Low Enrollment, High School Dropout Hits Nyandarua County
A number of secondary schools in the Nyandarua North Sub County of the Ndaragwa Constituency have continued to report low enrollments, causing worry among regional education stakeholders.
Community schools vying for a tiny catchment area in an attempt to profit from the national government’s free secondary school capitation were discovered by KNA during a spot check.
This year, only six students were registered in form one at Dedan Kimathi mixed Secondary school, for example.
Ms. Beth Kairu, the school’s principal, explained to a sub-county CBC Implementation Committee that toured the institution that the school’s catchment region was a local elementary school.
This region has also been impacted by rural-to-urban migration, and the remaining population is aging.
“This school’s catchment region for kids is the nearby Mung’etho Primary School,” she added, adding that the secondary school has 81 students in total.
She pleaded for assistance to construct dorms so that the school could attract more students and remain solvent.
In contrast, St Mary’s Aberdare Secondary School, formerly Kiriogo Secondary, has 147 pupils this year, down from 200 students last year.
Principal Jason Mwangi ascribed this to the local community’s poverty, which has resulted in a lack of interest in education, as most guardians had failed to pay the Sh12, 000 yearly meal fee.
“Some of the students drop out of school to do illegal logging in the neighboring (Aberdare) forest or join Boda Boda business, while girls end up in early marriages.
He said, adding that the neighboring Mathenya and Ngobit secondary schools had also pulled many of their students, due to their accessibility.
Mwangi, however, stated that the school’s 10-acre property was open for the construction of a boarding facility, which would result in an increase in enrollment.
“We know it is an uphill task to put up the dormitories and dining hall, but we feel that is the only way the school will remain afloat as it’s the only hope of this village that was also drowning in drug abuse,” said the principal.
Similarly, Aberdare Secondary, located around 20 kilometers off the Nyahururu-Nyeri route, has 114 female pupils registered in all four of its streams, despite having a capacity of 600.
Justus Musyoka, the director of education for the sub-county of Nyandarua North, stated that a high enrollment would be the only way to ensure an increase in capitation and development.
Walter Ngaira, the area’s deputy county commissioner, advised the principals to do everything possible to keep pupils at school, including utilizing the huge terrain for agricultural activities to provide the students with lunch.
Ngaira stated that the CBC’s policy of requiring parents to transport their children to the junior high school closest to their home will increase enrolment in the schools, pressuring them to grow their numbers in order to get greater government capitation.