School turn-up leaves the teachers shocked. This simply because thousands of learners failed to report back to school yesterday. This raised fears of mass dropouts across the country.
There have been concerns that many learners will drop out owing to various reasons. Girls are the most affected, with many having become pregnant or married during the time they were out of school.
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Many other learners have been working in farms, quarries, boda boda trade and hawking in some towns.
Some parents delayed taking their children back to school. They lost their livelihoods through job losses and failed businesses.
Some students experienced insecurity cases, teen pregnancies, early marriages, initiation rites, floods, and fears of contracting Covid-19. This is in the North Rift region hence the failure to report to school.
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Central Primary in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu recorded 70 percent attendance on the first day of term two.
“Most of the Grade Four and Class Eight pupils have reported back to school. ”Those with underlying health conditions should stay at home as teachers engage and give them homework.” said Ben Uluma, the head teacher.
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At Uasin Gishu Primary, 800 out of 1,200 learners reported back. “We have about 85 percent of Standard Eight learners who reported and don’t know where the rest are. We fear that some might have given birth some parents also lost jobs and some moved to rural areas, and some of the learners have not traveled back,” said Robert Kamau, a senior teacher at the school.
Social distancing rule
Kapenguria Boys High principal Moses Ndeda said the school will reopen tomorrow, noting that they have converted dining halls and libraries into classrooms so they can accommodate the 1,782 students in the institution.
In Elgeyo-Marakwet, teachers said students reported back in large numbers, making adherence to the social distancing rule impossible.
“On top of the handwashing points, we need hand sanitizers for teachers and students. We also have a shortage of desks, which makes it hard to properly observe the one-meter rule among learners,” said Mr. David Chesinen, the headteacher in Kabarar Primary, Marakwet West.
Schools in Marakwet East, however, recorded low student turn-out, a situation parents blamed on their readiness to pay fees and provide basic needs for their children.
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“Most of our sources of livelihood were affected by floods and mudslides. We are yet to fully recover, thus we have not paid full fees for our children. It will take some time before we are up to the task,” said Mr. Francis Murkomen, a parent at Wewo in Marakwet East.
A report from the county health department indicates that some 6,006 girls will not report to school. This in Nandi as they became pregnant.
According to Health Executive Ruth Koech, 289 girls aged between 10 and 14 years. They became pregnant between January and September 2020. The other group 5,717 aged between 15 and 19 got pregnant during the same period.