In Summary
  • The situation mirrors the 2018 mass exodus that saw hundreds of teachers leave Wajir County.
  • The Al-Qaeda linked group has stepped up attacks in counties bordering Somalia since December.
  • Knut has threatened to mobilise tutors to leave insecure schools and regions even as security agencies give reassurances.

The Northern Kenya region is on the cusp of yet another education crisis as teachers begin fleeing amid fears of increasing Al-Shabaab attacks.

This is despite assurances by government agencies that they have enhanced security in areas considered to be terror hotspots.

The Al-Qaeda linked group has stepped up attacks in counties bordering Somalia since December.

In the last five weeks alone, the Somalia-based ragtag militia has carried out more than 10 attacks in both the Northern and Coastal regions that have left at least 25 people dead.

The situation mirrors the 2018 mass exodus that saw hundreds of teachers leave Wajir County following an attack on Qarsa Primary School when insurgents killed three people including two teachers.

A section of teachers from Garissa and Mandera were also transferred. At least 250 schools were forced to close due to lack of teachers while those that remained open were run by headteachers and a few tutors.

In a region that mostly depends on teachers from other parts of the country, another exit could spell doom for families with school-going children who are now staring at a bleak future.

Hussein Ali, a resident of Wajir who is also a parent to six school-going children, told the Nation that another transfer of teachers from the region will be catastrophic.

“I am really worried about my children’s future. It will really be bad for us parents if our teachers leave again,'' he said.

A similar scene was also witnessed in 2014 when Shabaab militants ambushed a Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera, killing 28 passengers. Most of the victims were teachers.

Since then, while significant progress has been made, counties in the North still lag behind others in terms of education. This has been widely blamed on lack of adequate teachers, harsh climatic conditions and terrorism.

URGENT ACTION NEEDED

On Monday, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion called on Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to convene an urgent meeting to discuss the security of teachers.

The union has threatened to mobilise tutors to leave insecure schools and regions even as security agencies give reassurances.

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