The Ministry of Education Cabinet Secretary Amb, Amina Mohammed stated 107 cases of unrest were reported in secondary schools last year. The cases involved 63 arsons that saw property worth millions of shillings reduced to ashes, 23 cases of student’s walkouts, 14 cases of breakages involving school property. Other incidents included the attack of teachers at Chalbi and Kiramara boy’s secondary schools.
In a move to curb the widespread cases of misconduct in learning institutions, the DCI pronounced that it will be keeping crime records of every student found guilty of committing a criminal offense and that will reflect in the Certificates of Good Conduct issued by the police.
“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. This will be a Permanent Criminal mark that will bar many students from achieving their goals as no employer of worth will dare employ such characters,” the DCI said. The new policy hailed and criticized by Kenyans in equal measure could see learners get blacklisted for arson, drug abuse, cyberbullying, violent demonstrations, drunkenness and any other form of reported crime.
-But what does this mean for the learners in our institutions?-
A criminal record is the formal record of past crimes of which an individual has been convicted of when they have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty. It is of paramount importance to note that criminal records are not only reserved for persons who commit grievous crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery but also apply to offenders who might think of their crimes as petty misdemeanors or unrecognized felonies such as school fires, destruction of school property, handling of drugs while in school, violent demonstration among others. Unfortunately, most learners are not aware that these crimes could get them sentenced.
-Consequences of having a criminal record-
1. Difficulty finding employment
Currently securing a job in the country is an uphill task, according to a recent survey conducted, seven million Kenyans are unemployed. Out of these, 1.4 million have been desperately looking for work while the rest have given up on job hunting. With a criminal record, the odds are not in your favor.
After an unsuccessful run in job hunting, many choose to take on a different path and opt to further their education. Despite having excelled as the best candidate in your former school, within a criminal record hanging over you, it is beyond the bounds of possibility that you will able to secure a scholarship to study abroad as emphasized by the DCI you need a certificate of ethical conduct.
3. Immigration and Visa applications
With a criminal record, it is out of the question that you will be granted visas to travel to foreign countries as it is a mandatory requirement for most embassies for one to provide a clearance requirement from the police which in our case is the good conduct certificate. A criminal record automatically denies you the opportunity.
4. Banks and Lending Institutions
At particular moments in one’s life, one is faced with financial hurdles and opts to seek financial aid to help with the crisis until one gets back on his feet. This may come as a surprise to you with a criminal record but most financial and lending institutions conduct background checks to assess the viability of prospective persons seeking loans, and with a criminal record looming large you are not likely to acquire loans.
5. Social Outcast
It is an undisputed fact that human beings are social beings. Having a criminal record affects one’s personal life as criminal records are often a source of embarrassment.
Fast forward to your dating life, it is challenging to discuss your record with someone you are considering dating as a fear of rejection engulfs you hence most people tend not to disclose these but in cases where the partner finds out later in most, it leads to a fallout in many situations.
All factors considered, the repercussions of having a criminal record are indeed a lifetime sentence and pose as an obstacle to establishing a secure future despite what the person was convicted of, or how rehabilitated they are.