By Philemon Kiprop
A low turnout of Form One and mass exodus of students has hit Kerio Valley Secondary Schools in Marakwet East Sub County after over 150 failed to report to the school for admission.
By end of second week of admission, only 23 students out of the 192 admitted to Form One had reported to school.
The school located a few kilometers from Tot centre, which is grappling with the ongoing insecurity in the region, is also facing an exodus of students in the other classes worsening the situation.
Speaking to Education News, acting Principal Mr Bonaventure Wandera, said that since the school’s establishment in 1976, they have never recorded such low numbers.
“The trend is worsening if something urgently is not done. Last year we received 23 Form Ones majority of whom the chiefs personally forced them to report to school. We have no otherwise but continue with classes,” said Mr Wandera.
“Insecurity is the main cause of low enrollment which has been nosediving each year. Despite being a three-streamed school, the classes are half empty.”
At the moment, there are 38 students in Form Four, 34 in Form Three and 11 in Form Two making the students population 99 students.
The school is set in Kerio valley which is worst hit by banditry and majority of the students expected to be admitted to the school originate from the highlands and they find it risk to travel to the area.
“There is also an exodus of bright students from the other classes making the school lose in terms of capitation and the little money we get are used for paying salaries. There is no meaningful development in the school and it is unfortunate the infrastructure is in bad shape,” he said.
Mr Wandera regretted the school is also grappling with high number of overage students saying in Form Four there are five students aged 22 years-old.
“Having majority of overage students has contributed to indiscipline cases and the parents have made it worse by not coming to school whenever they are required,” he said.
The principal said last year they posted a mean of 4.8 and the school infrastructure is in bad shape coupled by lack of working science laboratories.
“Our labs were condemned by the ministry of public works over a year ago and save for a library and two other classrooms, all the building are dilapidated and we are calling for stakeholders to come to our rescue in order to help boost the school,” he said.
Kenya union of Post Primary teachers has threatened to rally its members boycott work if security is not restored. Union secretary Paul Biwott says the union was planning a strike if the attacks targeting them and near schools do not stop.
He said the attacks have adversely affected learning in the region as both teachers and students fear of their lives.