Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Dozens of Kenyan schools closed due to student arson

About 35 schools were set on fire in Kenya last month, forcing the closure of several schools. Officials say the fire is being started by students, and have warned that any student caught in an act of arson will be kicked out of the education system.

The wave of arson started about a month ago and has intensified now. Five schools were torched on Sunday itself.

In one incident, a fire broke out at a girls’ boarding school in Nairobi in the middle of the night. Sixty-three students needed medical attention.

The Kenyan government has issued a stern warning against students burning down schools and authorities are making arrests.

Six students were arrested on Tuesday after a high school burned down in Nyeri County, western Kenya. A total of 11 were produced in court on charges of attempted arson.

Visiting a school in eastern Kenya, Education Minister George Magoha said parents and students would rebuild the affected schools. He said those found involved in arson would be banned from attending public schools.

“Anyone who plans to burn down the building, just remember that if you’re caught, you’re not going to go to another school, certainly not a public school in this country. You’ll go back and Will ensure that your parents contribute to rebuilding the school that you have burnt down,” Magoha said.

Officials are blaming drug abuse, stress, curriculum overload and poor student-teacher relations for the unrest.

Sam Ndunda, general secretary of the Kenya National Association of Parents, said teachers were not dealing with discipline matters properly.

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“There are many students who have already been sent out of school as a form of suspension. These students have been kept out of school for a long time. These students who are out there feel so bitter that our colleagues at school are learning and while we are given a certain suspension to let them know what we are feeling, then they come and organize for the fire, Nandunda said.

Boarding school teacher Tomkins Baraza said the school calendar is short and a lot is expected to be learned from students who are somewhat unhappy with their studies.

“These learners may fear exams and remember that second term is when students in most schools sit for mock exams. Also the pressure that is put on those learners. They are expected to cover a wide syllabus within the shortest possible time, so perhaps the learners feel that there is a lot of academic work that is being done in their favour,” Baraja said.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Kenya in March 2020, schools have been closed for several months until the end of last year.

The education system in the country is putting more pressure on the teachers and students to recover the lost time.

Some experts are pushing for open forums in schools, where teachers and students can discuss their issues, before students feel the need to take drastic and destructive measures.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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