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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Uhuru directs probe into schools fires

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on education stakeholders to help end the indiscipline currently going on in schools.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has in the past proposed that corporal punishment to be reintroduced to stem indiscipline.

However, Magoha’s remarks have elicited varied reactions, with educationists and children rights defenders saying the problem is deep.

And now President Uhuru Kenyatta  has directed the ministry to investigate and come up with solutions to the violence and unrest that have seen more than schools shut in just a week.

President has been monitoring the situation “and has vowed to get to the bottom of it.”

Some Kenyans have attributed the unrest to fear of examinations, the strain caused by the crash programme as teachers strive to recover the lost year and the quest by students for the kind of freedom they enjoyed during their nine-month “holiday” called to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The Head of State also wants private organizations to help the government improve school infrastructure in a bid to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols.

Since the resumption of learning early in the year, schools have struggled to enforce the health guidelines, particularly social distancing, frequent washing of hands and ensuring every learner has a face mask.

Some schools have taken the drastic step of holding lessons in the open as advised by Prof Magoha towards the end of last year.

The unrest has resulted in school fires, attacks on teachers and staff, destruction of property and walkouts.

Some education stakeholders have blamed the government for failing to implement recommendations on guidance and counselling in schools.

Teachers cite the nine-month break as the main cause of the indiscipline, blaming parents for failing to instill values in their children.

Heads teachers have cited underfunding by the government as a contributor to the riots.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association chairman Nicholas Gathemia said most learners “have not fully brought their minds back to school” after the long break and need counselling.

“The break also exposed learners to some lifestyles that greatly affected their discipline levels,” Mr Gathemia said.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) asked the government to abolish boarding schools.

Task forces formed to look into student indiscipline have recommended the establishment of functional guidance and counselling departments in schools.

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