Worrying transition in West Pokot as tens of thousands yet to report to secondary schools
By mid this week, 9,104 students had reported to the 177 local secondary schools in West Pokot County to join Form One out of the expected 14,306 students, County director of education Jacob Onyiego has said.
Onyiego said the number represents 63 percent, saying some of the students are still reporting and hoped that by the end of the week all the students would have reported.
According to the director, a total 14,087 candidates who had registered to sit KCPE last year only 13,960 sat the exam after 127 failed to turn up leaving the county with 13,960 students to be absorbed in secondary schools, locally and nationally.
“As per the records that we had on Wednesday, 9,104 students have already joined form one and we expect more and hope that all will report as expected,” said the director.
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School fees problem
Speaking this week at Nasokol Girls during the Kenya Secondary Schools Headteachers Association (KESSHA) meeting that brought together all the secondary schools principals in the county, Onyiego ordered the heads to admit every student who has been selected to join their schools regardless of the financial status but also called on the parents to take up their responsibilities of paying school fees for easy running of the school.
“I understand that school fees has been a challenge and I want to make the parents understand that although we have partners who come in to give support, that doesn’t amount to full fees, the parents should also push themselves in paying fees because the fee balances must be paid,” said Onyiego.
“If paying school fees for a boarding school is a burden then the parents still have another option of Day Schools where they can as well take their kids if at all they feel the pressure of boarding school,” added the director.
The county KESSHA chairman Stanley Plican, a Principal at Holy Cross Secondary School, raised concern over poor payment of fees, saying most of the schools are struggling with poor payment and giving the school heads a rough time in running the schools.
“Most of our parents have poor mode of paying school fees and this makes us strain in carrying out administrative activities, in most cases first term ends with more than 50 per cent fee balances,” said Plican.
The director however expressed his general satisfaction with the ongoing process and said he believed that the 100 percent transition can be a reality in West Pokot County with the 177 secondary schools that the county has out of which only 54 are boarding schools.
He further called upon the local administration more so from North Pokot sub-county to come in and help in mobilizing the parents to take their children to school.
“Transition rate from Pokot North Sub County has been very low and I call upon chiefs and their assistants to assist in mobilizing parents to take their children to school,” he said
Concerning the expansion of facilities and poor infrastructure, the county director called on those principals who are in need of an extra stream to apply and spend cautiously the infrastructure amount that the ministry budgets for every student.
Onyiego further insisted that every child who is admitted be equally captured online in the system with NEMIS and obtain a UPI number to enable proper government planning for every student including NHIF and other benefits.
He said only 65percent out of 9,106 students who have already joined local secondary schools within the county for Form one slot have so far been uploaded in the system.