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Over 80 schools in Wajir County face closure

Friday February 7 2020

Wajir

Class in session at a school in Wajir County. Families face an educational crisis as teachers flee the norther region. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BRUHAN MAKONG
By BRUHAN MAKONG
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At least 869 non-local teachers have left Wajir County following the recent move by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to transfer them from the northern region over recent Al-Shabaab attacks.

According to a report from the County Education Board, some 324 out of 587 secondary school teachers operating in the county had left while 545 out of 1,208 primary school tutors had also exited.

As a result, 10 schools have been left without a single teacher while 72 schools are currently being run by headteachers only.

A similar crisis is also facing Mandera County after at least 804 non-local teachers left over insecurity,

According to the Wajir county board members, some of the schools remaining with school heads have large enrolment numbers, with some having at least 300 pupils.

This comes just a day after parents and students from Tarbaj Sub-County held a demonstration to the TSC offices in protest against the transfers.

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Addressing journalists after a board meeting over the education crisis, Mr Ibrahim Dahiye, chairman of the education board, said that since 2015 the county has experienced an alarming shortage of teachers due to terror-related issues.

“Every time we get an incident, even sometimes very far from here, teachers are removed from this area. One time we had an incident in Mandera and all the non-local teachers relocated from here and this has been happening over the years,” he said.

Mr Dahiye said that they were hearing that teachers were being told by the TSC to return to their home counties for a period of 10 days and go back for posting to other areas.

He wondered why the teachers were leaving, yet other public servants were still operating in the region.

He expressed concern that education in the county is going to be adversely affected.

“The county is really concerned that education here is being affected so much since more than half of our children don’t qualify to join university,” he said.

He called on the Ministry of Education to establish a taskforce to look into the state of education in Northern Kenya.

Father Clement Mutinye, a parish priest at Wajir Catholic Church and a member of the board, also expressed worry over the mass exit of teachers.

“As the ministry gives those teachers letters to join other places of work, they should also replace them or look for a solution to this. Wajir County should not be demonised as an inhabitable place as we have lived here for years,” he said.

Ms Fatuma Yusuf, the vice-chair of the board, said it was unfortunate that the TSC director in the county was unaware that the teachers were asked to move to their home areas.

She took a swipe at TSC boss Nancy Macharia for treating the North Eastern region as "not being part of Kenya" and asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.

Madam Oray, a parents' representative on the board, said that insecurity is everywhere in Kenya and that the government should find solutions to secure every part of the country.

“We normally sit day and night with parents, leaders and administrators to come up with security solutions for the region,” she said.