Learners from needy families work in quarry to raise school fees

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 00:00 |
Some of the learners who are yet to join Form One crash ballast. Photo/PD/Mathew Ndung’u

Despite defying hard-hitting circumstances precipitated by Covid-19 to finish their primary studies, some learners from Nyacaba village in Juja, Kiambu county are staring at a bleak future as their parents are unable to afford high school fees. 

For Sharon Owili who scored 214 marks and Terry Kawira who managed 331 marks in the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, their hopes of joining their dream schools have been shattered. 

Poverty and lack of fees have now forced them to crash ballast to help their parents eke out a living.

On a good day, they make between Sh50 to Sh100 for crashing a bucket of ballast, money they say goes towards supporting their parents pay rent, buy food and other basic provisions.

“I was called to join Kirinyaga Girls but my mother has not even paid rent for two months. I have been helping her meet our basic needs by working at quarries,” said Kawira.

Jane Murugi, Kawira’s mother said she has tried all avenues to have her daughter in school in vain. 

She said she sought help from local leaders including chiefs and politicians and applied for bursary to no avail.

Murugi said most of the schools she has visited have been demanding between Sh10,000 and Sh15,000 to admit her daughter.

Millicent Akinyi, whose daughter has also been roaming around for lack of school fees has urged the government intervene to help their children proceed to high school to prevent them from early pregnancies and indulging in substance abuse.

Despite Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha warning that parents who fail to take their children to school risk arrest, the Nyacaba parents said they no longer fear being imprisoned as they desire to have them in schools but financial constraints do not allow.

County Director of Education Victoria Mulili yesterday said that while her office was not aware of the cases, stern action will be taken against parents found to have denied their children right to education. 

She further added that learners should not be denied admission because of lacking uniform, saying the ministry has allowed them to remain in available clothing until their parents procure them uniform.

“I will follow up the matter with the ministry representative and the local authorities,” she said.

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