Focus on learner’s safety as national exams near

Teacher Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Education CS Prof George Magoha after the launch the 2021 National Examination timetable on February 18, 2022. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has ordered specialised security provision for schools in banditry-prone North Rift counties ahead of the national exam.

The enhanced measures are in addition to an ongoing security operation ordered a few weeks ago. The CS met leaders from Baringo, Elegeyo Marakwet, and West Pokot in Nakuru to discuss security.

Speaking when he launched the 2022 revised education calendar in Nairobi yesterday, the CS said areas affected by insecurity have been identified.

"We have security challenges in North Rift, parts of Lamu, and parts of North Eastern. The police have sufficient resources," he said.

His comment comes after a Tot High School bus driver was killed and two teachers and 13 learners injured in a bandit attack on Arror-Mogil road.

The attackers sprayed bullets on three school buses in the volatile Kerio Valley.

The two teachers were seriously injured in the shooting that happened minutes before 10pm on Thursday near Chesuman Primary School. The buses were ferrying students of Tot Mixed Day Secondary School from an academic field trip.

Tot Mixed Day Secondary students were in three buses – one belonging to their institution, one from Kerio Valley Secondary School and another from Mogil Secondary School. Witnesses said the attackers sprayed bullets on Mogil Secondary School bus which was at the front.

Elgeyo Marakwet Police Commander Patrick Lumumba said the 12 students and two teachers were taken to health facilities in Kerio Valley before being transferred to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Mediheal in Eldoret.

Others were taken to Kapsowar AIC Mission Hospital.

Lumumba said the driver died on the spot.

“There is tension in the area. Police officers were deployed to evacuate the injured students and teachers and take them to hospitals. Officers are still at the scene,” he said. MTRH chief executive Wilson Aruasa said two injured students were received at the facility at dawn on Friday. 

“Two students from Tot were brought in with gunshot injuries; one to the chest and the other to the right axilla. Surgery was done and both are stable,” Dr Aruasa said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen condemned the attack.

They accused Matiang’i of not carrying out a security operation which he promised while in Nakuru last month.

The attack heightened tension in the region, with leaders and residents questioning whether the government was ready to have the children sit the national examinations.

Following the wave of insecurity in Lomoiywet, Baringo South, and in Kerio Valley, residents have expressed fears that learners might not sit the examination that starts next month.

Residents have expressed fear that children might shy away from going to school to sit the exam. Last month, at least nine schools were closed following attacks by armed herders. The schools included Kapkechir primary and secondary, Tuiyotich primary and secondary, Karne primary and secondary, Kasiela primary, Sinoni primary and secondary.

Assistant Chief Stephen Lobeles yesterday confirmed that learning had resumed in various schools.

Lobeles said several said people have started going back to their homes.