachers Service Commission. The remaining four are paid by the school.

Mr Olum said that schools in the neighbouhood are well-established, giving the example of Kodiaga, Alara and Ogada.

“As other schools are dreaming big, we are left with nothing to do as we cannot even undertake a project of more than Sh150,000. That would mean all the activities in the school would be paralysed,” he said.

He said the mud-walled classrooms must be plastered every year as the walls are usually damaged by heavy rains.

After The Standard highlighted the plight of the school a year ago, Mr Olum said the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) built an administrative block at the cost of Sh1 million.

Permanent Classrooms

The CDF and Local Authorities Service Delivery Action Plan also built some permanent classes in the school during the 2008-9 financial year.

He said the school infrastructure would be in a better condition if schools were still allowed to raise funds through levies.

“We cannot even afford to fence the school, which sits on about seven acres. There is need for the Education ministry to review the measures it uses to fund primary schools,” said Olum.

In Muhoroni sub-county the state of Ang’ogo Primary School is also wanting. The school with 300 pupils, one of the oldest in the area, has dilapidated infrastructure, a situation which has caused pupils to move to neighbouring schools.

None of the structures at the institution looks safe for habitation, with Early Childhood Development Education and lower primary pupils being the most affected.

The mud walls of some of the classes have fallen off.

Teachers say this has made it difficult for the pupils to concentrate in class as their attention is easily disrupted by the happenings outside.

The school administration says members of the community have been lending a hand to repair the mud houses.

“The allocation from the Government is too little to construct classes, much of it is used for repairs and other recurrent expenditure,” said Chris Ouko, the deputy head teacher.

He added: “We are well aware that our pupils are at risk in these kind of structures but we have no option considering that the surrounding community cannot offer needed support.”

Elsewhere, Nyayo Primary School in Bondo sub-county has classrooms that were built with poor quality materials. The school received Sh700,000 from CDF to renovate its classrooms.

Henry Oyugi, a parent, accuses the school of engaging unqualified contractors who did shoddy work.

But the school’s Board of Management Chairman Henry Oyamo said the contractor has done a good job and those claiming that funds were embezzled are misleading the public.

“The work done is commensurate to the amount allocated for the project and the contractor has even done more than expected,” Mr Oyamo said.

The contractor, John Abuonji, told The Standard that they are working as per the bill of quantities (BQ).

“The BQ indicated floor hacking, plastering and painting of four classrooms. Roof renovation was not indicated,” he said adding the Sh700,000 was not enough to repair the classes.

— Report by Rushdie Oudia, Kevine Omolo and Isaiah Gwengi

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