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Monday, December 6, 2021

Teacher shortage leaves North-eastern schools closed

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Schools in North-eastern are still struggling with inadequate teachers.

A series of targeted killings of school teachers by Alshabaab has seen an exodus of staff and the closure of hundreds of schools across the region.

The current problem of teacher shortage started in 2014 when al Shabaab massacred some 28 teachers aboard a Mandera bus that led to the mass transfer of non-local teachers who were the majority.

Then in 2015, after the Garissa University attack that left 148 people dead the teacher’s employer again carried out similar transfers. The two attacks on Saretho Boarding Primary and Kamauthe primary where four teachers were killed worsened the already bad situation.

Despite the huge turnout by students in most schools in the region especially among them candidates, teacher shortage remains the biggest challenge facing the education sector in the region

126 schools in Mandera are yet to open their doors to learners, whereas 118 schools in Garissa are run by only head teachers, due to lack of enough teaching personnel.

A tour by three principal secretaries in the area revealed the shocking situation in the learning institutions.

According to statistics from TSC, Mandera has a shortage of 1,849 teachers in primary and 517 in secondary schools.

Wajir has a teacher shortage of 1,414 in the primary while in secondary the shortage is 511. In Garissa the shortage of primary school teachers is 913 while the secondary is 651.

Addressing the press in Garissa town on Thursday, Cooperatives PS Ali Noor, Micah Bowen of Asal and Kirimi Kaberia of Mining said the government is doing everything possible to address the situation.

“The government is alive to the problem and is trying to address it. However as we do this we have to look for a long-term solution. We must get enough local students who finish their secondary school to enrol for the teaching profession,” Noor said.

He said the government is looking into enhancing security, which is a continuous process, and other temporary measures that can be put in place including recruiting temporary teachers under the BOG arrangement.

Noor further said that challenges facing rural schools are those of parents having moved with their livestock in search of pasture and water, meaning they have to place their children in the nearest schools.

Lack of water has also been a big challenge for the same schools in rural areas.

Micah Bowen urged the Ministry of Education together with the national government administrative officials to continue tracing pupils and students who moved out with their parents to ensure that they were placed to the nearest schools.

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