Officials argue as Chuka pupils learn in dilapidated classes

Friday January 24 2020
school pic

Cracks are pictured in one of six classrooms at Kangutu Primary School in Tharaka-Nithi County, on January 24, 2020. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Security and education officials in Tharaka-Nithi County have clashed on whether Kangutu Primary School in Chuka/Igambang’ombe Constituency should be closed as its classrooms are dilapidated.

On Wednesday, Igambang’ombe Deputy County Commissioner, Mr Fred Masinjira, sent Grade One to Grade Six pupils home after finding that their classes had huge cracks.

Mr Masinjira noted the possible consequences if the buildings collapsed and that the school's managers could have carried out repairs during the holidays.

He also said he would be blamed if the classrooms collapsed.


On Thursday, however, county Education director, Ms Bridget Wambua, asked the learners to return, saying there were no consultations on the matter.


Ms Wambua and the county's Education board chairman, Dr Jafford Rithaa, termed the issue minor.

“There was no consultation before the action was taken and learning will continue as renovation work goes on,” the director said.

Dr Rithaa said, “The cracks developed many years ago ... the rooms can remain intact for the next several years if reinforced."


Chuka University's Vice-Chancellor, Prof Erastus Njoka, pledged to fund the renovation and construct other classrooms.

Prof Njoka claimed local politicians stage-managed the closure so they could emerge as 'saviours' just and gain political mileage.

“The closure warning was issued last November. The school's management sought support from politicians but they remained silent only to pledges when the pupils were sent home," he said.


Parents suggested that the school hires tents during renovations but the officers convinced them that the classrooms were safe.

In October 4, 2019, officers from the Public Works department visited the school and advised that immediate action for the sake of the children's safety.

They also said new classrooms should be built.