Learning not resumed in Mau schools

Friday, September 20th, 2019 00:00 |

Learning has not resumed in all the 15 schools in Maasai Mau forest which the government briefly closed last month.

Their doors remain closed a month after schools reopened with no teachers in sight, a spot check by the PD found out yesterday.

Parents said it was insecure to take their children to schools with some saying they have enrolled them in other learning institutions outside the forest, about a month to the expiry of 60 days notice for settlers to leave.

Safety assurance

“Our future and safety here is not assured and therefore we cannot take our children to school,” said Elizabeth Chepkwony, who has lived in Loliondo area west of the 46,000 hectare forest since 1999.

She said teachers, even those employed by Parents Teachers Association (PTA) have fled the area. Chepkwony said security personnel comprising of Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers presence was intimidating them.

William Cheruiyot of Sierra Leone settlement asked the government to compensate settlers who have legal claim over the forest land. “All those with title deeds should be paid out. After all we were given the titles by the government,” he said.

Dismiss claims

Dickson Ritan, the head of the Joint Mau Security Force said his personnel are not under any instruction to interfere with settlers lives and dismissed claims that their presence is the reason pupils are yet to report to schools.

“Parents are to blame for children’s absence from schools. We have deployed the officer to curb further dehydration of the forest and not to harass locals,” he said.

He spoke as more than 60 security personnel from RDU arrived in the  forest ahead of the eviction.

Early this month, the government reversed a directive to close 15 schools that fall under a section targeted for phase II of the evictions at the Mau.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya said the decision was made in order to allow candidates in the schools to sit for their national examinations uninterrupted in October.

He, however, maintained that the families who have encroached the water tower would still be required to move upon the expiry of the 60-day grace period, which, he said, also coincided with the last day of the national examinations.

Grace period

Natembeya said households with no children in school should use the grace period to slowly leave the forest.

“We made a decision to let the pupils go back to school until after the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) which will be done at the lapse of the 60 days window to allow the settlers move,” he said.

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