, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18 – The Ministry of Education has launched the third national students\’ conference that aims at giving pupils more say in the management of schools.
Education Minister Sam Ongeri said on Monday that the four-day conference is part of efforts to involve all stakeholders in running education institutions.
During his address to about 1,500 student leaders in the opening ceremony at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, the minister emphasised the need for pupils to be involved in the prevention of vices like drug abuse.
"It makes a bad reading in society when we realise that some of our students are immersed in drug and substance abuse. Now that we have a powerful youth forum, why don\’t you take it up as a project?" he posed.
Prof Ongeri said that as part of the reforms in the ministry, teachers, students, parents and the community were being engaged in enhancing discipline in schools.
"You want to see extensive reforms take place and you can flag it and say that in our office, we were able to reduce to zero both the drug and substance abuse. Do you think you can do that as a council?" he asked the student leaders.
The education minister however expressed concern over the high cases of homosexual behaviour reported in boarding schools.
He said that the trend was worrying and underscored the need for sensitisation to be undertaken on the risks associated with such behaviour.
He pointed out that responsible student leaders need to be involved in the initiative to deal with the vice at its roots.
"I have no clue as to the extent of this practice but one fact is that we must stamp it out completely," he said.
"Our own new constitution does not recognise homosexuality. It is loud and clear and therefore wherever it is, we now need to know. Will the teachers, the principals know your students? Will you as the student leaders know your peers?" he emphasised.
During the launch, The Kenya National Students Council President Zahara Mohamed expressed the student leaders\’ commitment to bring change to the running of their schools.
"Let us all with relentless pursuits of perfection toil towards eradicating upheavals in our schools and identify the issues that dog our activities and then solve them in the most appropriate way."
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