State issues titles to public schools amid land grabbing menace

Pupils of Naka Primary School in Nakuru demonstrate against grabbing of 10 acres of their school land on May 19, 2016. FILE PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NMG
Pupils of Naka Primary School in Nakuru demonstrate against alleged grabbing of their school's land on May 19, 2016. FILE PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NMG  

The government has issued title deeds to 1000 public schools across the country in a move aimed at shielding the learning institutions from land grabbers.

Speaking Friday at Moi Girls High School in Eldoret, Lands Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi said lack of the vital document had exposed schools to unscrupulous individuals.

“To be honest, there is nowhere our schools can develop when out of 29,404 public schools in Kenya, 83 per cent or 24,405 schools lack lease certificates while another 55 per cent or 16,172 are not surveyed,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

He revealed that at least 4,000 schools (or 14 per cent of public schools) had so far reported grabbing of their land.

According to the Lands minister, another 41 per cent are at risk of encroachment.

The ministry - in partnership with the National Land Commission, the Shule Yangu Alliance and the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya - is working on titling lands belonging to the schools.

“The government has also developed and disseminated guidelines on the application process for the titling process. Rapid Response Desks including a specialised unit for public schools has also been established within the Ministry,” added Prof Kaimenyi.

The titling programme began in January this year to expedite the surveying and titling of land in the wake of a spike in schools losing land to grabbers.

Be vigilant

Prof Kaimenyi urged school heads and boards of management to ensure their institutions have secured 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,” he explained.

Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i was represented by Robert Masese, the director for Secondary and Tertiary education in the ministry.

“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 between schools, individuals or even the host community,” said Mr Masese.

Some of the schools in the area that secured deeds include Chewutaki Primary School, Ndalabulanji Primary School, Kipkeno Church and Nursery School, Moses Kiptanui Secondary School, Ilula Primary School and Secondary School among others in Uasin Gishu County.