Get lasting solution to arson in schools
4 months ago, 12 June 00:27
The frequency of school fires in recent weeks should jolt the authorities into action. In the past few weeks, we have reported at least 10 incidents across various counties and although, mercifully, no major tragedies have occurred, there is every reason to be worried and take necessary precautions to forestall calamities. These incidents are a premonition of possible disasters.
Last week, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed issued a directive to principals to give daily briefs to county education officers on the security situation in their schools in the wake of the rising cases of student unrest and, in particular, the burning of the institutions’ facilities.
The principals and their deputies are also under instruction to stay in school and intensify surveillance.
At the same time, school boards of management have been directed to hold regular meetings with the institutional managers to assess the levels of discipline and gauge the mood of learners and consequently act appropriately should there be signs of disgruntlement that can culminate in a strike and destruction of property.
The directives are timely to avert more cases of unrest which, once they start, spread like bush fire because of copy-cat reactions by students.
The incidents of school unrest are unsurprising. This is the second term, the longest in the school calendar when candidates sit mock examinations and where the unprepared tend to rebel and foment chaos. We have to curb all forms of unrest.
No longer are they just mere protests against the administration or an expression of grievance; students have become too lethal, resorting to extreme actions to be felt.
Indeed, the country has a bad record of student unrest. Just last year, seven students were burnt to death at Moi Girls School-Nairobi. Unfortunately, the school is back in the news over a student rape case that has shocked the nation. The point we are making is, schools must be alert, open avenues for constant dialogue with students to defuse discontent and, more importantly, enforce tight security to prevent destructive strikes.
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