Kenya's education sector in crises amid burning of school dormitories
02 August 2016, 21:10
Nairobi (Xinhua) -- The torching of dormitories by enraged
high school students has triggered a new crisis in Kenya's education
sector as national leaders, experts and investors intensify the call for
a durable solution to the menace.
By Monday, an estimated 120 schools across Kenya had experienced a
form of arson on students' living quarters and laboratories hence
triggering fresh turmoil in the education sector.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 29 said the government will take a
stern action against criminals behind torching of learning facilities
whose cost of rebuilding could run into millions of dollars.
Speaking at a public forum in Nairobi, Kenyatta said his government
supported peaceful dialogue between school administrators and students
to avert strikes and destruction of property.
He stressed that national leaders, parents, teachers and
administrators had an obligation to instill sound values to young
learners in order to minimize lawlessness in schools.
"It is the duty of every parent, teacher and leaders of all stripes
to offer guidance to students to ensure they are not lured into criminal
activities like burning of schools," Kenyatta said.
He ruled out an early closure of schools citing the need for
education stakeholders to engage in mutual dialogue and explore ways to
avert torching of learning facilities by aggrieved students.
State officials alongside key stakeholders in the education sector
blamed indiscipline among students, cartels and inept administrators for
Cabinet Secretary for education, Fred Matiang'i threw salvo when he
accused cartels involved in leaking of examinations of inciting students
to set their schools ablaze.
"Criminal networks that have profited from selling leaked exams to
students are behind the current wave of arson in many schools," said
He also blamed drug abuse among students, morally corrupt
administrators and teachers for fuelling strikes and destruction of
property in schools.
On July 29, Matiang'i met key stakeholders in the education sector
including religious leaders, experts and investors to discuss viable
measures to halt burning of schools.
The meeting resolved to spearhead implementation of fresh proposals
that included better governance in schools and mentorship for students
to prevent eruption of strikes.
In particular, stakeholders in the education sector urged school
administrators to improve their relationship with students through
dialogue and mutual respect to avert chaos in learning institutions.
As Kenya grappled with escalating crises in the education sector
occasioned by strikes and arson in schools, campaigners said at a
meeting in Nairobi on Monday that a paradigm shift was an imperative to
restore order and decency in learning institutions.
Janet Ouko, the national coordinator of Elimu Yetu Coalition, a lobby
group, said that policies and laws governing management of schools
should be overhauled in order to reflect evolving dynamics in the
"The government and other stakeholders must initiate far-reaching
reforms in the institutional structures of schools," Ouko remarked,
adding that school managers should be attentive to physical and
emotional needs of young learners.