MERU, May 14 – Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua has proposed the introduction of a new subject in the school curriculum that would instil inter-tribal harmony in the country.
Addressing school heads at the Kenya Methodist University in Meru on Wednesday, Karua noted that teachers were well placed to guide children since they spent most of their time with them.
“Teachers must play the role of gate keepers in society. They play a big role and can influence the society since they spend most of their time with our children,” said the Minister.
She however added that there was need for teachers to be adequately trained on how to encourage inter-tribal tolerance, so that they can inspire the same on the children.
Karua said the current curriculum had failed to impart values of peaceful co-existence among the various communities.
Successive review of the curriculum has seen the elimination of key subjects like Social Ethics that were instrumental in instilling moral values in the school going population.
The learning institutions are slowly turning mechanical ignoring the basic social aspect of human beings, as teachers focus more on performance and ignore the welfare of the children and the society. Moreover the hours students spend in schools have increased leaving them with little time for interaction with their families and neighbours, further widening the rift.
On the other hand, declining cultural values have also eliminated the responsibility that community elders had in training children and the youth on basic moral values.
Karua blamed the recent skirmishes on failure by successive leaderships to address historical injustices, which have happened since independence, piling to unmanageable levels.
The Minister noted that since the advent of multi-party politics there were indications that the country was quickly sliding into tribal groupings, but the leaders of the time ignored the problem.
“What happened should have been addressed a long time ago. We stand accused of sins of commission and omission because we did not act on these things when they happened,” she said.
The Justice Minister indicated that the government would not relent in persecuting all perpetrators of the post poll violence experienced early this year irrespective of their standing in society.
She expressed optimism that the recently launched Witness Protection Programme would motivate more people to volunteer information on suspects.
She also noted that the yet to be established Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be able to address the issues of marginalisation and historical injustices in the country.
The principals will be discussing how education can boost national unity and reconciliation during their five-day meeting.
Divisions were witnessed last term as schools re-opened as the skirmishes had just died down. Some students and teachers especially in secondary schools and colleges had to seek transfers to more ‘friendlier environments’.
Karua promised that her ministry would assist the various groups that were dealing with the issue of national harmony. The ministry was reconstituted in the coalition government and mandated with spearheading unity in the country, as well as helping to deal with rising ethnic rifts as revealed in last year’s elections and the violence that