Contrary to their counterparts in the rest of the country, children in Maralal, Samburu County, are approaching education differently.
When others are attending classes during the day to acquire the basic rights, children in Maralal are busy looking after their families’ livestock.
The Samburu community are pastoralists, they value their livestock over education. Parents task their children to herd the livestock.
TV47 senior reporter Sharon Barang’a visited the county and highlighted how the children struggle to attend school.
Since modernity is slowly but surely setting in in the remote county, a section of children have devised means by which they can serve two masters- herd and attend school.
So hardworking are these minors that they herd from morning till around 5 pm, before getting prepared for their two-hour evening class.
The children are, however, at risk since the possibility of encountering wild animals is high. Hyenas are a constant menace the brave children have to deal with.
The class has a capacity of 50 children being taught by only one teacher.
The teacher is forced to teach in the local dialect, Samburu, once in a while since not all the pupils understand English. The children are taught two lessons per night. A lesson lasts 40 minutes.
“We use levels in our learning, that is levels 1, 2 and 3. After level 3, the pupil receives a certificate from the school which allows them to go to primary school. We do exams after every end of the term,” Elijah, a teacher at Lchekuti School told TV47.
The late Alois Letipila, who was an early childhood development teacher, was the brainchild behind Lchekuti school in 1991. Letipila is remembered as an education enthusiast by the community.
“He would teach the boys and girls and even recruited other teachers to teach which attracted more boys and girls to school,” Nasieku Letipila, Alois’ daughter, adds.
Elijah Labarakwe, another teacher at the school explains how their program entails five subjects.
“We teach our pupils on five subjects- Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, Social Studies and Christian Religious Education,” says Labarakwe.
Labarakwe adds: “Were it not for Lchekuti school, I would still be herding or would have become a cattle rustler,” confesses Lekaura. “Since 2016, we have seen low school dropouts and a decrease in early marriages because of the school initiative.”
Stephen Lekaura is a living testimony that the night learners school works. He says that he was forced to look after his father’s livestock at a tender age.
Lekaura says that his father then enrolled him at the school for evening classes. He graduated from school and pursued further education. He is now a diploma holder.