Pupils of Kitale Ndogo primary school learning under trees after classes were destroyed by storm
Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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The tree in Kitale Ndogo Primary school that serves as a classroom for the pupils who have to attend school in shifts after a storm destroyed their classroom. [PHOTOS | Leonard Wamalwa]
As the second term of this year enters the final month of learning, over 300 pupils of Kitale Ndogo primary school in Kwanza constituency are taking their lessons in shifts under trees in the school as they brave the chilly weather following the destruction of four classrooms by heavy rains a month ago.
The demolished classes belonged to part of lower primary and upper whereby the school has devised a method of the pupils arriving in school in shifts in order to get learning space under the tree that has been converted into a classroom since the destruction.
Speaking to reporters in the school, stakeholders including the committee members led by the school chairman Bishop Timothy Mundie said that the school which has a population of 630 pupils has half of its population lacking a place to comfortably take lessons.
"Due to the problem that we have in this school, we have been forced to allow the pupils from classes four and five come to school between 10.00AM and 10.30 AM so that they can take over the space occupied by the pupils from the lower primary who use it in the earlier part of the morning", the chairman told reporters.
They said that the fallen classes were constructed by the parents of the school temporarily and now that they are no more, the pupils are at high risks of losing out academically and might cause other health problems to the pupils who avail themselves to enhance their education in such harsh conditions.
Part of the classes being suppported by props to prevent it from collapsing. This poses as a danger to the pupils.
The school still has three more temporary classes that are on the verge of collapsing with some of them just supported by external supporting trees to at least have them stay upright a little bit longer.
They have now called upon the government through the ministry of education and other departments including NGO’s and well wishers to intervene immediately by releasing funds under the emergency kitty to salvage the situation so that the pupils can resume a normal learning environment.
At the same time the stakeholders pointed out that a Sh. 400,000 cheque authorized by area Member of Parliament who is also minister for forestry and wildlife Dr Noah Wekesa has been with held by senior officials of the Kwanza CDF committee for no apparent reason.
They have called upon the minister to intervene the matter immediately so that the money that was released under the 2009/2010 proposals can be released immediately to assist in constructing one of the classrooms.
However when reached for comment on phone, the CDF chair Timothy Mutende refuted the claims saying that the committee is yet to receive a proposal pertaining the falling of classrooms at the school.
"We are not aware of that but if there is such a problem then they are supposed to submit a proposal and pictures of the destroyed classrooms to the committee then we can consider under the emergency kitty," the chairman said on phone.
Hunger leads to increased cases of school dropout in Matete District
Elsewhere, the government, parents and well wishers have been called upon to help put in place programmes for provision of lunch to all pupils in public primary schools in Matete District.
Secretary General to Kenya Primary Head Teachers Association Matete Branch Mr. Paul Makokha Munialo made this appeal when he addressed parents, teachers and pupils at Kabrengo in Matete District.
Mr. Munialo regretted that it was disheartening to see most pupils spending their lunch break eating wild fruits while some endangered their lives by carelessly hanging on the road in order to pick sugarcanes from passing tractors that ferry canes to nearby sugar milling companies.
He observed that when pupils missed something to bite after at lunch hours chances of them being keen and attentive to grasp knowledge during afternoon lessons were very slim, a problem he pointed out contributed to low academic performance record of the area.
Makokha’s sentiments were supported by Kewa primary school head teacher Mr. Muchuma Tung’a who added that most pupils were habitually absent or failed to report to schools during second term due to biting hunger in the area revealing that there was high cases of drop-out during this period.