Too many schools: not Quality Education
Turkana County has always been classified among many others as one of the most illiterate county in Kenya standing at 94 per cent illiteracy level for some decades now. This is not good news and no one will ever wish to be associated with such backwardness.
While this was among what the first president of our country had pledged to tackle during his time in helm, nothing to date has ever happened on this. Preceding Governments came over and have always in their manifestos promised to tackle the illiteracy menace with serious measures. Turkana is yet to experience this.
Turkana County has got a lot of many secondary schools, yes we all know illiteracy is one of our many challenges, but we do not have to over exaggerate the situation like seriously. It is very good and advisable to invest in Turkana education, a fact that Akai and Ekai there in the village will appreciate and tell you “ejok itwaan nikolong ayauni esukul turkan”
But we need to look at what we really need in this great sector, do we need quantity so that we establish many schools? Or we need quality and concentrate all our efforts to make it so. It will not be of any benefit to come up with new schools when there are old ones that lack proper facilities and infrastructure.
As at 2014, Turkana County had 32 secondary schools with an approximate number of students standing at 49,000, at average therefore a secondary school is hosting 1500 students which is still very low. I have had time to visit some schools around Turkana and I bet the number of students in those school are so little and should be merged with other schools. Some are hosted in primary schools.
Most of these schools lack proper infrastructure to run them like laboratories, school vehicles, classrooms among many others. These challenges have forced these schools to seek help from neighboring schools, this could not have happened if we had few secondary schools that we could easily manage with the little resources we have. Instead of establishing new schools, we should identify challenges that existing schools go through and fund them, construct dormitories to house many students, construct and equip laboratories to serve the many students, induce cash to motivate teachers to give the best to the students, instead of creating schools that boosts of two classrooms and no fence and water.
Looking at the spread and distribution of the schools around Turkana a lot of questions linger on my head, do people who establish these schools ever look at circumstances and situations? Do they consult stakeholders and education technocrats for that matter? For example the distance between schools has been drawn to 7 kilometres apart!
Unfortunately we have many resources which doesn’t have proper management. This therefore calls for a unified way of promoting education in Turkana County, like for example coming up with a joint education structure that will look into coordinating activities of all schools and among them putting efforts in establishment of new schools, proper management of funds from donors among many other duties to avoid duplication and wastage of precious funds that could have properly been utilized to develop already existing schools.
Education is all about learning new things and exposure, let ensure that our children learn so hard in primary school, get good grades and be called to schools which are far, which will mean they will have to travel long distances to new environments, to experience new challenges in terms of weather and meeting new faces out there, which can be as a far as up country sides. This way we will be bringing up smart, sharp future professionals.
Finally, I call upon education stakeholders to look into the issue of the many schools in the county and look for proper measures to ensure education promotion is not over exaggerated. I suggest we stop establishing more schools as at now and look at how we will develop the existing ones. Going forward we should have a structured way of establishing new schools in view to promoting quality, affordable and efficient schools for generations to come.