West Pokot parents, teachers fault issuance of birth certificates

West Pokot residents have faulted the long process in place to obtain birth certificates, including long queues
West Pokot residents have faulted the long process in place to obtain birth certificates, including long queues

Parents and Teachers from West Pokot County have decried the slow issuance of birth certificates, which are required for KCSE and KCSE registration. There is a fear that more than 700, 00O students from the County risk being locked out of exam registration due to the delay in processing their certificates. Birth certificates are compulsory for KCPE and KCSE examination registration, and the registration deadline is on Friday 15th March.

Speaking to the press in Kapenguria, West Pokot Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT)  Secretary  Mr. Martin Sembelo called on the department of immigration to decentralize registration of birth certificates to Sub Counties offices in pastoral areas.

The move, he said, will reduce the costs for teachers and parents who come from far-flung areas in the County who are facing many challenges in obtaining birth certificates. “Teachers and parents are languishing in birth certificate registration offices at the County level in Kapenguria. There are long queues and sleepless nights,” noted Sembelo.

West Pokot KNUT Chairman Joel Partich called for an extended period to allow more candidates to register. “The County is vast and it will be impossible for most parents and teachers to get the particulars,” he said.

A head teacher from Alale area which is more than 200 kilometres away from Kapenguria town, Mr.  Andrew Lonyangapo, said that he has camped for two days in town, looking for birth certificates because of the slow processing.  “I use three thousand shillings to and from Nauyanpong in Alale, North Pokot sub County to come to Kapenguria,” he said.

 Mr. Danile Kabula from Kasei who travelled 108 kilometres to Kapenguria using Kshs 1400 to and fro called on the government to add one more week for the exercise. “We are spending a lot of money on accommodation for staying in town. It’s better to sleep hungry and get the birth certificates,” he said. A  parent, Mr. John Krop from Kanyarkwat said that the process is slow and they are facing a lot of challenges.

Moreover,  Mr. Sembelo lamented the teachers’ shortage in the County. “Our County is ranked third in Kenya in understaffing of teachers,” he said. He called on the government to allocate more funds for supplementary budget or from consolidated for recruitment of teachers. “There isn’t enough manpower in class yet there is 90 % transition from primary to secondary schools,” he said.