NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – The Kenya National Association of Parents has attributed the recent cases of student unrest and immorality to parental neglect.
The association’s Chairman, Musau Ndunda, who spoke after weeks of violence and hooliganism in secondary schools that has left a trail of destruction and deaths terms the acts “cries for attention” from students.
The latest incident occurred last week at Stephjoy Boys Christian Boarding School, Kiambu where three students died following an arson attack, in which three students, including a minor are facing charges in court.
A form four student at Kanyama Secondary School in Karatina whose nude photos have been circulating on social media is also facing charges of drugs possession after she was arrested on a bus hired by more than 30 of her colleagues to Nairobi after closing for August holidays.
Police say they intercepted the bus on the Karatina-Nairobi road after receiving complaints that the students were consuming drugs and engaging in sex while hurling insults on people during stop-overs in markets.
The girl (namewithheld) has since pleaded guilty of possessing drugs but she has not been sentenced after the magistrate ordered for her probation and school report.
“I can tell you in the schools where we have gone, students have told us plainly, that we are doing these things because our parents have no attention of us. We are doing these things because nobody bothers about what we want to do,” Ndunda said.
He said it was therefore necessary for parent-teacher meetings to move beyond just fundraising projects and school performance, and incorporate the emotional well being of children.
“Because there are parents who are very rough with their children, there are parents who are inaccessible to their children and so the child feels that yes I have a parent but this parent is not concerned about me. So these are things that parents need to be taught; instead of making schools every time to be just a place to come and talk about the affairs of the school,” Ndunda advised.
He is also advising that parents not only take time out for their children, but set good examples to follow.
Some have attributed the increased violence in schools to lack of corporal punishment which is outlawed in Kenya.
But Ndunda believes, the problem is much more to do with the laid back attitude adopted by modern-age parents who have become too liberal.
“Nowadays when parents go drinking they go with their children. So this is a wake up call for us as Kenyans to ask ourselves where are we going?”
Teachers, he said, were not exempt from responsibility and questioned how the funds set aside for student counseling were being used arguing that professional counselors should be able to spot troubled students and help them express themselves in more productive ways.
Just in the last few days, 45 students were caught drinking and engaging in immoral acts on board a public service vehicle and three students of Stephjoy Boys Christian boarding school face murder charges on suspicion of setting fire to a dormitory in an arson attack which claimed the lives of three of their school mates.