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The School Where Teachers and Pupils Share Latrines

Teachers and learners of Urim Primary School in Siaya are struggling to accommodate themselves by using the same area of responding to calls of nature.

The situation is not good as teachers and pupils are enduring humiliation. Imagine a teacher in class and wants to go to the same latrine the learners use. A jigger infestation could also spell bad news to teachers and learners alike.

Inadequate basic infrastructure at the school that is located in the outskirts of Siaya town has led to teachers and pupils coming up with a silent rule where every individual has to find out whether there the environment is ‘conducive’ (i.e. if there is a teacher or a learner in the latrine) before using the latrines.

The school is located in Central Alego ward, Usonga constituency. Teachers and learners to the school have been experiencing a huge number of learners and teachers who are not comfortable with the situation of toilets and classrooms in the school. The classrooms of the school are also not in good condition.

This information came to the attention of the public when members of the Kenyan media companies visited the school, exposing the worrying state of school infrastructure.

The small number of classrooms available in the school is almost collapsing. This has forced the management to come up with a clever way of accommodating learners.

Single rooms meant to host one classroom have been partitioned with old iron sheets to allow for two classes. This interferes with the concentration of learners during lessons.

Parents have also complained about the state of the school as it does not allow teachers to be motivated to stay for long in the school. Teachers and learners alike have left the school over the issue.

According to parents of the school, children from the neighborhood prefer to walk long distances to attend other schools to avoid the shame of poor infrastructure and being infested with jiggers.

“Some of the villagers prefer to take their kids to schools that are some kilometers away to escape the risks that come with attending this school that has poor latrines and classrooms,” said Mr. Otieno, one of the parents to the school.

The school Chairman Mr, Joseph Odima told the media that attempts to improve the infrastructure have failed over the years due to the high poverty levels within the community.

Peter Onyango Wanyang’said that it is a nightmare for teachers whenever they feel like visiting the toilet as learners can pop up any time when they are also pressed.

Wanyang’a Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) official (Siaya Branch) said that most teachers posted to the school choose to work in other places due to the bad state of the school.

“The conditions here are not good. We are praying every day that we get well-wishers so that teachers and pupils can be comfortable,” he said.

“A comfortable teacher will definitely teach better and get better results. That is what KNUT stands for,” he added.

Urim Primary school’s Headteacher, Pamela Otondo who has been in the schools for less than five months reveals that the school may be closed unless good Samaritans come to their rescue.

She revealed that the school has a total population of 120 learners with nine teachers who are ready to work and determined but the poor infrastructure lets them down.

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