Education stakeholders in Meru County are worried over the high number of candidates who failed to sit for their 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams.

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This is after it emerged that 430 pupils who were registered and scheduled to sit for the national exams failed to do so.

County Director of Education Milton Nzioka said measures need to be taken to address the current situation facing the county education sector.

Nzioka said those who fail to sit for KCPE exams will not proceed to secondary school, a situation that could lead to a crisis in the county.

Igembe Central recorded the highest number of pupils with 115, 70 girls and 45 boys, who did not sit for their exams followed by Igembe North with 85 candidates, 47 girls and 38 boys while in Imenti Central, only 10 failed to sit for the exams.

Child labour and early pregnancies have been blamed for the high number of dropouts in Igembe Central and Igembe North.

Nzioka said young boys are lured into doing business and making money instead of focusing on education.

“It is a worrying trend because you find that boys are lured into the miraa trade and boda boda business, which is quite unfortunate. Miraa trade lures boys into easy money since in a day one can easily make Sh1,000 which makes them think education is not important," the county director of education was quoted by Daily Nation.

“There is need for serious sensitisation among the people of these areas who should teach their children that education is important even if one has money,” he added.

Eastern Regional Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru had warned parents who fail to take their responsibility seriously saying that action will be taken against them.

“We will not tolerate a situation where children are the ones working in the miraa trade and I have given strict instructions to administrators, including chiefs, to make sure parents of children seen loitering around are arrested,” said Nakoru.