Education stakeholders from 13 out of 22 nomadic counties have convened in Isiolo to discuss and propose sustainable strategies to address poor performance from the regions.
The forum spearheaded by National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (Naconek) aimed at validating a research and reversing the negative trends on education to ensure that the 22 counties achieve the national and international education targets.
The nomadic counties which have been categorised into pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, fishing and urban slums have negative statistics on education and are usually ranked at the bottom in KCPE and KCSE exams performance.
Naconek Chairman Chris Galgalo who was flanked by the council’s CEO Harun Mohamed said low education standards in the regions are shocking and appealed to the government and stakeholders to focus on addressing the matter.
Dr Galgalo said there is urgent need to enhance education, improve access, retention, completion and transition of learners in the counties.
Insecurity, retrogressive cultural practices, distance to schools, few institutions, harsh climatic conditions, poverty, understaffing and insufficient resources were blamed for poor performance.
The government launched Naconek, a state department of basic education, in 2015 to reverse the negative trends among the nomadic counties.
The stakeholders were validating findings of a nine-month study by Prof Laban Ayiro to develop a policy aimed at enhancing participation of children in learning in arid and semi-arid areas, informal and urban settlements and children with special needs.
Prof Ayiro noted that dropout rates from nomadic counties were high adding that the study will hopefully influence policies and the government to direct resources to solve the menace.
“We want to advocate, sensitise political leaders, influence the Ministry of Education, partners, NGOs and the government to improve education standards in the affected regions,” said the consultant.
During the workshop, county education board chairpersons, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials, boards of managements, education directors and school principals called for transformation of the council into a commission to help improve education in the affected regions.
Knut Nairobi branch Secretary Macharia Mugwe regretted that the teacher-pupil ratio in marginalised and slum areas is wanting and urged the government to employ more teachers.
The 13 counties represented in the validation conference were Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana, Wajir, Garissa, Samburu, West Pokot, Narok, Homa Bay, Nairobi, Mombasa, Tana River and Kajiado.