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Matiang’i announces strict measures to curb arson in schools

He has now directed school heads not to admit any transferring student without a letter from the County Director of Education/CFM NEWS

He has now directed school heads not to admit any transferring student without a letter from the County Director of Education/CFM NEWS

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27 – The Ministry of Education has instructed head teachers in schools not to admit any transferring student expelled from other institutions as a result of participating in strikes or vandalism.

While making reference to the recent spate of arson in schools, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i described this as part of a raft of strict policies the ministry will adopt to ensure everyone takes responsibility for their actions.

He has now directed school heads not to admit any transferring student without a letter from the education authorities.

“Make sure no head teacher should admit a transferring student without the clearance from a Sub-County Director of Education,” he stated.

“If you are transferring your child from school A to school B, in addition to the leaving certificate you must have a letter from the Sub-County Director of Education to confirm that your child has not been burning schools and you are moving him around to burn more schools.”

He further encouraged students to be responsible and seek reasonable means of airing their grievances as opposed to destroying school property.

“We also must encourage our children to live responsibly. Why did they not sit in the field and say, ‘We are not going to class because we have not been allowed to watch a football match.’ Why didn’t they say ‘we will sit in this hall and not go to sleep,” he said.

He pointed out that destroying school infrastructure will only be for the students’ disadvantage and should be avoided at all costs.

“If you burn seven out of 11 dormitories, what do you think is going to happen to your school? And tomorrow, that student will be transferred to another school to go and cause damage there,” he stated.

He also called on the County Directors of Education to work together with school heads to identify any students engaging in any vandalism and ensure that they together with their parents pay for the damage.

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“You will have disagreements in your home, in your church, in your mosque, in your committee in your school, in Jogoo House, I have disagreements with my colleagues when they advise me, KNEC, everywhere,” he said.

“You will have disagreements with people, but if each day you argued with your wife you burnt your house, there will be no houses left here. So we must encourage our children to live responsibly.”

He was speaking before embarking on a tour of Kericho and Kisii where there has been a spate of arson with the latest occurring at Itierio Boys High School in Kisii where students burnt down seven dormitories.

“We are telling head teachers, that when a student arrives at your door and they want to transfer from school A, get a letter from the County Director of Education and you should be able to confirm that this is not a student who has burnt a school in Kaplong and they are looking for accommodation,” he stated.

Trouble started at Itierio after the students were allegedly denied a chance to watch the Portugal vs Croatia match in the Euro 2016 tournament.

Reports say the students started shouting after they were denied permission to watch the match immediately after the normal period allocated for entertainment lapsed.

Over the past year, school unrest across the country has led to the destruction of property worth millions of shillings.

Last year in August, students razed dormitories in 11 schools in Bungoma.

In the course of June, nine schools in South Rift were hit by unrest resulting in the burning of school property.

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On May 28, a school dormitory in Kirimari Secondary School in Embu was burnt by students for unknown reasons.

The boys in Kirimari set the dorm ablaze at around 9pm as other students were in class for preps and more than 50 students lost their belongings.

Matiang’i stressed that any student that is involved in any kind of vandalism will stay in that school and repair it.

“That is how we will go forward so that we create a sense of responsibility. I am going to instruct the Boards of Management as I go out this morning in all those schools to sit down, convene parents meetings and work with Parents Associations and ensure they work on how the schools are going to be repaired,” he stated.

READ: Govt launches probe into arson cases in secondary schools

He stated that the ministry will not bear any cost at all in repairing any damage caused by arson and that the students involved should pay for it.

“I am not inclined to spend any Ministry of Education resources to repair any school that has been burnt by students. Those who have burnt the school should either learn under a tree or repair it,” he said.

He pointed out that in the next two months, he will announce more stern measures to eradicate the vice from schools across Kenya.

“It is time also for us to encourage our children to be responsible people. If each of us destroyed something each time we argued with our spouses at home or our children, we will have no home standing here, we will have burnt all of them. And these things do happen so we have to encourage our children to be responsible people,” he stated.

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