CS Magoha goes door-to-door looking for missing learners
Irene Githinji and Alvin Mwangi
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha yesterday launched a door-to-door campaign to trace 400,000 pupils who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) last year but have yet to take up their Form One slots this year.
Going by Magoha’s figures, it means just over 60 per cent of the 1,075,201 students who were expected to join secondary school have reported, an indication that the government’s drive to achieve 100 per cent transition has been straddled by a myriad of factors, including poverty with many parents across the country unable to raise fees and buy basic requirement for enrolment of the learners.
To achieve the targeted transition rate, Magoha hit the ground today to fish out the missing students, most of who are in the poverty-stricken villages and informal urban dwellings.
He called on the national government administration officers to work with education officials on the ground to trace the pupils who are yet to report to their schools.
“This has to be done like yesterday, I will still move around the rest of this week but the multiplier effect of having everyone getting involved, all arms of government in terms of the police and chiefs, move along and ensure that the process is on going.
There are still over 400,000 sitting out there who have not been admitted yet the government has said every child must go to school and we will ensure that happens,” said Magoha, who spoke at Karen C Secondary School, Nairobi.
The government extended the reporting period from January 17 to 24 to give every learner a chance to report, in line with the 100 per cent transition rate.
Yesterday, he visited Old Kibra Primary, Nairobi, where he established that a majority of the 300 candidates who sat their KCPE there, had not reported to the school to pick their clearance letters, meaning they have either not reported to school or opted to join other institutions.
In the process of monitoring the Form One admission, he identified one of the learners, Josephine Nyandiwa, who scored 266 marks in last year’s KCPE but was still at home.
Magoha decided to look for Nyandiwa, who he found with her guardian, Abednego Sangolo, in their house.
The surprise visit caught them off guard and when he recovered his composure, Sangolo told the CS that he wished to take his niece to Imoyo Secondary School in Nyamira county but could not because he had no means.
The CS’s prompt action has now made Nyandiwa’s dream for learning a reality after being admitted to Karen C Girls in Nairobi.
“We have been able to identify one learner and made a firm decision to bring her to Karen C Girls where she will enjoy boarding facilities and the government will make sure that fees is paid for her,” said CS after ensuring Nyandiwa was admitted to her new school.
“I am grateful to God for opening doors and now my child can go to school. The CS has done a good job and may he continue helping others because in Kenya, education is key.
I was trying to seek ways to take her to school but they had not been successful,” said an elated Sangolo.
The CS said it was difficult to comprehend why many learners have yet to take up their Form One slots, saying a majority of secondary schools in the country are day secondary schools and government disburses money and thus not fees related.
“There must be another problem because the government pays everything in day secondary schools, which are also a majority.
There are still genuine cases and even though we offered scholarship it did not reach her, but now God has led me to her,” said the CS.
Meanwhile, Anglican Church of Kenya bishop Jackson ole Sapit has warned that the ongoing 100 percent transition could end up as blue print if the government fails to address the serious challenges of teachers’ shortage and the poor infrastructure in many schools across the country.
Sapit who was speaking yesterday in Mathare while commissioning a multipurpose community centre funded by an American-based NGO urged Magoha to lobby for more funds from the Treasury to employ more teachers and as well as in the construction of more schools to accommodate the huge number of learners.