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Education still paralyzed in conflict-prone Baringo

27 January 2015, 13:36 Robert Chepkwony

Baringo - Deserted learning institutions in parts of Baringo South constituency depict an image of education suffering from sporadic attacks by armed bandits.

Between October and November 2014, armed bandits suspected to be from the Pokot community descended on Arabal residents, forcing them to flee for safety.

Here, while pupils reported to public schools across the country after the countrywide teacher strike, pupils still await the government’s intervention in matters assurance of their security.

Arabal Chief, William Koech who is also a former teacher, said that about 3 000 pupils and students were forced to suspend their learning owing to the attacks.

“When the bandits descended on our villages in November, we thought it was an attack targeting our herds but we realized that their intent was to evict us from our land,” said Chief Koech.

Despite plans by the local stakeholders to come up with ways of ensuring that children resume learning, teachers and parents are worried about their security.

A spot check at Kapindasum, one of the best learning boarding schools whose essential projects like water are funded by World Vision, established that the facility was lifeless.

A short distance from Kapindasum is Arabal primary school where late last year’s killing of a school guard by bandits instilled fear on students and teachers.

But again, in East Pokot, an area inhabited by the Pokot community, a number of schools had not officially resumed learning.

According to area residents and teachers, every one was wary of the presence of the contingent of security personnel in the area.

Florence Lomariwo, headteacher at Chemolingot boarding primary school painfully recalls the effect of armed military deployed to nab bandits and recover guns at the area after bandits killed police officers.

She said the military beat everybody, including teachers who even produced pay slips to prove their identities.

Read Also: Headteacher interdicted for preventing pupil from sitting 2014 KCPE

“Here we have teachers coming from diverse places. When KDF came, the operation itself did not target the bandits far from the trading centre, but they attacked even the teachers. This has caused teachers to fear reporting back to work,” she said.

Loromiwa said that last week she received a call from a senior officer at TSC headquarters ordering her to release teachers who had requested for transfers, an order she did not implement due to teacher shortage.

In Chesakam primary school, sights of moving vehicles scares the children forcing them to run for safety, due to fear of military.

According to Patrick Masia, a teacher at Chesakam primary school, the presence of military has instilled fear in children.

He said that half of the school's pupils have not so far reported back to school.

“We are only hearing that parents escaped for their safety due to the KDF operation. We have been appealing to parents to send their children to school, but so far the response slow. This is due to fear of the military presence,” said Masia.

This comes as Kenya tries to analyze efforts achieved so far regarding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially that on education set 15 years ago.

But Lomariwo says the County is way below 50 percent in matters development goals on education.

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