NAIROBI, July 21 – A union of secondary school teachers Monday called on the government to act fast on the ongoing unrest in secondary schools.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Secretary General Njeru Kanyamba, said a lack of concrete action by the government on the situation had contributed to the increased unrest in schools.
Over 300 schools across the country are reported to have been involved in strikes and unrest in the last one month.
“We want the minister, Professor Sam Ongeri, to come out clean and explain the cause of these strikes that have become a matter of routine recently. The absence of concrete action to stamp out this wanton destruction of property threatens the very foundation of our nation,” he noted.
Kanyamba said the union’s tour of secondary schools across the country indicated that most of the strikes resulted from last year’s scandalous KCSE results.
“A student is studying to pass exams. Once they know that they are not likely to make headway even when the results are through, fear and despair comes in and that’s when they want to run away from the exams.”
“Also the students who left last year and their exams were downgraded could be in touch with the students in schools and inciting them,” Kanyamba noted.
Meanwhile the Media Owners Association called on the media to dig in-depth on the root causes of the problem as they took up their role of informing the public.
The association’s Secretary Cyrus Kamau noted that though sometimes the reasons for such unrest may be trivial, there must be a problem that needs to be addressed.
“We have a noble responsibility of reporting and perhaps it’s the high time the government looked at what cancer is eating our schools today- is it poor parenting or is it a curriculum that needs to be reviewed, or is it that the motivation of these youngsters has gone down?” posed Kamau.
At the same time, Editors Guild Chairperson Macharia Gaitho said the media should act as a forum for debate to address the underlying issues.
He told Capital News that the copycat action of unrest in schools was just an indication that there was a problem that needed to be addressed by those responsible.
“We cannot suppress news simply to make sure that others do not get to hear of it. If there are copycat actions because students are hearing what is going on and then deciding to do the same, that cannot be helped,” he asserted.
Gaitho also downplayed blame from some quarters that publicity was fuelling the violence in schools.
“I think it would be futile to blame the media. (It) is only reporting what is happening. We are living in a society where, probably, we have not managed to raise our children in the right way which applies to both the home environment and the school environment".