President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged teachers to be diplomatic and flexible when dealing with students.
This, he said, would not only help to avert unrest in schools which has led to destruction of properties worth millions, it would also help minors deal with personal issues and challenges they face as they grow into adulthood.
“The youth require guidance and understanding and not judgement and condemnation to able to navigate through this turbulent period of their lives,’’ the President told secondary schools headteachers in Mombasa County on Wednesday.
Speaking when he officially opened this year’s 41st Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA), President Kenyatta gave the example of Mpeketoni Boys Secondary School in Lamu County which was closed on Wednesday after students went on the rampage, burning down the school’s computer laboratory, a store, an office and destroying property worth millions.
The boys went on the rampage after the management directed them to leave the TV hall where they were watching a soccer match between Croatia and Spain in the ongoing Euro 2016, on Tuesday night.
They had wanted to continue watching the match past their sleeping time of 10pm.
However, they did not take it kindly when the boarding master ordered them to go to bed at around 11pm before the match was over.
Wednesday, the President spoke of the need for principals and their teachers to rebrand to “standards that are consistent with levels of advancement exhibited now and beyond.
“Success of any education administrator is majorly based on how well the adolescents are guided through this period,’’ he told the head teachers meeting at Wild Water Centre.
“This is a make or break period where those well guided are able to navigate through life with ease while those unfortunate to fall into pitfalls of the period are derailed for a better part of their lives,’’ he said stressing on the need for flexibility.
“Surely, why should a need to watch a football game be allowed to degenerate into wanton destruction of school property,’’ he posed.
“If they sleep at 10pm and the game is ending in 15 minutes why don’t you give them that allowance. I do not mean that school regulations be disobeyed, but we need to be reasonable and flexible,’’ he said in apparent reference to the Mpeketoni school incident.
In Lamu, county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri said there was a high possibility that the students’ unrest was brought about when they were forced to stop watching the soccer match but added that there might have been other underlying issues that precipitated the situation.
“They started throwing stones at the school compound while others even sneaked to the nearby bushes especially when police arrived. We suspect the soccer match ban was just a trigger and that might other causes of the behaviour,” said Mr Kanyiri.
(Edited by Joel Muinde)