Forgotten Baringo school where serpents rule

Meeting with the headteacher was interrupted by pupils screaming, 'Snake! Snake!'

In Summary

• School has never received any government funding since its inception in 2003.

• No water, electricity or school feeding programme.  Tablets are unusable.




Pupils looking for a snake that had slithered into the staffroom at Kapyemit Primary School on Wednesday.
SNAKE HUNT: Pupils looking for a snake that had slithered into the staffroom at Kapyemit Primary School on Wednesday.

Learning at Kapyemit Primary School in Baringo Central is dangerous as pupils live in constant fear of venomous snakes and a creepy colony of voracious termites. 

The Stars meeting on Wednesday with headteacher Reuben Chebolei was suddenly interrupted by pupils screaming, "Snake! Snake" They chased a thin dark snake that had slithered into what passes for a staffroom.

Chebolei killed the deadly snake in what has become a  routine. "Hardly a day passes without a snake being spotted in the compound," he said.

The school has about 80 pupils.

The school on eight acres, is a semi-permanent structure of iron sheets, timber and a dusty floor. Termites have feasted on the timber.

This school, sadly, is not exceptional.

Chebolei said pupils have tablets but cannot use them because of dust and lack of electricity. The solar panels don't work.

The path leading to the school is rocky and almost impassable. 

The forgotten school has neither received government or donor funding since its inception in 2003.

“Up to now, the school runs through the efforts of parents who organise frequent fund drives," Chebolei said.

“Not a single donor, well-wisher or  politician has ever set foot in our compound."

Students were walking past ant ills.

Termites destroyed important documents in Chebolei's office two weeks ago. 

Pupils come from  Naikoi, Moigut, Kipsoit, Orwonin, Kapsang and Chesongo villages.

The school lacks water and electricity.

“Pupils miss lessons when they trek seven kilometres in search of water," Chebolei said.

He said the government stopped the school feeding programme in July last year, so many pupils stay home.

“A hungry child cannot concentrate in class. Some have dropped out of school,” the headteacher said. 

Not a single donor, well-wisher or  politician has ever set foot in our compound.
Headteacher Reuben Chebolei

He said some pupils were transferred to nearby schools like Kiosoi, Kaptara and Kakwane, which have better learning facilities.

Chebolei said the school is understaffed with only eight teachers; others have transferred because of harsh working conditions.

Last week, area MP Joshua Kandie gave the school a Sh1.6 million cheque from the NG-CDF to give the school a  facelift.

"This will help in the building of two modern classrooms, but more money is needed to improve the entire school. The situation is really shameful," Kandie said.

He blamed his predecessors for ignoring some schools, saying at least 20 are in a sorry state.

“I cannot allow this to happen in the 21st century, I will make sure at least 80 per cent of the classrooms in my constituency are modernised by 2021," Kandie said.

Early Childhood Development pupils learn in a makeshift iron sheet walled structure.

"It is survival for the fittest. Children lack chairs and desks, they crouch while attending lessons inside the church hall,” nursery school teacher Clara Yegon said.

The 18 ECDE pupils are taught by two teachers employed by the county government of Baringo.

County Director of Education Moses Karati said their numerous schools in the county are "pathetic". He appealed to the county government, stakeholders and donors to help.

He appeals to the county to allocate more funds to refurbish and equip the ECDE centres across the six subcounties. 

Edited by P. Wanambisi