School in Pokot risks closure as landowner demands payment

Land owner issues notice telling the school not to open for third term if he is not paid his dues.

Pupils of Nachukut Primary School in West Pokot County studying under a tree. The school now faces closure as the owner of the land on which it stands has demanded payment before the start of third term. PHOTO | OSCAR KAKAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IN SUMMARY

  • The school sits on six acres of land and it has not managed to pay the owner a single cent.
  • It has only one mud-walled structure hosting early childhood development education pupils while the rest study under trees.
  • Mr Ekale said they do not know how much money the owner will ask for since the price of land in the region has been appreciating.

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The fate of over 120 pupils of Nachukut Primary School in West Pokot County hangs in the balance after it received a notice not to open next term before they pay for the land.

The school which was started in 2011 sits on six acres of land and it has not managed to pay the owner a single cent.

This has prevented the school, which was registered by the Ministry of Education in 2016, from setting up permanent buildings.

The school has only one mud-walled structure hosting early childhood development education pupils while the rest study under trees.

NOTICE

Speaking to Daily Nation on Thursday, the chairman of the school’s board of management Isaac Ekale said they received the notice on Monday, asking them not to open the school in third term before they pay the owner.

Mr Ekale said they do not know how much money the owner will ask for since the price of land in the region has been appreciating every day.

He said many donors have visited the institution and were willing to set up classrooms but they fear doing so since the school does not fully own the land.

“This school started as an ECD centre in 2011 then it rose up to Class Six and it again dropped to Slass Two due to lack of teachers,” he said.

The school is located along the Kenya-Uganada border.

CHALLENGES

Acting headteacher Jeremiah Kibet said the school is faced with many challenges ranging from lack of water, toilets, classroom and teachers.

Mr Kibet said the major threat he faces while teaching pupils under trees is snakes.

“This region is a reptile-prone area. When in class I am forced to always carry a stick to help me protect my pupils. Snakes are common in this region and we just need to be extra careful while classes are going on,” he said.

TERMITES

The headteacher said that termites are another threat since the school does not have shelves to store the books donated by the government. As such, the books cannot last for long since they are destroyed by the insects.

He said the area may not realise Vision 2030 goals unless adequate measures are put in place by both the county and national government.

“Children in this region need to adopt vision 2060 since we are approaching Vision 2030 and they have nothing to show,” he said.

Mr Kibet said the children have the potential to pass their exams well if the issues affecting them are addressed.

“We have intellectuals in this region. Why should we be importing people to in future work in this region when we have brains that need to be nurtured?” he posed.

RIVERS

Christine Kiror, a parent, said they decided to set up the school since the village is surrounded by two big rivers and ECDE children could not cross them to access nearby schools.

“We were staying with our children at home until they passed school-going age since they could not cross the river during rainy seasons,” she said.

Mr Kiror asked well-wishers to help them build the school since they have no other school where the children can go.

“The nearest school is over 20 kilometres away and our children who have now embraced education will be forced to terminate it if urgent measures are not put in place before next term,” he said.

Youth leader Richard Todosia said many young people in the region are uneducated due to lack of schools and asked the government to ensure the current generation does not miss out on education.

“Most of my age mates in this region did not attend school. In this century, no pupil should be learning under trees,” he said.

The school has only two teachers employed by the Teachers Service Commission.

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