Monday, January 03, 2011

A drought can even dry up school enrollment

A drought in Kenya has hurt enrollment at schools for the start of New Year's classes. Families who need green grass for their livestock to graze upon have moved away from the drought areas. A school district in the driest parts of the country have as many as 1000 children who will not be able to show up for school. Meanwhile, the districts in Southern Ethiopia that have more water will see a strain on their resources as the new children arrive.

From the Daily Nation, Hassan Huka describes the enrollment changes.

Balesa and El Adi primary schools have boarding facilities where children from pastoralist parents can get a reprieve but acute water shortage in the region will prevent normal school opening from taking place.

The boarding facilities at the two schools are paid for by church organisations but they could not sponsor the fuelling of water tankers because of the distance involved.

“Sponsoring organisations of Balesa and El-Adi boarding facilities could not incur watering expense since the nearest water point is 98 kilometres away across the desert in Horr town. Parents have shifted together with their children in search of water for livestock during the December holidays and they might not return quickly for opening of schools,” said Mr Kimani.

Animals have died

Pastoralists in the area have shifted to Merti district while others have crossed into southern Ethiopia with their livestock as drought ravages the region. Many animals have died from lack of water and pasture in the area.

As drought continues, an upsurge of pupils flocking to stable schools such as Maikona and Horr primary schools which have boarding facilities fully sponsored by the Catholic Church are anticipated but Education officials fear such eventuality might affect provision of quality education due to high number of pupils in classrooms.

“Pupils from other schools which could not open due to water shortage will enrol for first term this year at either Maikona or Horr Primary but that will strain the school resources and quality of education will drop,” said the DEO.

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