Children are engaging in homosexuality while in primary school, a government report shows.
It says that most cases of male and female homosexuality reported in secondary schools originated in primary school.
The investigators also noted narratives pointing to the existence of devil worship in schools, with about 48 of 703 students admitting its existence.
The report by a committee formed to investigate unrest in schools last year, which was presented to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i recently, blamed the practice on peer pressure and social groupings.
“It is important to note that most teachers avoided mentioning the occurrence of the issues,” states the report. “This could be due to secrecy or fear associated with the issues.”
The report notes that students who engage in lesbianism and homosexuality are either suspended, transferred to other schools, referred to boards of management for disciplinary action or guided and counselled.
However, some respondents said the problem was not so serious while others said it is not evident.
“Most of the students were adolescents struggling with challenges of growing up, including self-awareness, self-esteem, the need for acceptance and recognition,” says the report.
It adds that in the absence of necessary guidance and counselling, the children are left on their own to learn from their peers or any other persons whom they interact with.
“Investigations carried out on unrest in schools established that some of the perpetrators of the incidents were from dysfunctional families,” adds the report.
It adds: “On the seriousness of devil worship, 17 out of 52 principals, 26 out of 118 board of management members, 15 out of 32 religious leaders and 56 out of 191 teachers indicated that the problem, both serious and not serious, was in the schools.”
The Clare Omolo-led committee recommended that schools provide appropriate spiritual care initiatives, including appointment of school chaplains and setting aside of suitable and ample time for worship without discrimination.
TOO MANY RULES
The team also established that all schools had rules and regulations, but said: “However, it was noted that the rules were too many and at times stringent, vague and prepared without participation of students and other stakeholders.”
For instance, the report reveals, at one school was a rule that students were not allowed to sport bizarre hair-dos while consequences for non-conformity were not spelt out and disciplinary process did not conform to the Basic Education Act.
Most schools lacked structured disciplinary committees while some still administer corporal punishment, contrary to the law.
The investigations were carried out in two phases and involved field visits and desk review of relevant documents between August and November last year.
Of the 97 schools visited, three were private secondary schools where students, teachers and principals interviewed.