Parents set to bear cost of damaged school property
Parents may be forced to pay millions of shillings for damages arising from the ongoing unrest in schools countrywide.
This is after the government said it will not release a single penny to repair property.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed warned that indiscipline will not be condoned in schools and those found culpable will pay the full cost of the losses suffered in the affected schools.
“The government will not pay for any damages, but the repairs will be paid by anyone found to have been involved, whether a student or a teacher,” said Ms Mohamed.
So far, over 40 schools have been torched in various parts of the country in recent weeks.
This week, parents at Kisumu Girls High School protested bitterly after they were asked to pay Sh8,000 each for damages caused by their daughters last week.
Ms Mohamed said the ministry had launched investigations into the school unrest and a preliminary report will be published before any action is taken.
The schools affected by fires will remain closed until the security situation is deemed safe.
“Once investigations are completed, we will determine if students involved in school unrest will sit for their national examinations or not,” she said.
The ministry will have a meeting with stakeholders to assess the security situation in schools and look at preliminary investigations, she added.
Ms Mohamed also warned schools against conducting tuition classes during the August holidays, saying it remains illegal.
Kenya National of Teachers Union (Knut) Secretary- General Wilson Sossion said teachers will not take responsibility for damages caused by students during riots.
Mr Sossion faulted the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for transferring teachers and principals in the middle of school terms, saying it contributed to the unrest.
“The buck stops with the Education ministry and TSC in restoring sanity in schools as these are the sole bodies constitutionally charged with the mandate of framing policies that regulate schools and teachers including students’ discipline,” said Mr Sossion.
In Parliament, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang dismissed assertions by Knut that the delocalisation of teachers was to blame for the unrest.
He told the National Assembly Committee on Education that the government will not renege on its stand on transfers.
The ministry is also mulling increasing the number of day scholars in urban secondary schools, in a move Dr Kipsang said will help curb unrest. “We need to go the direction of day schooling so that parents can have an opportunity to contribute to the discipline of the students,” he said.
The PS also supported Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti that students burning schools will be treated as criminals.
He urged the media to be sensitive while reporting school unrest, saying most students are encouraged to burn their schools if they see their colleagues in other parts of the country doing it.