Understaffing, insecurity, drought and poor fees payment are some of the main challenges facing education sector in West Pokot County.
The Chairman of the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association in West Pokot County, Jonathan Siwanyang said the secondary section requires 500 teachers while primary has a short fall of 1,800 tutors.
Speaking Friday at Sigor Mixed Primary school in Pokot Central sub county, during the county education and prize giving day, Siwanyang called upon the Teachers Service Commission to give the county the first priority during the next teachers recruitment.
The chairman observed that some of the challenges had contributed to low transition of learners from primary to secondary schools in spite of the increase in the number of secondary schools.
‘The county has a total of 582 public primary schools with an enrolment of 183,481 pupils and served by only 3,029 teachers while the secondary section with 121 schools and enrolment of 29,537 have only 798 teachers.
He added that the local education office has not been spared, with acute shortage of education officers, quality assurance and standard officers both in county and sub county offices.
Siwanyang said three schools are still closed along the border with Elgeyo Marakwet county due to the recent upsurge of insecurity in the Kerio Valley.
‘Despite being ranked first and fifteenth in secondary and primary respectively in national examinations, some schools in some parts of the county are still closed due to cattle rustling and banditry’, said the chairman.
Speaking during the same function, area deputy governor Titus Lotee opposed the deployment of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in the area, suggesting for the recruitment of more Kenya Police Reservists (KPR) will be more helpful.
Lotee pointed out that the practice of banditry and cattle rustling by some few individuals and government security operations contributed to high percentage of school dropouts and displacements, saying a better lasting solution need to be put in place to address cases of insecurity.
‘Cattle rustling, banditry and operations displace many school going children which affect their performance, especially along the border with Turkana and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties. I appealed to the national government to provide security to schools prone to insecurity’, said Lotee.
He pointed out that cases of insecurity have been witnessed in the region despite the government doing over 26 security operations.
‘Over 26 operations have been done with no achievement and this indicates that the operations are not the best way. I appeal to the government to put more resources in the area by building more schools and improving infrastructure’, he said.
During the last year examination, the County presented 10,751 KCPE candidates and was ranked 15 nationally with a mean score of 254.91 and secondary registered 5,121 KCSE candidates and ranked position one nationally with a mean score of 5.074.
Those who managed to get a minimum university grade of C plus and above were 1,305 and 67 got E grade.
The county registered a reduction in quality grades and an increase in the number of lower grades owing to the drop in the performance in English, Kiswahili and some sciences in most schools.
Source: Kenya News Agency