Education CS Prof George Magoha has asked national government and education officials in Baringo to use Nyumba Kumi initiative to mop up class 8 leavers still at home and ensure they are enrolled in Form One.
Prof Magoha challenged the education stakeholders to use the community policing method to spot and call out the standard eight candidates and ensure they join form one before Friday this week.
Speaking during a multi sectoral door to door campaign on Monday, the CS accompanied by his Labour and Social Protection counterpart Simon Chelugui and chief administrative secretary (CAS) Patrick ole Ntutu, expressed displeasure that the county had recorded a low transition rate of 80 percent and it was high time stakeholders commit themselves fully in the process of looking for the absentee learners.
He urged area county commissioner Henry Wafula who was present during the campaign to mobilize his team and visit the villages to find out reasons that might have hindered some parents to take their children to schools they had been admitted.
“We would like to see all children reporting to school in this county latest by Friday and if they are not in school let’s know why they are missing out,” he said.
The education CS who in the better part of the morning led the team in fishing out four needy children from outskirts of Kabarnet town and admitted them at Kituro mixed secondary school said that children from other sub counties with similar challenges shall be identified so that they can benefit from four-year government sponsorship.
He at the same time called on well-wishers more so the affluent to chip in and support children from poor households who lack fees and other basic necessities in order for them to pursue their education to the highest level.
Prof Magoha who also presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for reconstruction of Salabani primary school in Marigat funded by Child Fund Kenya at an estimated Sh30 million noted with disappointment that Rift Valley region was among those that had registered poor transition rate at 84 percent.
He lauded Child Fund for funding reconstruction of the school which had relocated 7 kilometers away from its original site after it was destroyed by flooding of Lake Baringo.
Magoha encouraged other organizations to follow the footsteps of Child Fund and help education infrastructure development in the insecurity prone zone for local children to access quality education like their counterparts in other parts of the country.
Cabinet secretary for Labour and Social Protection Simon Chelugui, while reiterating the sentiments, attributed the low transition rate to myriad challenges like child neglect and abuse by parents which he says was rampant in the county.
Chelugui noted that between July 2020 and August 2021 a total of 3,755 cases of violence against children have been reported in the county with Baringo Central leading with 1,008 cases followed by Koibatek with 1,110 cases.
He called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to reverse the trend and ensure children are not deprived of their right to education as enshrined in the constitution and Children Act of 2001.
Chelugui added that issues of floods especially in Baringo South and Tiaty have hindered smooth learning hence the need for support from partners for learners to study in their respective schools until they transit to the next level of education.
In his remarks Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis encouraged school heads to be lenient to parents by not sending children who have not cleared payment since the economic situation was pathetic.
Kiptis said instead of sending students home it was imperative that principals and concerned parents write a memorandum of understanding on how the fees will be paid in installments to minimize cases of absenteeism and dropouts.
He lamented that Tiaty for example has a 26 percent retention rate yet only 10 percent are able to complete form four, a matter he noted need to be keenly looked into so that the region can eradicate issues of cattle rustling.
“Let us encourage our children on the importance of school because it is from there that we can create a better life for them in future,” he said.
Baringo South MP Charles Kamuren stated that apart from the insecurity challenge, the region was also grappling with issues of rising water level in local lakes which had seen nine schools closed. He said they have managed to reopen five of them so far.
Child Fund Africa Regional Director Chege Ngugi said that the organization will put up eight modern classrooms, two ECDE classes fitted with tiles, administration block, and pit latrines in addition to purchasing 400 desks, 170 chairs and 45 tables.