In Gwassi Central location, Suba Sub-County, Homa Bay, lies Kinchororio Primary School, a school that is facing a crisis due to poor access roads leading to the institution. The school has become desolate and in ruins, with more than 70 percent of parents transferring their children to other schools in the area, and half of the school’s staff seeking transfers to other work stations. The poor road infrastructure makes it difficult for teachers and learners to get to the institution, especially during the rainy season when the ground becomes slippery.
The Kinchororio Primary School is located uphill five kilometers away from the main road, making it extremely difficult for learners and teachers to get to the school. Those who attempt to get to the school when it rains often come back with scars that serve as constant reminders not to attempt to do so again. The poor access roads have made it almost impossible to transport construction materials to the site, forcing the abandonment of a project to build new classrooms.
The school’s facilities have deteriorated to the point that parents who still have their children at the school worry that their children will perform dismally due to the deplorable state of the facilities. The school has lost more than 70 percent of its learners in the past year, leaving just 149 learners. The headteacher, John Ngar, is now worried that his school will be shut down if all learners desert Kinchororio. He has called on the government to consider their grievances and construct a road to the school that can be used by motorists.
“We currently have four teachers after others were transferred elsewhere,” he says in an interview with Nation.
The school’s board chairman, Peter Osiwo, says their cries for a road upgrade are still going unheard. He explains that parents resorted to transferring their children to other schools when they realized the government is slow to address infrastructural challenges. The lack of action by the government has led to a mass exit of learners, making it challenging to keep the school open.
“We got support from a non-governmental organisation which offered to build new classrooms. It was however difficult to transport construction materials to the site because of the road,” he said.
The poor state of infrastructure is not unique to Kinchororio Primary School. Many schools in rural areas of Kenya are facing similar challenges, with poor access roads, lack of resources, and inadequate facilities. This has led to a widening gap between the quality of education offered in rural and urban areas. According to a UNESCO report, only 18 percent of primary schools in rural areas have access to electricity, compared to 67 percent in urban areas.
The government has made some efforts to address these challenges by implementing programs such as the Kenya Primary Education Development (PRIEDE) program, which aims to improve access to quality primary education in Kenya. However, the impact of such programs has been limited due to inadequate funding and poor implementation.
Improving access to quality education in rural areas requires a concerted effort by the government, NGOs, and other stakeholders. The government needs to prioritize the development of infrastructure, including access roads and electricity, in rural areas. NGOs and other stakeholders can also play a significant role by supporting schools in these areas with resources such as textbooks, classroom materials, and teacher training.