TEETHING PROBLEMS

Schools half empty in Kitui upon reopening

In some cases more than half of expected learners did not show up

In Summary

• Most schools did not have thermo guns, hand washing points or hand sanitisers

• County directors said the challenges are teething issues to be addressed soon

Itivanzou Standard 8 pupils in class while wearing face masks yesterday. Those who arrived without the masks were asked to go back home.
READY TO LEARN Itivanzou Standard 8 pupils in class while wearing face masks yesterday. Those who arrived without the masks were asked to go back home.
Image: Musembi Nzengu

Schools in Kitui county reopened for the new post-corona term on Monday at a sluggish pace, with a high number of learners failing to turn up.

A spot check in a number of schools found in some cases, more than half the expected learners stayed away from school on the first day of the term.  

At Itivanzou Mixed Day Secondary School, only 12 of the expected 44 Form 4 students had turned up.

The principal Andrew Muli was at a loss over how so many stayed away.

 
 

At the nearby Itivanzou Primary School, the turnout was about a quarter of the expected Grade 4 and Standard 8 learners.

The head teacher Geoffrey Nyaga said he had to send home a number of those who reported back to school without masks.

At Kingingo Primary School, eight of the expected Grade 4 learners did not come.

However, those present were not formally learning but were engaged in various school cleaning activities.

The acting head teacher Micheal Kyambe said on the first day, the learners were briefed on the health protocols they must adhere to.

He said they would spend the rest of day one cleaning classes, offices and the school compound to make the place neat and conducive to learning.

Beside the challenge of poor turnout of students, most school in Kitui were not only devoid of face masks for learners and teachers but also lacked handwashing points, thermo guns and sanitisers. 

County director of education Salesa Adano, however, was optimistic things would change.

“Although there are some challenges that are peculiar to certain schools, generally the challenges we are experiencing in most schools are just teething problems restricted to the first day,” he said.

He said ministry officials have been dispatched to schools across the county to identify any bottlenecks for them to be addressed pronto.

Adano said head teachers will need to work with stakeholders to raise the required funds because learning has to continue.

 
 

However, he said the problem of face masks will be sorted out sooner than later because Governor Charity Ngilu had pledged to provide free face masks to all school in the county.

On Sunday, Ngilu said through the Kitui County Textile Centre, her administration will donate free face masks to all learners across the county by Wednesday.

"We are going to use resources available to support schools with masks, sanitisers and non-contact thermo guns to enable learning," she told a meeting of Kitui teaching fraternity leaders.

Head teacher of Kingingo Primary School Micheal Kyambe supervises learners as they clean the school compound soon after returning to the school yesterday
CLEAN-UP Head teacher of Kingingo Primary School Micheal Kyambe supervises learners as they clean the school compound soon after returning to the school yesterday
Image: Musembi Nzengu