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Dream of Sh230m secondary school stalls over contractor debt

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Work on a new Sh230 million Voi Girls Secondary School in Taita Taveta has stalled because the contractor is owed more than Sh70 million.

Parents had asked the government in 2015 to move the school to another site to provide a better learning environment.

The school, in Tanzania village, will be relocated to Vindo to escape noise pollution from trains on the Standard Gauge Railway. Parents blame students’ poor grades on the noise.

The old Voi Girls was set up to accommodate students from low-income families in Voi constituency. It has more than 600 students.

The new campus, whose construction started in 2019 and is 95 per cent complete, is yet to be connected to electricity and a reliable water source.

The grounds have not been levelled. Final touches also need to be applied in the kitchen and dining room.

Speaking at the site, parents, led by chairperson Juma Kombora, said the old school sits near the SGR line and this disrupts learning.

“We call upon the government to fast-track this project so that our children can come and learn here. The current location is unconducive to learning,” he said.

“The project was to be completed in March last year but it has stalled. It was a one-year contract so it has delayed for over a year.”

He said the new school is expected to accommodate more girls and provide a conducive and safe environment for the students.

“The old school is congested and lacks the necessary learning infrastructure. We are pushing for this new school because it will be larger with modern learning facilities and will take in more students,” he said.

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He said the students lose up to two hours of learning time daily because of noise pollution from trains.

Another parent, Doreen Msagha, said students score poorly in examinations because of noise and congestion.

“Our worry is that we don’t know when the school will be completed to enable our children to learn in a conducive environment,” she said.

Lucia Chao urged leaders in the area to push the government to pay the developer, Jedy General Contractors Ltd, so that construction can resume.

“We want our children to relocate here next term. We are giving the government an ultimatum of two weeks to disburse the funds,” she said.

Voi MP Jones Mlolwa said he will push Kenya Railways Corporation to pay the contractor.

“I will follow up with the necessary institutions to ensure that the contractor is paid. I’m aware of the challenges the students are facing and I promise to follow this matter to the end,” he told the parents.

The ultra-modern school will have four streams for each class and will accommodate more than 1,000 students.

It will also have more classrooms, teachers’ houses, laboratories, a library, an administration block, a dining hall and a modern kitchen, as well as playgrounds for various sports. BY DAILY NATION


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