NAIROBI, Kenya, July 19 – Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has fronted a proposal where parents will sign indemnity agreements to foot costs of rebuilding school structures destroyed as a result of arson or vandalised by their children.
This follows revelation by the Education CS that 68 schools have been affected by arson this year, which he blamed on failure to punish perpetrators.
Matiang’i who was appearing before the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday explained that the move will ensure parents are involved in their children’s education and instil in them a sense of responsibility.
“We are looking at various ways through which we can curb this vice. One of the ways is indeed to have parents sign an indemnity agreement where they will be responsible for the actions of their children. If their children are involved in arson, then the parents will be the ones to bear the costs,” he stated.
He pointed out that that under the indemnity proposal, the ministry will not foot any cost of vandalism.
“A huge number of these, about 51 percent of them are boys schools followed by about 21 or so percent that are mixed schools, then the rest are girls schools. Again of course data and information must lead us to particular conclusions, why do we have challenges in those schools?” he posed.
His statement comes amid rising cases of arson that have been experienced across the country and pointed out that 317 cases have been reported since 2007 but less than 20 percent have been prosecuted successfully.
Matiang’i also attributed one of the causes of increased arson cases in schools to conspiracy between school managements to avoid accountability.
He told the Senate Education Committee that leadership wrangles between school boards of management and the head teachers are to blame for most of the attacks.
The Education Cabinet Secretary stated that investigations show that the unprecedented number of school fires witnessed is attributable to clan politics playing out in schools where some head teachers have served for more than 10 years.
“It is important and instructive to note that in some of the schools where we have challenges, after we have had some investigations, you will discover that local, social political issues have come in. In certain cases there are clan politics, schools for example certain parts of Kisii, not all of them of course are affected by clan politics which affect the formation of boards of management,” he stated.
He pointed out that the failure by authorities to follow through with prosecution following the burning down or destruction of school property is also to blame.
Matiang’i maintained that the 68 incidents this year were as a result of untimely resolution of grievances and dismissed claims that the revised term dates were to blame.
“Ninety eight schools were burnt last year. Term dates are not to blame for school riots. We consulted widely on the changes,” he said.