74 students affected in Vihiga arson attack
30 June 2016, 15:37
Vihiga - Students at Givole Secondary School in Hamisi sub County, Vihiga County lost their personal effects in an evening fire that gutted down a dormitory.
School Principal Joselin Isigi said they suspected neighbours to have sneaked into the school and started the fire.
“There is high likelihood that someone from outside the school might have sneaked in through the fence to cause the fire,” said Isigi.
She added, “We don’t know the intentions of the arsonists. All our 74 students who were using the dormitory were affected.”
She said investigations had been initiated to see the cause of the fire.
Ms Isigi said a few students sustained some injuries while trying to salvage their property and exonerated them from having any links with the fire in the school.
However, the Principal’s statement contradicted the earlier statement released by Board of Management chairperson, Wilberforce Agesa who said students had written a letter addressed to the Principal regarding some of their grievances.
“While the Principal was in a heads meeting in Mombasa, students wrote a letter that was pushed under her door,” said Agesa.
He note that students had expressed concern that they were fetching water from a neighbouring stream, were being harassed by teachers and there was a general increase in indiscipline.
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“The students had threatened to take action if nothing was done,” Agesa said.
Agesa, who condemned the act, said the school has been doing its best to give the best to students and promised to investigate the incident to the fullest.
This comes even as Education CS Fred Matiang’i directed school Board of Managements to hold meetings with students and listen to their grievances.
He said in his tours of schools, together with education PS Belio Kipsang and TSC CEO Nancy Macharia, gave the ministry a first-hand feel from education officials on the ground on the situation of student unrests.
In the last week, over five schools have experienced arson attacks in the Western and Nyanza regions.
Sabatia MP, Alfred Agoi however noted some of the fires in schools are caused by unqualified electricians employed to conduct wiring of buildings in schools.
The legislator said schools were spending a fortune in repairing burnt down dormitories and classes and the fire is often blamed on electric fault.
"Most Principals, in their efforts to use cheap labour, end up employing electricians that are not qualified and to some extent quacks. This ends up costing schools that are then burdened with repairs that cost more than building new structures," said Agoi.
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