Learning has been completely paralyzed in 11 schools in Pokot Central following incessant banditry and cattle rustling along the Marakwet-Pokot borders, amid teachers’ mass transfers and learners staying away from schools.
More than five hundred pupils from schools along the border of the two Counties have been forced to stay at home following insecurity that has hit the area.
This comes after an elderly woman, Mrs. Kojeptoo Kimooi Betaki, 63 years was shot and killed by bandits last Sunday along Liter-Chesegon-Sigor road, her death came hours after five people were also killed in the area in the past three weeks, incidences that triggered the series of ongoing peace meetings.
Some teachers have also fled the region fearing for their lives. Primary schools including, Chesegon Primary, Cheptulel primary, Arpolo Primary, Kokwo Meses primary, Anet primary, Tilingwo, Cheratak and Chemale primary are literally deserted and there are no teachers and pupils.
Secondary schools have also been affected, and they include, Cheptulel Girls’ High school, Cheptulel Boys’ High school, Chesumbur mixed secondary among others.
Kenya National Union of Teachers KNUT branch executive secretary for West Pokot County Mr. Martin Sembelo said many students are not in school following security fears along the border of the two Counties.
Mr. Sembelo said that schools along the border of West Pokot and Turkana are facing the risk of closure following the perennial attacks.
He called on leaders from both communities to give peace a chance and allow children to learn and stop the cattle rustling menace. “The situation now is delicate and we need our children to learn,” he said, “We need all stakeholders to stand up and deal with the situation which is now getting out of hand.”
Sembelo said that the sector requires proper planning to improve the learning environment for children in the region.
West Pokot County Director of Education Mr. Jared Obiero, said the situation at the 11 schools was compounded by security fears along the borders. “Majority of the affected schools became apprehensive over their safety because of the volatile insecurity situation. There are gunshots in the morning, gunshots in the afternoon even in the evening and this has caused the teachers and students to stay away from the schools,” he said.
Pokot Central deputy Commissioner Geoffrey Kithinji, in whose sub-county the schools are located said the problem resides with the teachers who have chosen to stay away from the schools leaving pupils stranded despite the deployment of police reservists in the respective institutions.