A section of leaders from Embu County have blamed increased chewing of miraa for low education standards in Kagaari Ward in Runyenjes Constituency.
Led by the local professionals, educationists and elected leaders, they said over 60 per cent of boys have dropped out of school to engage in miraa farming.
They said that those in school engage in miraa chewing, leading to low concentration in class.
A number of girls have also dropped out to get married to rich miraa farmers, a situation the stakeholders said is so dire and that urgent interventions need to be taken.
POOR KCPE GRADES
Embu County Director of Early Childhood Education Jeremiah Ireri, who is a resident, said no pupil in the entire ward has in the last few years attained an average of 300 mark in KCPE exams.
He blamed parents for showing little concern to the education of their children, adding that it is disheartening that despite all the efforts made, performance in schools continues to be poor every year.
“Some parents do not even know how their children are performing in school. Parents need to monitor the progress of their children,” he said.
Mr Ireri said they will start mentorship programmes to motivate the learners to perform better.
He said they have taken an initiative to address the situation through active engagement of parents, teachers, communities and pupils from the more than 14 primary schools in the area.
Embu Woman Rep Jane Wanjuki, who led the group, said she will sponsor a Bill in the National Assembly on the welfare of boys so that they can pursue the opportunities education offers without obstacles such as child labour.
She pointed out that many boys in the county drop out of school to work in miraa farms noting that during a recent education day celebrations, about three-quarters of the pupils involved were girls.
In other areas, parents have given out miraa farms to their young sons to manage, a venture that is so lucrative that some make about Sh100,000 a day, making education irrelevant to some.
Runyenjes MP Eric Muchangi said they will work with the national government coordinators and the police to ensure all children attend school.
He said parents found allowing their children to engage in miraa farming will be arrested and charged.