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Isiolo school set for reopening 5 years after closure over insecurity

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Communal clashes saw parents withdraw their children from Bisanadi Primary School, and teachers chased away, denying hundreds the right to education.

Bisanadi Primary School in Garbatulla, Isiolo County, is finally set to be reopened five years after it was closed over conflicts between two communities.

A surge in insecurity, fueled by incessant conflicts, saw residents flee for their safety in droves, parents withdraw their children from the school, and teachers chased away, denying hundreds of innocent pupils the right to education.

Over time, however, peace efforts by the sub-county security team and local elders have borne fruit, with the warring communities embracing reconciliation, coexisting harmoniously, and engaging in trade, mostly on Saturdays.

The security team and education officials met on Tuesday with the local communities in readiness for the reopening, which was scheduled for next Monday. A new headteacher posted by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and three other teachers were introduced at the meeting.

In the spirit of concerted efforts to keep the students in school, parents were tasked with cleaning and repairing classes, some of which were being used for Madrassa lessons.

The local community was implored to provide land for the construction of teachers' quarters and assist in the identification of three residents to be recruited as untrained teachers ahead of the reopening.

Deputy County Commissioner Stephen Nyakundi said the government had already deployed 11 police officers to provide security but lamented the lack of land to build a patrol base and the officers' quarters.

"Offering land for the construction of police and teachers' quarters will enhance learning and security in the area and promote development," Nyakundi said.

He directed parents to take all children of school-going age to the institution on Monday to ensure learning kicks off.

Garbatulla Deputy County Commissioner Stephen Nyakundi (R) poses for a picture with students in one of the classrooms at Bisanadi Primary School on May 14, 2024. (Photo: Waweru Wairimu/EV)

Community members at the meeting highlighted key issues, including the installation of a network mast for enhanced communication and the reporting of incidents, reliable water supply, health services, and an improved road network to the school.

"We also appeal to the TSC to post enough teachers and the government to provide relief food for the retention of the learners. We all have a role to play in ensuring the school is back on its feet," elder Yusuf Abdi said.

He expressed optimism that, with the resumption of learning at the school, the area would experience relative growth and development.

Nyakundi appealed to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) and network service providers to install a mast at the school, saying it would immensely contribute towards enhanced security.

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