Crisis in Mandera schools as non-native teachers leave
10 months ago, 12 Mar 15:15
Mandera County has found itself in another educational crisis barely three years after experiencing a teacher exodus blamed on insecurity. On November 20, 2014, twenty eight travellers were killed when suspected al-shabaab terrorists attacked a bus. Victims of the raid were non locals, with teachers making a big percentage of the targeted group. Following the carnage, the government pledged to boost security in Mandera while the Teachers Service Commission transferred tutors who refused to return to the county. SHOCKWAVES The devolved government hired Form Four leavers to keep students in school. Just last month, another tragedy befell the teaching fraternity but in neighbouring Wajir County. Two non-local teachers were killed alongside the wife of one of them, when terrorists raided Qarsa Primary School on February 16. The attack sent shockwaves across the region since the school is in Wajir East Sub County which borders Mandera. FEW LOCALS There were reports that the attackers fled to Mandera. “Many teachers have left, citing insecurity,” County Deputy TSC Director Ahmed Osman said on Monday. Mr Osman said 63 teachers had left Mandera since February, adding that more had applied for transfer. “We are faced with a challenge that cannot be easily addressed because local teachers are few,” he said. NO REPLACEMENTS The TSC official added that even the few available locals were not willing to work in areas marked as insecure. “We transferred at least 100 teachers from areas perceived to be dangerous but nobody is willing to replace them,” he said. He said Lafey, Mandera South and parts of Mandera East Sub County were the worst hit by the teacher exodus. Mr Osman added that 23 primary school teachers and 40 in secondary schools left the county in a month. SECURE AREAS Mandera East lost 21 teachers in its 15 secondary schools. Mr Osman said he was surprised at the rate non-local teachers were leaving more secure areas like Banisa, Rhamu and Takaba. ”Some parts of this county have never experienced terrorism. Teachers are never harassed and it is surprising that they area leaving,” he said. LOWER GRADE According to Mr Osman, teachers in insecure areas were receiving counseling before being transferred. Kiliwaheri MCA Bashir Alio appealed to government to lower the entry grade to teacher training colleges for Mandera residents. “To reduce teacher-shortage, the government should consider lowering the grade to at least C- or D,” he said. Mr Alio said 25 teachers had left Banisa Sub County. “The problem will end when the government invests heavily in security and allows locals to train as teachers,” he said.
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