Thousands yet to resume class after schools opened

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 00:00 |
Muthale Girls’ High School (Kitui) students wait to board a public service vehicle at Afya Centre in Nairobi on January 5. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

Noven Owiti, Evans Nyakundi and KNA

More than 45,000 learners in Homa Bay county are yet to report to school days after physical learning resumption.

The learners who were enrolled in various public and private schools across the county are still missing 10 days after schools re-opened last week. 

Homa Bay County Commissioner Moses Lilan said only 261,978 out of a total enrollment of 306,109 pupils in public primary schools have reported back.

Of the 39,715 pupils, 27,424 of them in private primary schools have returned to class. Homa Bay has 881 public and 240 private primary schools.

In secondary schools, 83,224 out of 100,011 students in 331 public secondary schools have reported back.

While only 1,750 out of 2,748 students from private secondary schools have returned.

Still missing 

Lilan said more than 15 per cent of learners in the county are still missing. He said government officials across the county are on a mission to mop up the missing learners, while urging parents to take advantage of their good will to ensure their children report to school.

The administrator noted that the crackdown will extend to beaches and mining sites where the learners could be engaged in child labour.

“Our officers are on the ground trying to trace the learners to enable them to report back to class.

A majority of them are girls,” he said, adding that they are working with the Ministry of Education in the exercise.

He added: “As much as we understand the economic status of parents occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic, it is prudent that they make efforts to support their children return to school.”

Record of learners

Addressing the press on Tuesday, Lilan said his office is also taking records of learners who might have sought transfers.

He also emphasised that all pregnant girls will have to go back to school.

“We have recorded more than 7,000 cases of children rights violations since the outbreak of Covid-19,” he added.

School boys in Samburu County have recorded the lowest turnout after schools were re-opened following a nine-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a report by the Samburu County education office has revealed. 

The report shows the low turnout is due to the male circumcision season of 2019/2020 that takes place after every 10  years which saw school boys from the age of eight years undergo the rite of passage to a new age-set of Moran’s. 

Speaking Monday in Samburu County after an inspection tour of primary and secondary schools in the area, Samburu women representative Maison Leshoomo noted that most boys opt to drop out of school after becoming Morans coupled by insecurity in Samburu North.

  Leaders from Nyamira county have expressed concern over the high number of learners who have not reported back to school.

Hardest hit is Matongo sub-location in North Mugirango constituency where 375 learners are yet to report back to their schools.

The leaders who were led by Nyamira Women Representative Jerusha Momanyi  have as a result started a village to village campaign to flush out the absentee learners and return them to school.

The leaders also visited schools where the children were learning and held discussions with the respective head teachers over their absence.

At Matongo Boys High School, 117 learners are yet to return to school, more than  a week since schools re-opened countrywide.

Speaking to reporters at  Matongo Primary School where 21 learners are also yet to report back school, Ms Momanyi called for the arrest of the parents whose children are still at home.

Five girls from the sub-location are said to have been married while more than 10 are pregnant.

Ms Momanyi asked the police and the provincial administration to arrest those who have married the learners and arraign them in court.

Rites of passage

Also during the inspection tour, Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu directed that all school age boys that have not reported to school be traced and enrolled back, while appreciating that rites of passage is part of many cultures in Kenya but it should not lead to school drop-outs.

 “Chiefs should work with the ward administrators and village council of elders to trace the boys who have not yet reported.

We risk losing an entire generation if these boys are not traced and brought back to school,” he said.

He lauded the girls who have escaped early marriages and those that have given birth and enrolled back to school saying that counselling services would be made available to help them cope with their new lives.

  At the same time, the PS was concerned, Samburu County has one of the lowest students turn out in the country with 71 percent of secondary students, 50 percent for primary school and 40 percent for ECD.

Samburu central Deputy County Commissioner John Otieno assured that all chiefs and their assistants are cooperating to ensure that all the students have gone back to class. 

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