By Enock Nyankieya, Busia
The leadership in Busia is banking on a multi-sectorial approach to address deteriorating education standards in the County.
That, the region registered only Six Grade ‘As’ in the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national examination is enough tilt on the scale that things are not moving in the right direction for a region boasting academia persona.
On Thursday, the County held its first Education Stakeholders Engagement conference at a hotel in Busia town with the view of addressing the challenges ailing the sector.
They include but not limited to inadequate learning facilities, poor school infrastructure, early pregnancies, poor teacher-student-parent engagement and high poverty levels.
Busia Governor HE Dr Paul Otuoma who chaired the forum alongside County Commissioner Kipchumba Rutto highlighted the need for the two levels of government to work together despite a clear constitutional mandate on devolved functions.
The Governor shared his productivity agenda which has an economic revitalization strategies aimed at reducing poverty levels in the county, an area highlighted during the plenary as a key contributor to poor performance.
“We can’t isolate ourselves from the challenges facing the sector but rather identify them and come up with solutions that are tailor made to tackle them. I believe once we validate the productivity plan document through public participation we will be to address some of the challenges just through agriculture,” said the governor.
Mr Rutto committed to tame teenage pregnancies abound in the county by the ensuring culprits are brought to book.
“The two levels of government are like Siamese twins joined at the hip and thus want to assure you that we are committed to tame all these vices in our communities through chiefs and their assistants,” he said.
Ministry of education and teachers service commission officials in Busia James Ekaale and Charles Nyauma respectively,noted that teachers shortage compounded with high poverty index have negatively impacted the education output especially poor performance in national examinations compared to neighboring counties in Western.
Religious leaders led by fr Faustine Wesonga accused education stakeholders for lack of the goodwill to develop infrastructures in schools to attract more students and more capitation from national government.
The chief guest, Dr Robert Wafuna of Kibabii University and an Alumni of St Mathias Boys Busia, reiterated the need for parents to take up their roles in development of their schools rather than leaving the role to the government.
The forum which also had the attendance of Deputy Governor HE Arthur Odera, Busia Senator Okiya Omutata, Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala, USAID Chief of Party Orengo, Professor Okumu Bigambo, Professionals, Principals from best performing schools, teachers and students resolved to kick start countywide discussion on education quality and standards.
Establishment of a team experts and key stakeholders is also on the cards to convert the deliberations into action plan.
Other resolutions included the need for school managers to adopt best managing practices for learning institution, reward, recognise and encourage good performance at all levels and while leaders have been urged to work together to reduce the gap between the establishment and actual numbers.
Further, participants agreed to attract sons and daughters of Busia to actively engage in schools’ affairs through appointment to Board of Management and the need for regular interaction between stakeholders devoid of empty rhetoric.
Also present were County Executive Committee Members, Chief officers, County Public Service Board Members and Education Committee Members of the Busia County Assembly.