Lamu schools face learners exodus

Thursday, January 20th, 2022 08:24 | By
Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata. PHOTO/COURTESY

Parents in insecurity prone areas of Lamu County have started transferring their children to schools in areas deemed safer.

The exit comes even as schools that were earlier closed due to a spate of attacks in the coastal county re-opened, as per the Ministry of Education’s directive, amidst high tension.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) chairman in Lamu Joseph Agutu, however told People Daily yesterday that only a few learners have resumed learning.

“Even though the government said that schools in Lamu should re-open, tension is still high. Only a few learners have showed up in schools and some parents from areas which faced attacks, have decided to take their children to schools they believe are in safer zones,” Agutu said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Permanent transfers
He reported that schools in areas that were hit by attacks, have experienced a low turnout compared to schools in areas that were peaceful.

“We are seeing mass transfers of learners from the affected areas. In the school that I head, which is located within Mpeketoni town, I received some seven learners on Monday. And you know the ministry directed us that whenever learners from the affected areas come, we receive them unconditionally,” explained Agutu.

For now, he said learners from affected areas have been allowed to seek temporary transfers in schools within safer zones.

“However most of the parents who are transferring their children, have been insisting that they want permanent transfers. They are saying that they don’t want to ever go back to those areas. This is another challenge we are facing at the moment,” Agutu said 

The official says that an almost similar tension had started building among teachers, with some preferring to teach in schools in safer zones, but things changed quickly after security was bolstered.

“However we communicated to authorities and they assured us of security. Already we have seen heavy police presence and this has boosted the confidence of teachers. We are yet to get transfer requests from teachers,” Agutu said.

Series of attacks
Early this month, suspected Al-Shabaab militants carried out a series of attacks killing at least 15 people, among them four police officers, sparking tension amongst residents.

More than five schools including Juhudi, Salama, Holy Angle, Majambeni and Muhamarani Primary schools all in Lamu west were closed down.
Villagers fled their homes and camped in police stations in fear of attacks.
Regional Commissioner John Elungata directed that the closed  schools be re-opened on Tuesday saying normalcy had returned.

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