alexa Student strikes caused damage worth Sh48m - Daily Nation

Student strikes caused damage worth Sh48m

Friday August 17 2018

unrest, education

Chewoyet High School in West Pokot was shut down on July 9, 2018 after a dormitory was torched as a wave of unrest swept schools across the country. PHOTO | OSCAR KAKAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IBRAHIM ORUKO
By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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The total value of property destroyed during the wave of unrest in public secondary schools last term stands at Sh48,308,720, the government has said.

During the unrest, 279 students were arrested countrywide but only 11 were arraigned in court to face charges after investigations.

The revelations were made by the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Interior Patrick Ntutu when he appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee.

Since the start of the year, more than 50 schools have witnessed unrest with the second term recording the highest cases reported in at least 44 schools.

PRIVATE GUARDS

Mr Ntutu told the committee that the government has enhanced patrols and was working closely with the schools' administrators to provide adequate security by hiring more private guards.

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“We have encouraged the management of schools to carry out regular guidance and counselling programmes on disadvantages of participating in school unrest,” Mr Ntutu told the committee, which is chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly.

Other measures the CAS cited include removal of permanent grilles in classrooms and halls of residence to ease escape in case of an incident, and ordering schools to clear kiosks surrounding their compounds.

However, members of the committee took issue with the measures that require head teachers to remove kiosks around the schools and the removal of grilles for ease of escape, arguing that such measures were beyond the mandate of school administrators.

CHILDREN'S COURT

Mr Godfrey Odanga (Matayos) urged the Ministry of Interior to ensure that the business of removing such kiosks was restricted to security agencies and not schools, arguing that the mandate of the school heads should end at the gate.

“It is the Ministry of Interior that should remove the kiosks around schools because principals have no capacity to undertake such ventures,” he said, warning the ministry that, if left to principals, the issue could cause a crisis.

Mr Odanga further questioned the decision to arraign the students arrested during the unrest in court, arguing that the provision of the Children’s Act is that they should be charged in the children’s court.

He also asked why some of the children had not been taken to approved schools, wondering what had happened to the institutions that previously rehabilitated juvenile delinquents.

BUSINESSES

Mr Melly told the CAS that there are serious security issues in the management of schools and urged the government to make use of intelligence as one of the ways of curbing unrest.

“School unrest is sporadic and it is important that the government should use its intelligence unit so that strikes are stopped on time,” he said.

Kilome MP Thaddeus Nzambia said the ministry should deploy at least two police officers to patrol every school and ensure that people running private businesses are not allowed to operate next to school compounds.

Kabondo Kasipul MP Eve Obara objected to the removal of the grilles.

“Grilles should be removed after alternative measures are in place because their removal exposes children to external danger,” she said.