Health officials in Tigania West, Meru have closed down a primary school over safety fears.
The classrooms at Mbaarua Primary School were declared "too dangerous to be occupied".
According to a report seen by the Nation, the school which is located in a hilly area, has many gullies and buildings with gaping cracks.
UNSUITABLE FOR OCCUPATION
“The school has no workable ground. The entire compound is filled with gullies, valleys and trees are about to fall.
"All permanent buildings have major cracks which means they are not stable. The classrooms are not suitable for human habitation…The school should be closed immediately and relocated to another suitable site,” the report by sub-county public health officer Josphine Kathoni states.
The report indicates that two classrooms had collapsed walls while the girls’ toilets were at risk of collapsing due to erosion.
The recommendations come after a spot-check by Nation established that several primary schools in Meru are operating against the Safety Standards Manual for Schools in Kenya and the basic Education Act due to use of dilapidated classrooms, and toilets and broken desks.
According to the safety standards manual, a blueprint for enhancing schools’ safety, well maintained and clean classrooms as well as well-maintained and clean desks and chairs are among indicators of a safe school.
Some of the affected schools include Antuarimata, Kimirei, Kalimba, Kirukire, Mwithu where classrooms and toilets that should be condemned as they pose a health hazard to learners and teachers are still in use.
At Antuarimata Primary School in Tigania East, besides unsafe classrooms, there is no level playground as required by the safety manual.
The ECDE, grade one and grade two classrooms are old iron sheet structures with gaping holes on every side and one can see those in the neighbouring classroom.
At Kalimba Primary School in Tigania West, grade one and grade two pupils learn from old ant infested ironsheet structure and sit on rickety chairs and desks.
Deserted stone buildings which collapsed leaving gaping cracks still serve as the school kitchen due to insufficient space.
ECDE learners who are under the county government operate from a round colonial chief’s office which also has cracks.
A teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity said since the inception of free primary education, it has been difficult to repair and maintain buildings, seats and desks.
“Since the government provides money based on population, schools with few pupils struggle to operate. In most cases, head teachers use their money to run schools. Parents will turn against you if you try to ask for money,” the teacher said.
Legislators have cited lack of sufficient money in the CDF for inability to finance construction of classrooms.
Recently, South Imenti MP Kathuri Murungi called for the amendment of the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) Act to stop uniform allocation of the kitty across constituencies.
Mr Kathuri proposed that the sharing formula should consider the number of schools and population of students in each constituency.
“We are consulting with CDF committee chairman Maore Maoka because in South Imenti, we have 74 secondary schools and 135 primary schools which are in dire need of funding. Some constituencies have as little as 10 schools yet we all get Sh100 million. After paying the administrative costs and bursaries, we are left with less than Sh50 million for development projects,” Mr Kathuri said.