By DAMA KALAMA
Education chief administrative secretary (CAS) Zachary Kinuthia has directed local administration officers to conduct a crackdown on teenage girls so as to ensure they report to schools immediately.
Speaking in Mombasa during an inspection tour to schools, the CAS warned that parents whose children have not yet reported to their schools would be arrested and held accountable.
“All pregnant girls must learn and there should not be excuse. All those keeping school-going children at home will face the music when we catch up with them,” he said.
The CAS ordered the local administration to ensure a 100 percent turnout in school by next week on Monday while expressing satisfaction with preparedness of schools in the entire Coastal region to contain Covid-19.
Percentage of reopening of schools in Mombasa County averaged 70 per cent; he said adding that there is a room for improvement by the end of the week.
Yesterday (Tuesday, January 5, 2021), hundreds of learners were yet to report to schools in the remote parts of Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu Counties of the Coast region.
“Pregnancy should not be the reasons to abscond school. I, therefore, direct the local administration to search for pregnant girls and take them back to school,” he said.
According to him the government will distribute about 7 million masks to schools that will cushion the learners from contracting the Covid-19 disease.
“The biggest challenge that we have noted is the big percentage of the pupils who have not yet reported to schools. We are telling parents not to negate their responsibility and make sure all our children are back at schools throughout the country,” the CAS added.
According to him 86 percent of the schools have reopened countrywide, but says there is need for more efforts to ensure all schools reopen and resume classes.
During his tour, Mr Kinuthia visited Serani Primary School where he establishment that only 90 learners had reported to school out of the 283 population.
In Sparki Primary School, 200 learners were yet to return on Tuesday after only 1,000 turned up on Tuesday.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who accompanied the CAS, said his Constituency office would continue to distribute free masks to vulnerable learners to ensure a record attendance of schools within its jurisdiction.
“We are urging our parents to ensure they don’t lock up their children at home but bring them to schools because the government is determined to facilitate learning,” he said.
most of the schools in the Coast region re-opened on January 4, 2021 following a 10-month break occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic since March last year when the country announced its first case.
However, in October of the same year the government partially reopened Form 4, Standard 8 and Grade 4 classes with all preparing for their national exams slated for this year’s March and April period.
From yesterday learners streamed back to school marking the resumption of learning across the country, with learners required to repeat their classes due to the lost academic year.
Coast regional coordinator (RC) John Elungata said the turnout of re-opening in primary’s schools in the Coast region recorded 85 percent.
Mombasa is leading, having recorded than 85 percent followed by Kilifi and Taita-Taveta Counties, Lamu and Tana River Counties are about 75 which he attributed to the pastoral nature of the two counties.
The RC has also directed the local administrators to comb the villages and make sure school girls who might be on their mother’s way and those pregnant are brought back in school to continue with their studies.
Elungata said all girls have a right to education regardless of their pregnancy, marital or motherhood status. He was speaking during a tour to Samburu in Kwale county on Tuesday.
Elungata cautioned school managers against sending students back home over fee arrears saying school managers explore dialogue with parents and guardians instead and needy cases can be solved through education bursaries.
Samburu Sub-County Director of Education Benard Salim said within his jurisdiction all schools have resumed learning including private schools and have mobilized local administration to trace the pupils who did not report in their various schools.
The education boss said incidences of pregnant school girls have been reported to his office but promised the pupils will be given a chance to pursue their education.
George Mathenge, Head teacher Maji Ya Chumvi Primary School said the school has a population of 593 pupils and 517 have reported back to school and has reported the case of the absent pupils to the local administration so that they can be tracked from their homes.
The head teacher is facing challenges in maintaining social distancing in class due to inadequate desks. “It is difficult because we don’t have sufficient desks to ensure they sit two pupils per desk and the classrooms are small to maintain 1.5 meters social distance but we are trying our best,” said Mathenge.
The head teacher said all the pupils have to undergo a temperature check and wear a face mask and the school had set up several hand washing stations as part of hygiene measures as directed by the Health Ministry.
Saumu Ndegwa and Mpa Anderson, pupils from Maji Ya Chumvi Primary School are happy to be back in the classroom after many months of being out of school and observing the standard safety procedures within the school buildings