School alters learning programme to avoid conflict with wildlife (Kenya)


Stanley Ngotho, The Nation

Date Published

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Rampant human-wildlife conflict has adversely affected learning at Irkilunyeti Primary School in Merrueshi, Kajiado East sub-county. 

Pupils have been forced to attend classes from as late as 9am and leave by 3pm to curb attacks. The school borders Tsavo East National Park and Nasaru Olosho Conservancy. 

According to parents and teachers, roaming wild animals, especially elephants and hyenas, have affected education in the area as pupils strive to strike a balance between education and safety. 

“Our children’s safety while in school is not guaranteed. We are forced to escort our children to school, yet sometimes we find dangerous animals roaming in the school compound,” said Moses Karero, a parent. Area residents compete with wildlife for water and pasture leaving them with permanent scars and deaths.

Wild Animals Interrupting Classes

Mr Samuel Mulenga, the school’s head teacher, said elephants, hyenas and leopards occasionally interrupt class sessions while criss-crossing the compound. 

“It’s normal for us to find a leopard perching in one of the trees in the school compound in the morning. This trend has adversely affected education with the school posting low grades in the national exam,” said Mr Mulenga. 

A local non-governmental organisation has stepped in to save the situation by erecting an electric fence around the institution, which has more than 200 learners. “We are now hopeful this fence will deter wildlife from accessing the school compound and our pupils will be able to learn smoothly,” said Mr Mulenga.