Students engaging in arson to miss varsity slots, grants

July 9, 2018 7:20 pm
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Students found culpable of arson will not be admitted to public universities, and will miss scholarship recommendations while their leaving certificates will bear their criminal record/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Students involved in criminal activities will face stringent punishment as the government moves to curb renewed unrest that has seen seven boarding schools burnt.

Going forward, students found culpable of arson will not be admitted to public universities and will miss scholarship recommendations while their leaving certificates will bear their criminal record.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says preliminary investigations show that the latest unrest has been caused by tough examination rules meant to stamp out cheating in the forthcoming national examinations and general cases of indiscipline among other reasons.

“The Ministry of Education has intensified field visits by officials, including the Cabinet Secretary who will visit regions that have reported the highest cases of unrest,” she said during a press briefing at Jogoo House.

“The Ministry of Education has stepped up surveillance in our schools and taken up measures to ensure that normal teaching and learning resumes in the affected schools.”

To ensure the menace is contained from spreading further, CS Mohamed directed all boarding schools to double the number of teachers on duty over the next two weeks and heighten surveillance especially when students are undertaking their evening studies.

She also directed quality assurance officers in all counties to file daily reports on the security situation in their regions with clear explanations on any existing gaps.

So far, she says, three students from Siakago Boys in Embu have been jailed for one year on probation while over the last one week, 125 others from various affected schools have been arrested as police intensify the crackdown on all masterminds of the recent unrest.

She said the three Siakago Boys students can only attend a day school as they report to the local chief.

– Plans ahead of national examinations –

On the forthcoming national examinations set for October and November, CS Mohamed assured the country of the government’s preparedness.

She said the ministry has launched a nationwide pre-examination monitoring exercise to ensure that all is set.

“Already, the ministry has mapped out areas requiring intensified attention and all systems are geared towards these areas,” the CS assured.

“The ministry will not be distracted from sealing all loopholes to ensure the examinations are credible. We are conducting unfettered and impromptu surveillance of all examination centers to monitor the examinations using combined teams of multi-agency government actors.”

This year, she said, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) has installed 40 new containers to reduce the distance covered by centre managers to pick and drop examinations papers in vast counties.

She has warned the public against being duped by cheating cartels.

“It will be impossible for anyone to breach the security systems already in place to access examination material, in whatever form,” the CS asserted.

Already, detectives are pursuing individuals said to be targeting gullible parents and students, in the pretext they can deliver exam leakage in exchange for cash.

Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti has since warned students against engaging in the destruction of school property as this will be reflected in their certificate of good conduct when they apply for one.

The investigative agency stated that it is archiving and consolidating charges that may be preferred against each student in Primary and Secondary schools, colleges and universities who may be engaged in crime.

“Let each student be informed that it will automatically be reflected on the Police Clearance Certificate (Certificate of Good Conduct) when such student will apply for one,” read a statement by the DCI.

Some of the crimes outlined include arson, use of drugs, cyberbullying assault of any degree, drunkenness or any reported crime of any kind.

In 2016, there were 483 reported incidents of unrest which included 239 cases of arson, a majority of the incidents at 88.8 per cent occurring in the second term.

Out of 283 buildings burnt in 2016, 188 were dormitories leading to arrest of over 1,000 students.

In the past, such cases have claimed lives like in 1999, when four prefects at Nyeri High School were locked inside their cubicle and set on fire.

In 2001, some 68 students died as a result of a dormitory fire at Kyanguli Secondary School.

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