Published in the DAILY NATION
The government has issued title deeds to 1,000 public schools in 13 counties as it moves to protect learning institutions from land grabbers.
Speaking at Moi Girls High School in Eldoret during the handing of the formal property rights to headteachers, Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said lack of the vital document exposed schools to grabbers.
He said at least 4,000 schools had so far reported attempted grabbing of their land.
“To be honest, there is no way our schools can develop when out of 40,577 public schools in Kenya, 24,405 schools (83 per cent) lack lease certificates while another 55 per cent (16,172) are not surveyed,” Prof Kaimenyi said.
Prof Kaimenyi said 41 per cent of public schools are at risk of encroachment and grabbing while 14 per cent have reported land grabbing cases.
As a way of addressing such problems, he said the partnership among the ministry, the National Land Commission, the Shule Yangu Alliance and the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya has succeeded in titling lands belonging to public schools.
“The government has also developed and disseminated guidelines on the titling process.
“Rapid Response Desks including a specialised unit for public schools has also been established within the Ministry,” he added.
The titling programme was borne out of the Multi-Stakeholder Rapid Response Programme formed to expedite the surveying and titling of public school land in Kenya, and it was launched on January 2017.
This was in response to rising cases of schools losing land to grabbers.
Prof Kaimenyi urged school heads and boards of management to ensure that their institutions have title deeds.
“This is just a pilot programme but the government is committed to supporting all the stakeholders in ensuring that all the schools have these valid documents.”
The schools that were given the document are Chewutaki Primary School, Ndalabulanji Primary School, Kipkeno Church and Nursery School, Moses Kiptanui Secondary School, Ilula Primary School and Secondary School, Kabuliot Secondary School, and Murungus Primary School in Uasin Gishu County.
The others are Sitwoteti Harambee Secondary School, Chebigen AIN School, Manyolol School, Kiyongo Primary School, Simbi Primary School, Kaplikach Primary School, Mosone Primary School, Litein High School and Kaminjewa School (Kericho County), Bugar DEB Primary School and Kapsaos School in Elgeyo Marakwet.
Kekanet Primary School, Sigalame Primary School, Ujuru Primary School, Kisoko ARC Boys, Kisoko ARC Girls, Akurukit ARC School and Amorong ARC School in Busia County.
Lalan Primary School, Kagure Primary School, Ogare Girls Secondary School, Mbungu Primary School, Agudo Primary School and Obera Boys Secondary School in Homa Bay County among others.
Robert Masese, the director of Secondary and Tertiary Education at the Education ministry, representing Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, said the titling will shield schools from land grabbers.
“It is the mandate of school heads and their boards to ensure that we safeguard open spaces or even unoccupied land in these learning institutions so that we can cut down on wrangles of land ownership among schools, individuals or even the host community,” Mr Masese said.