NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – Schools will not be used as campaign arenas by politicians, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has warned.
Matiangi has directed all school heads not to bow to pressure from politicians asking to hold rallies in their institutions, saying such activities would disrupt learning.
“Let us be sincere, you cannot be teaching chemistry in a class and someone is shouting slogans outside,” he said on Friday during a meeting with school managers among them vice chancellors college and secondary school principals at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
The CS expressed regret the numerous attempts by politicians constantly storming schools under the guise of presiding over school functions which often turn into political rallies aimed at mobilising support for their political careers.
“I became aware of this week of a particular part of the country where one of our colleague principal was under pressure by a politician to allow him hold a rally in the school. It will not happen!” he remarked.
Matiangi said the ministry was exploring the possibility of including universities and colleges among institutions which will shut down for two weeks beginning August 4 to facilitate the electoral process.
“We need your advice on semester dates because we want to see if we can break for two weeks so that learners can go and vote and university staff will also have an opportunity to participate in the election,” he told university and college heads.
During the meeting which also saw a report unveiled on the smooth running of education activities ahead of the August 8 General Election, Matiangi said that the ministry had agreed upon a framework with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) based on which school facilities shall be used.
He noted that there will be a formal handover of the facilities to be used by the commission so that they are handed back once the elections are over in good condition.
The CS said cases where school property was damaged and deserted without replacement would cease saying every facility would have to be handed back to the school management in the form they were received.
“It will not be a case where you walk out then the commission walks in and uses what they want to conduct elections. We must know from them how many classrooms they need, which classrooms those are and what facilities they will need,” he said adding that school managers should have an inventory on what is borrowed for election purposes.
He called upon the IEBC to expedite the compensation of schools whose facilities were damaged during primaries by ensuring the respective political parties meet the costs of repairs.
“We have schools in Migori and Nanyuki that were damaged during activities by political parties and we hope those schools will be repaired,” he said.
“It is very shameful to borrow things from our children and destroy them. Let us be responsible adults.”
The ministry has also directed that learning institutions hiring public service vehicles ensure that such modes of transport are not branded with political messages to ensure students and pupils are not exposed to danger.
The event was also attended by Principal Secretaries Prof Collete Suda (State Department of Higher Education), Dr Belio Kipsang (State Department of Basic Education) and Dr Dinah Mwinzi (State Department of Vocational, Technical and Training Education).