By Andanje Wakhungu
Several stakeholders in the education sector within Malava in Kakamega County have raised concerns over the poor quality of education being offered in the area. Stakeholders spoke during Kenya’s 60th Jamhuri Day celebrations held at Matsakha Secondary School grounds in Butali Chegulo Ward.
Those who spoke were led by Bungoma School Chief Principal Enock Andanje who expressed his worry over the state of affairs in most schools within the sub-county. Schools in the area have been reduced to mere shells of their past, thus affecting the enrolment and performance at large. The Principal pointed out how most schools in the area had been neglected, and that it was up to the principals and teachers to steer and improve performances in their respective schools.
“Let us all come on board and pull in the same direction by bringing on board all stakeholders in education and other professions to bring their expertise in assisting our schools grow, instead of delegating all the duties to teachers and the board of management, a situation that has seen these institutions stagnate.
“Look at this school we are in; it was started in 1973 but has since remained like a ghost school with very few students and no infrastructure in place to attract higher enrolments, and it is because our leaders and the relevant authorities have turned a deaf ear to the growth of the institution. I challenge the education office to organize an education day and invite me so that we can share ideas on how we can jumpstart these non-performing schools. In my case, I have over 2,500 students, and I manage them well through the involvement of different multi-agency agencies, including the security personnel. This has worked very well; why can’t we also be able to bring on board such detail to assist these schools here?”
The sentiments were welcomed by the sub-county director of education, Rose Chisumi who welcomed him to the sub-county to share his experiences, considering that the school in question was without a principal after he left, with the acting deputy set to retire in January 2024.
Area MCA Kevin Mahelo confirmed that the school was lagging in matters of development and enrollment due to a lack of funds. “We also want to challenge those criticizing this school that it is their responsibility to bring their children here so that we can grow in numbers and use the school fees to develop it also, but they are saying it is in a pathetic state, but they have taken their kids to posh institutions. How then will we be able to grow as a school?
Kakamega North sub-county commander Paul Nkanatha Mwendwa called on the parents to assist in the growth of the schools and stop leaving everything to the national and county governments. “Let everyone play their rightful part, and for the parents, fee payment has been a challenge, but the moment you start remitting your fees on time, then most schools in this area will start improving automatically, and we as the security team will play our part in ensuring that the schools are safe.”
The Kakamega North deputy county commissioner (DCC), Florence Omieno, asked the locals to make good use of Shamberere National Polytechnic, which was offering a variety of tailor-made courses to suit each applicant, with the government offsetting the needed school fees.