Asbestos roofs pose cancer risk to pupils

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By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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Hundreds of learners in 23 schools in Nakuru East constituency are learning under roofs made of asbestos, which poses a cancer risk to them, researchers have warned.

Cancer researchers say learning under old buildings with ageing and decomposing asbestos materials can increase the risk of getting lung cancer.

However, Nakuru East MP David Gikaria says the entire asbestos roofing material in the affected schools will be replaced with modern iron sheets at a cost of Sh12 million.

“There is no cause for alarm as all the schools that are affected will each receive Sh500,000 before the end of this month to upgrade the roofing to eliminate the exposure of asbestos material to our learners,” said Mr Gikaria.

Besides the roofing dilemma, at least three schools in the constituency are in bad shape and are not conducive to learning even as the constituency allocates 70 per cent of the annual Sh79 million CDF money to education.

Mr Gikaria admits that some of the classes in Lake View and Umoja primary schools are made of timber and mud.

Naka Primary School is even worse as the classes are made of iron sheets.

There is also an ongoing dispute on the ownership of the land on which the school sits.

Mr Gikaria said Sh55 million has been set aside for upgrading infrastructure and for bursaries to needy students in the constituency most of whose schools were built by the colonial government.

Besides ageing infrastructure some of the schools are facing serious overcrowding, which teachers say is affecting learning as some of the classes have between 70 and 80 pupils.

“We need at least five more classrooms to ease the congestion as each class should have between 40 and 45 pupils as per recommendations by the Teachers Service Commission,” said Nakuru Primary School headteacher Robert Banda.

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