Children Escape Death By a Whisker After 10 Pit Toilets Collapsed

PHOTO COURTESY// Kenya to Introduce Mandarin Chinese in primary school

Chandera primary school pupils in Molo are lucky to have escaped death by a whisker when a pit latrine with ten partitions collapsed on Thursday morning.

Area residents say that the 11 pm incident shocked many following a loud bang but were unable to visit the site due to the heavy rains at the time of the incident.

However, Joseph Mwangi who managed to arrive at the scene said that the block had caved in but he could not establish the exact damage caused.

Mwangi said in the company of other parents, they rushed there in the early morning hours before the children arrived at the school and found that the collapsed pit latrine was the one the boys used.

Since the occurrence of the incident, parents are a worried lot that the incident might affect the smooth running of studies in the school especially to the candidates and thus call for a speedy intervention into the matter.

The Area Chief John Nderitu who termed the incident as unfortunate assured the parents of continuous learning given that the school has enough latrines to accommodate those affected and thus would not be shut down.

He pointed out that the remaining latrines would be assessed to ensure that the structures were safe for use.

The school board of management, Ministry of Education officials together with local administrators held a meeting concerning this matter but they could not be reached for comment.

In a related story, Association of Non-Formal schools has urged the government to stop the ongoing national closure of unregistered schools.

NFSWA Chairperson Allan Juma Masika said that the exercise was emotive and it would affect over two million children hailing from humble backgrounds.

“The implementation of this directive will affect tens of thousands of schools and the policies made affecting Kenyans should be subjected to careful considerations and scrutiny before being implemented,” he said.

Masika said that a decision to shut down all unregistered non-formal schools is putting of pupils schooling in over 20, 000 schools in difficulty.

“The decision does not distinguish between schools that are already halfway through with the government’s lengthy registration process and those that have not engaged at all,” Masika said.

He added that government officers were not making a distinction between safe and unsafe semi-permanent schools, noting that all semi-permanent schools that were not built using the conventional brick and motor were affected by this directive despite observing the established Kenyan building standards.

He further noted that public schools were normally overcrowded hence the need for non-formal schools, adding that these schools served a great need in the communities they operated in.

Masika demanded that the Ministry of Education immediately halts the ongoing closure of the non-formal schools and develop a better approach towards the matter.

“Secondly, the county education board should hasten the extremely lengthy process of registering schools that have met the minimum criteria of registration and have submitted themselves for inspection,” added Masika.

He called on the Ministry of Education to engage stakeholders in the sector to resolve the registration and inspection challenges in the same.

The chairperson said as stakeholders, they were ready to support the government efforts to ensure that schools have a safe environment.

He further called upon the Ministry of Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha to be the voice of reason and bring order to the association for the sake of the pupils in the schools.

The government has ordered the closure of all unregistered schools offering basic education in the country.

Through the Ministry of Education, the state said that some of the schools in the country have been established without following the due process with some operating without licenses.

In a circular released late last month and signed by Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, the ministry also directed closure to all registered schools grappling with deteriorating infrastructure.

“Most of those institutions do not meet the minimum standards required of them to be registered and some of them have infrastructure that is below standard and which pose danger to learners,” part of the statement read.

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