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School shut as parents protest over poor state of classrooms

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One of the dilapidated classrooms at Mlimani Primary School in Nyandarua. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

A school in Ngorika, Nyandarua County, has been closed indefinitely after parents stormed the institution and withdrew their children hours after reopening on Monday.

The Standard established that no learners reported to Mlimani Primary School yesterday morning after the Monday morning protest. 

The parents lamented over the school’s deteriorated infrastructure, which includes mud-walled classrooms that are almost crumbling down and damaged desks. 

Teachers were forced to flee, leaving the irate parents going round inspecting the classrooms. Most of the classrooms’ walls have collapsed.

Pupils peeping through a hole in the walls of one of the classrooms at Mlimani Primary School in Nyandarua. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

Thuo Gachino, a resident, put the school management and the county directorate of education on the spot over what he termed laxity and failure to seek funds from the national government for a facelift. 

“There is no way the government can knowingly allow a school to continue to operate while in such a condition. The school has been operational for the past 12 years but still has mud-walled classrooms, lack desks and is poorly staffed,” said Gachino. 

He regretted that Ministry of Education officials have been on the necks of private investors in the sector to improve their infrastructure yet some public schools are in a worse state. 

“If we compare this school with others that the ministry officials have shut down, Mlimani Primary is worse. It is either they are not aware or are applying double standards in the assessment,” he said. 

The parents expressed fury as they walked around the classrooms.  

“Cabinet Secretary George Magoha should visit this school. Our children are not safe under these weak structures which are likely to collapse any minute,” said Gachino. 

Parents and Ngorika residents protest at Mlimani Primary School in Nyandarua. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

Margaret Wambui, also a parent at the school, linked the colds their children suffer from throughout the year to the sorry state of the classrooms. The school is located in a chilly area at the foot of the Aberdare Ranges. 

“There is nothing that motivates the children to be in this school at all. Their health is always at risk as strong cold winds coupled with heavy rain always hit the area disrupting their learning,” said Wambui. 

A teacher who sought anonymity revealed that the school’s population had dropped from 400 in 2018 to a paltry 70 in 2021 following the transfer of teachers without replacements.

Esther Kang’iri, also a parent, added that the school’s administration has been shying away from calling parents’ meetings for the past four years due to the sorry state of the school. 

Nyandarua County Director of Education Phillip Wambua, who was transferred to the region recently, promised to look into the matter.  

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