Parents risk arrest over learners who are still at home 

Education CS George Magoha

Photo by Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Parents staying home with school children, including girls who gave birth, risk arrest as the government goes all out to have all learners in class by the end of this week.

Fearing mass dropout, the ministries of Education, Devolution and Interior are working with county governments to ensure all children resume school as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Jamhuri Day.

In a circular Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang sent to regional, county and sub-county directors of education, the officials were instructed to work closely with regional coordinators, county commissioners, deputy county commissioners, chiefs and their assistants “to ensure children who fail to report to school are immediately traced and brought back to school”.

Already, chiefs, village elders and members of Nyumba Kumi are moving from door to door hunting for learners who are still out of class.

In school, head teachers are under instruction to submit daily attendance reports to the sub-county directors of education for onward transmission to the directors of primary and of secondary education at the ministry headquarters.

Teachers have also been warned against sending home learners for non-payment of fees so that they can remain in class to make up for the nine months they have lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cheptunoiyo Primary School
Pupils at Cheptunoiyo Primary School on January 5, 2021 after schools across the country reopened. Most schools in Baringo have recorded low turnout of learners. Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Additionally, the Devolution ministry will ensure successful delivery of food to regions that have school feeding programmes soonest possible to facilitate a quick return to normalcy.
School girls who became pregnant or gave birth during the nine-month closure have also been instructed to go back to school.

Education Chief Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia called on county education officials to account for every learner.

He directed the officers to enroll learners whose private schools closed down due to Covid-19 losses. “Public schools have enough space and nobody shall be locked out,” he said during inspection of school reopening in Mombasa.

“All pregnant school girls and those who have already given birth are all our children and must go back to school. Do not hide those girls, let them go back to school and learn, pregnancy is not a disease” he said.

Coast Regional Coordinator John Elungata said the region had recorded 85 per cent turnout and assured education stakeholders that by the end of the week, all learners will be in school.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha also expressed satisfaction at the rate of reporting when he monitored the reopening in Kiambu and Nyeri.

He said the ministry will on Friday issue a statement on the state of reopening.

“We had challenges in the Coast and North Eastern region, but we are focusing on them. In Turkana and a few other areas, we know that the feeding programme, which attracts the children to school, has not started yet. The food has been purchased and is in the stores,” Prof Magoha said at St Luke Githwariga Primary in Nyeri.

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