The fate of over 500 KCPE and KCSE candidates is in doubt as some schools in Baringo remain closed due to banditry attacks.
Dorothy Jebet, a human rights defender with the Elimu Kwanza Initiative, claims that learning has been halted in over 17 schools since December 2021.
A number of schools have been closed, while others have been converted into IDP camps according to Jebet.
She stated that ten people had been killed, thousands had been displaced, and animals had been stolen.
According to Jebet, ten schools in Baringo South and seven in Baringo North have been closed.
“We are wondering how the children from these disturbed areas are going to sit for their national exams yet classrooms are closed,” Jebet said.
Their comments follow an armed bandit attack on students at Tot Mixed Secondary School in Elgeyo Marakwet last week.
She was concerned that if the situation persisted, the candidates would be unable to take their national exams.
In fact, Jebet said, I the Ministry of Education should set special exams for the affected students.
She also criticized the government’s decision to merge examination centers, claiming that children’s lives would be jeopardized by trekking for more than 15 kilometers.
“They might get ambushed and killed by the bandits on the way,” Jebet said.
Nancy Kiptoon and Monica Kiprotich supported her, criticizing the government for abandoning the Baringo people to bandits.
“We belong to Kenya, we pay taxes and so the government has the responsibility to protect us with our properties,” Kiptoon said.
She went on to say that recalling teachers and children to schools in insecure areas due to the school calendar and exams would only endanger their lives.
“If there is no security then those schools should be closed down and converted into IDP camps,” Kiprotich said.
She stated that the government should have first assisted in relocating the children and their parents to safer grounds before forcing them to learn or take exams.
The women, on the other hand, urged Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matinagi to mobilize security officers for a massive operation.
“Currently nothing is going on in Baringo since CS Matiangi ordered operation to flash out bandits two weeks ago,” Jebet said.
She claimed that even officers on routine patrol along the porous borders were putting their lives in danger because they were few and all ill-equipped.
Since last year, 70 people have been killed and thousands have been displaced by bandits in the county.
More than 6,000 illegal firearms remain in civilian hands.