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Fresh rules for schools to boost learners’ safety

Tuesday June 12 2018

Moi Girls School rape case

Protesters outside the Ministry of Education headquarters in Nairobi on June 11, 2018 where they presented a petition on the Moi Girls School rape case. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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All schools will be required to install cameras at strategic points and complaints boxes, in new measures meant to improve safety in the institutions.

The rules, which come in the wake of the defilement of a student at  Moi Girls Nairobi on June 2, also require all schools to strengthen guidance and counselling units and appoint gender based violence champions and peer counsellors.

“The administrative measures include prominent display of gender violence prevention messages at every strategic points,” reads the guidelines which also recommended a minimum number of teaching and non-teaching staff who should access dormitories.

Others include ensuring proper lighting and conducting of due diligence procedures before the hiring of any employee.

Police are still investigating the Moi Girls incident, which provoked national outrage and led to the resignation of the principal Mrs Jael Mureithi.

PARENTS HELD PRAYERS

Yesterday, the school’s parents, teachers and students held prayers after all the students reported back on Sunday after a week’s closure to allow for investigations.

Kibra Deputy County Commissioner Nyamumbo Sese addressed the more than 1,000 students  and sought to assure them that the government will provide all possible protection to them, adding; “Let’s forget the past, these are challenges that we can learn from and move forward.”

Acting principal Florence Omusula said the leadership of the school will work together with the students to ensure an appropriate learning environment.

Reports indicated on Monday that matrons at the school had been sacked while all nurses were called in for fresh vetting.

The school’s administration did not indicate the number of those sacked but the decision was said to have been made during a board of management meeting  on Sunday. The meeting also raised questions about the school fees arrears, which it said were too high.

ARREST OF SUSPECTS

At the same time, activists demanding the arrest of suspects behind the defilement held a demonstration outside Jogoo House in Nairobi and handed in a petition to the Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr Benson Mugo.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has set up a team to develop a policy to address sexual and other abuses in schools.

The advisory team comprises sexual and gender based violence experts, forensic, pathology and safety in education practitioners and will advise on the process of putting in place a learner protection policy that will ensure schools are safer for children across the country.

Cases of sexual harassment of students have been on the rise since January this year and have resulted in the sacking of 111 male teachers by the Teachers Service Commission.