At least 224 primary schools and 42 secondary schools Wajir County are staring at closure following the exit of non-local teachers after an attack at Qarsa Primary School on February 16.
The decision to close the schools was reached on Tuesday after a crisis meeting involving boards of management, 42 Secondary school principals, and other education stakeholders.
This led to demonstrations in the county on Thursday in all the six sub-counties involving students, parents and education stakeholders calling on the Teachers Service Commission to return the teachers who left, leaving over 10,000 school children with no tutors.
TSC has since transferred 329 non-local teachers to other sub-counties for their safety.
During the demonstrations, the students expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the TSC has handled the matter, saying that their education is at stake.
They held a procession at Wajir Qorahey grounds before marching to the county commissioner’s office and TSC offices to present their grievances.
Mr. Abdi Billow, the chairman of BOM chairpersons association condemned the move by TSC to transfer the teachers saying the commission acted without caring about the welfare of the children in the county.
He added that as the BOM association, they were not consulted by TSC before the move, yet some of them were signatories in the employment of the teachers.
He added that they tried their best to raise their voices but their pleas were not heard.
“I am bitter because I am a taxpayer and a parent, I will not be happy to see children loitering in the streets due to lack of teachers in our county.
Wajir Knut chairman Noor Baghdad said in the event that the students from the county fail their national exams, they will call for the remarking of all the tests.
Another BOM chairman Mohamed Noor called on the resignation of TSC CEO Nancy Macharia for failure to address the education crisis in the county.
However, Wajir County Commissioner Loyford Kibaara denied claims of insecurity in the county, urging for the return of the teachers.
He said security in the county has since been beefed up.
“Qarsa attack was an unfortunate incident and after a security deliberation we immediately agreed on the transfer of non-local teachers from the border area to safer areas but it is unfortunate that TSC withdrew the teachers without consulting the security organs (so as) to understand the facts about the state of security in the county.
We, therefore, appeal to the TSC to return the teachers since security has been enhanced,” he said.
Kibaara added that they recently deployed 260 armed police reservists to boost security along the border area, an assurance that Wajir is safe.
He called on chiefs to be responsible and play an active role in boosting security in the county.
He cited one case where one teacher who was transferred to Turkana is now pleading to be returned to Wajir.
This, Mr. Kibaara said, is a clear indication that Wajir is safe.
However, Wajir East TSC Director Mohamed Yusuf said that the commission is working round the clock to ensure that all the teachers who left the county are replaced.
“As we are talking, we have already advertised for the positions of teachers to replace those who have left,” he said.
He appealed to the parents and schools’ boards of management to be calm as they await a permanent solution.