Residents of Mitangani Village in the newly created Kauma Sub-County in Kilifi have protested a plan to relocate the 20-year-old Mitangani Primary School to a new site.
But Ganze Sub-County Education Officer Omar Borura insisted the school will be relocated based on a technical viewpoint and a ground report they have.
The school bordering mining quarries was among those featured in the schools of misery documentary by NTV in 2017.
In a meeting held at the school to chat the way forward, parents and the board of management blamed politics for the sorry state of the institution.
They said that if structures in the school can be improved, then the more than 200 pupils learning at the school will be at home with education.
Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire, former Jaribuni Ward representative Emanuel Chai and the chairman of the school board of management Willispa Chiwai attended the meeting.
A resident, Saumu Chongowe, from Marere Village said the locality of the school is ideal for her children and insisted that relocation will affect them.
“I come from Marere and for my children to get here in time, I have to wake them early. The situation will worsen if this school is relocated to Wamboi as it means they will have to wake up earlier which is not healthy,” she said.
Mr Chiwai blamed the residents’ predicaments on wrangles by politicians, saying their continued squabbling about the institution is not helping the school.
“This school has 260 pupils and it has been here for the past 20 years. That period is enough for it to have developed, but the dilapidated structures speak volumes of the situation here. Some politicians want it moved while others want it to remain. That has affected it [very much],” he said.
Mr Chiwai said he brought some investors who wanted to construct some classrooms but left after they were stopped by another politician.
“I tried even allocating some Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) classrooms but they were stopped, reason being the school will be relocated to another place. With that, my hands were tied,” he said.
Mr Mwambire said he was yet to get a report on relocation of the school.
He said the school had been in existence for the past 20 years and that quarrying and mining companies operating in the area ought to have taken preventive measures to address blast and dust emissions.
“Even if we relocate this school, the children still live here with their parents so they would be going to the new school but return to live in this dust-infested village.
"The only thing is to talk to the companies and see how they can prevent dust from affecting the people. We will discuss this with the concerned authorities but most important, the school will not move, at least for now,” the MP said.
But Mr Borura said he toured the school, did an assessment and that the school cannot be registered because of environmental hazards.
“The school required registration but we cannot recommend its registration on the grounds that the place is not suitable for establishment of a school. There are so many hazards including dust and noise pollution. The rocky ground cannot allow for the digging of pit latrines,” Mr Borura said.
He said it was also not advisable to set up permanent classrooms because of the persistent blasts from nearby quarries which will end up cracking the walls
“I advised the school’s management to get a technical report from National Environment Authority (Nema) because the agency will give a final say on whether the school will be there. Unfortunately our teachers have already refused to work in that school,” said Mr Borura.
Mr Borura said the matter has been highly politicised although the correct position is that there can be no school because of technical issues.
“There are people politicising the issue but from a technical viewpoint, it is not fair to say that a school can be in that area. Those pushing for the school there have no mitigation measures if it will remain there,” he said.