, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is now calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to speak out on increasing cases of arson in schools.
Through his Twitter account, KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion stated that the situation had reached proportions of national crisis and should be addressed immediately.
- The special investigation committee set up to probe arson in schools has been given 30 days to submit a report on the incidents which are raising serious concern
- A statement signed by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and his Interior Ministry counterpart Joseph Nkaissery indicated that the report should clearly outline measures to reduce cases of unrest
- It pointed out that individuals responsible for school fires should also be identified and the measures taken to either prosecute or surcharge them explained
“Dear President @UKenyatta Step in Quickly and Directly. The Burning of Schools is beyond National crisis!” Sossion stated.
His sentiments came as school heads and principals were given the leeway to shut down institutions should they detect arson plans so as to avert a crisis that puts lives at risk.
The directive was issued by Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe following increased arson cases in public schools with the latest being Riosiri Mixed Secondary School in Gucha South sub-county where a dormitory was burnt.
“If the Board of Governors or the principals feel that there is a possibility of arson in their institutions and that students can go home for three days or one week, they can close them down to ensure there are no losses of life,” he stated.
He however stated that there will be no blanket closure of schools as many were not affected by the arson incidences and were working hard to prepare their students for exams.
“There are many school students, teachers and BOGs working hard to ensure that they perform well every year. They do not even concern themselves with the strikes. Institutions where the teachers and students are serious will continue to operate. They will not be closed down,” he pointed out.
Police have also warned against sale of fuel to children.
In Homa Bay, County Commissioner Farah Maalim stated that school principals and teachers will be held liable in case of a fire outbreak in their schools and pointed out that the arm of the law will not only target suspected students in case of an inferno in the school.
“I have instructed the sub-county security committee members that if any incidents of fire happens in a school, we are not only going for student suspects but also the principal, deputy the master on duty, the teachers and any other person so that they are also held for interrogations,” he said.
His Kisumu County counterpart John Elungata has organised an educational stakeholders meeting next week to ventilate on the schools unrest.