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January 17, 2019

Lamu school appeals for help amid teacher shortage, piling debts

Pupils of Mokowe Arid zone during a past function at the school.
Pupils of Mokowe Arid zone during a past function at the school.

Students at the Mokowe Arid Zone Primary School in Lamu have been forced to attend combined classes due to a biting teacher shortage.

Head teacher Omar Athman yesterday said the school does not have food, water and other crucial amenities after suppliers stopped their services because they are owed millions of shillings.

The boarding school is hosting students from the Boni community who were transferred because of insecurity.

Schools in Mararani, Mangai, Milimani, Basuba and Kiunga villages were closed due to increased terror attacks. At least 260 students were transferred to Mokowe in search for safer schools.

The crisis has been attributed to the growing student enrollments. Most students initially remained at home with those in upper primary joining safer schools to continue with their studies.

“We need more teachers because we can’t continue combining students in different classes in one room,” Athman said.

Teachers sometimes tend to classes of more than 100 students when the learners are combined.

He said Teachers Service Commission (TSC) should deploy at least three tutors. He also asked the county government to feed the students.

He said the Boni community are unable to pay fees to cater for the expenses. “The school has a lot of debts. We genuinely need help,” he said.

Basuba MCA Deko Barissa asked TSC to post the teachers who fled because of insecurity to Mokowe.

“That will solve the problem of overcrowded classes,” Barissa said.

Mokowe Arid Zone Primary School was established by the government in 1992 for children from the minority Boni and Sanye communities.

Last year, KCPE candidates from terror prone schools sat their exams at the centre. The school is under 24-hour surveillance by police.

Most of the candidates were living in IDP camps with their parents, who fled their villages in Pandanguo due to terror raids.

Lamu East education officer David Nzinga said they were concerned about the students and teachers plight.

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