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Regional education suffers after deadly Garissa University assault

07 April 2015, 11:08

Garissa - The heinous attack on Garissa University College that claimed 148 lives has dealt a heavy blow on education in the country's northeastern region.

"I am leaving here. I won't come back to this place," said Anderson Miwira, a survivor from the Garissa University College attack before he left the town for home Saturday together with over 600 students and staff.

"My education ends here. I will never go back to this university," said another student.

The university had been closed following the attack, and the students would be dispatched to other universities to continue their study, according to the Ministry of Education.

Many others also expressed their reluctance of ever going back to the institution, with some local experts and officials worrying about the education future in the region.

Ibrahim Atosh, area secretary with Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) at Garissa County, while welcomed the closure of the institution over terror attack, said it will disenfranchise hundreds of students who can't afford to seek education outside the county.

Garissa County Governor Natfhif Jama also showed concerns on the affect of the move to local students.

"Many students from poor families are likely to drop out. There are students who were struggling to raise fees and now they have to pay an extra cost traveling outside the county to get education, " he said.

Most of the students at the attacked university, the only fully- fledged higher education institution in the Garissa, were pursuing education related courses.

Atosh said the students could have opted to work in the county easily than other teachers coming out of the area, because they've already been familiar with the the environment here.

He said it was disheartening to see the education sector lose a big number of teacher trainees who could have amicably addressed the massive teachers' shortage witnessed in the region following withdrawal of many teachers after a similar killing that claimed lives of 28 teachers in Mandera last year.

"The attack is a major blow to the education sector which is just reeling from the effects of the Mandera attacks that so several teachers leave the region," he added, urging that the teachers from other part of the country should not be discouraged by this act of criminality.

Some students from other schools in the town also said they would consider to seek education elsewhere for the fears of more insecurity incidents.

"I would readily love to study in Nairobi. I can't stand the insecurity here and concentrate on my study," said Naisha Mahamoud, another student.

"Children might be forced to move to other school. We don't feel secured because you don't know what will rise," said Kirimi Kaberia, a local primary school teacher.

Meanwhile, that a law student from the University of Nairobi was on Sunday confirmed as one of the four attackers shot dead also raised concerns on the youth radicalization.

Mohamed Kuno, the Al-Shabaab commander named by Kenyan police as the alleged mastermind of Thursday's massacre, is also a former teacher and principal in Garissa. He later radicalized and joined the Somali militant group, who had used ideals of caliphate governance to persuade and recruit his students to join Al-Shabaab.

"Not let the youth stay idle. Empower them," said Jackson Wachira, a Christian and local resident in Garissa. He called for better interaction between people of different religions and tribes in the area, adding that community elders should play a big role.

Richard Tuna, a security expert, said Kenya must reassess its counter-terrorism measures, and invest more in community policy.

"The ongoing youth radicalization, and poor relationship between local communities and security officers have made the northern and coastal region a bleeding ground for the terrorism," he said.

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- Xinhua

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