By Ann Salaton
Biting drought in Narok County has exacerbated school dropout rates sending education policy planners into a panic.
James Kipiko, the Head teacher, Lengasamo Primary School in Mosiro Ward lamented that few students are attending school despite the government’s free primary education programme.
The school that is currently up to class five has experienced chronic absenteeism as most learners have moved with their parents near water sources, to seek for pasture for their animals.
“The population of the pupils last year was above 80 pupils, this year, the regular pupils have been only 36,” he lamented adding that class three was the most affected with only three pupils attending school out of the twelve who had been admitted at the beginning of the year.
Unlike other schools in Mosiro ward that receive a regular feeding programme from the government, Kipiko said his school has never received any food this year.
“The older boys and girls choose to trek to far schools where there is feeding programme, but the younger ones stick to our school as they cannot walk far distances complaining how teachers find it hard to teach the few pupils following their low concentration.
“This is because they are always hungry, dirty and tired,” he said adding that the school has two teachers employed by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and three employed by the school’s Board of Management.
The children only feed on one type of food which is mostly porridge, they do not have enough water to drink or bath hence they are ever dirty.
The situation was saved for a while this week when the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) donated food to the school and residents. Led by ACK Narok Township Pastor, Samuel Naikuni, the believers donated food worth Sh. 100, 000 to 82 households in Lengasamo area in Mosiro ward.
Pastor Naikuni noted that the faithful’s came to share the little they had with their sisters and brothers who were suffering. Each family benefited from two Kilograms of beans, eight Kilograms of maize, one kilogram of maize floor, water guard and porridge flour for families with toddlers.
“This is not donor funding, this is from our pockets. We know that the food will not last for many days, but we felt we should extend our hand and bless you with what we can afford,” he said. During the exercise, the church also gave Vitamin A and deworming tablets to children below five years to boost their immunity.
An education officer who declined to be named revealed that the situation was dire such that some schools risk closing following the drought.
“We are exploring means through which the department in consultation with the county government to establish water trucking services to the most affected schools,” he revealed.