NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has directed public, private primary and secondary schools to hold classes strictly between 8am to 3.30pm as part of measures to address indiscipline leading to unrest in schools.
While appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Mohamed told MPs that investigations had revealed that some schools force students to attend classes as early as 5.30am and after 5pm, a move that could have frustrated the learners.
She submitted a report detailing other causes of unrest in schools which include inadequate resources, change of management among others which have led to arson cases in over 100 schools countrywide.
“Even as we maintain standards, we must not overstretch our children,” she said.
She said the tight school programmes did not provide time for learners to think or play, saying that school programmes should not make it hard for students to be children.
Nyanza region was the worst affected by the unrest that led to the arrest and prosecution of about 200 suspects who included teachers and students.
Student indiscipline was also attributed to alcohol and drug abuse and frustration that the tight administration of national examinations had made it impossible for them to access examinations a head of sitting for them.
She said cheating in examinations had become an accepted or normal practice, saying it was time the students knew that only hard work and honesty pays in the long run.
She asked managers of schools to have regular meetings where students are allowed to air their views and grievances to the administration without victimization.
She however said the ministry is working on a framework that that will see school atmosphere improved for learners.
She discounted corporal punishment as a viable form of discipline students saying it undermined the dignity of learners and their self-confidence.
Mohamed said the ministry will strengthen guiding and counselling services in schools, saying the service will provide an avenue that will help students the support children need when faced with personal problems.