Leaders come together to discuss education crisis in Northern Kenya

The Sauti Kuu Foundation Executive Chairperson, Dr. Auma Obama on Friday urged local students from Northern Kenya to enroll into the teaching profession in order to avert the crisis in the education sector in the semi arid region.

Dr. Obama said locals need to come up with solutions by starting to enroll secondary school graduates to colleges and universities to study the teaching profession.

The Somali refugees have affected their Kenyan Somali brothers in one way or another but I urge the community to focus on how they will get enough locals enrolled for the teaching profession, said Obama.

In a panel discussion that focused on challenges and solutions on the Northern Kenya education crisis, in Nairobi on Friday, the Sauti Kuu founder further urged the youth to venture into blue collar jobs instead of running after white collar jobs saying that everyone can make it in life regardless of the kind of job they do.

The panelists were debating on the different problems facing the education sector in the region during the 4th Annual Somali heritage week at the Kenya National theatre.

The Garissa University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ahmed Warfa accused non local teachers of using the region as a training ground, saying that they ask for transfers after getting experience within a period of two to three years.

He further said that refugees have played a major role in the Northern Kenya education crisis as teachers are employed by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that operate within the refugee camps and also are renumerated well.

NGOs operating within the refugee camps are employing teachers , giving them higher salaries yet our children are left to suffer and yet we are the ones hosting them in our country, said Warfa.

He called upon the government to take the refugees back to their country so that the teachers who have gone to do other jobs can come back to class and continue teaching the students who are in dire need of education.

The Frontier Counties Development Council Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Guleid said the education menace in the region has no direct link with the Al shabaab attacks as poor performance was witnessed for the past decades as a result of political irrelevance.

When the other parts of the country got schools, we still never had one. For instance Rabai got its first school in 1864 and we got the first girls’ school in the early 80s so we can’t link the crisis to the Al shabaab attacks, said Guleid.

The Special envoy of the High Commissioner UNHCR for Somali Refugees, Amb. Mohamed Affey also emphasised on education in the refugee camps particularly Dadaab, saying that enrollment in schools is low.

The Development Communication and Social Change Specialist, Hassan Diriye added that social disregard to the non-local teachers by the local community affects the morale of the teachers stating name calling as one of the main social disregards shown by the community.

He said that leaders from the region can give the youth what it takes to study teaching yet the youth are the ones who are refusing to go for the course.

We are asking ourselves how can we train the local youth but have we asked ourselves why are youth shunning the teaching profession? asked Diriye.

The Barwaqo Secondary School � Wajir Principal, Hassan Dida said that historical background leads to the reason why students from Northern Kenya are not doing well.

The Principal said that the withdrawal of non-local teachers from the region has helped the community to realise the importance of having local teachers.

The withdrawal has really opened the eyes of the community in terms of training local teachers and that has made some parents to mentor their children into the profession, he said.

Dida further said that technology in education is a problem for the region due to lack of electricity and poor internet connectivity.

He said form four leavers are ready for the profession as they were among the students who are affected when they are learning.

Education in Northern Kenya has never been the same since the invasion of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) into Somalia following attacks on non-local teachers around the region with the recent one targeting teachers at Arabia Boys Secondary School.

The Somali Heritage Week is an annual event that brings together people of different sectors and celebrates positive change and cultures in the communities.

Source: Kenya News Agency