Thursday, July 24, 2008



July 24 2008 at 00:00

Ten more schools have been hit by student unrest as the Ministry of Education laid down more tough measures to crack down on students accused of burning down dormitories and other school property.

Education Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi on Wednesday said that students involved in organising the unrest would be expelled and prevented from joining other public schools. Among the latest to be hit by the wave of unrest was Nairobi school, a national school. Students from the institution were sent home yesterday after some of them were found with four litres of diesel. It is believed they had planned to use the fuel to burn school buildings.

Other top schools affected by the unrest included Kabarnet High, Sunshine Secondary and Nyahururu Secondary. Eight secondary schools in Nyahururu and its environs were closed indefinitely after students went on strike.


At least 30 students were interrogated at Nyahururu police station as doctors at the local government hospital removed a nail cutter from the abdomen of a prefect. The prefect from Nyahururu High School had been attacked by colleagues who also stabbed him twice.

Other schools affected in the area were Githungucu, St Christopher, Ziwani, Holy Family, St Cecilia, Falling Waters and Fountain of Hope. At Fountatin of Hope, four students were arrested while dousing a dormitory with petrol.

Wednesday, school inspectors were instructed to lead the campaign to enforce the tough rules introduced to end strikes in schools. The inspectors from the Department of Quality Assurance will visit all affected schools to investigate the causes of the strikes.

Senior ministry officials met under the chairmanship of the Education Permanent Secretary, Prof Karega Mutahi, and directed the department to move with speed to find out what went wrong and why students were boycotting mock examinations.

Last week, Prof Karega said there had been a rumour that the mock exam results would be used to determine students’ scores in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.

On Wednesday, education officials decided that students who boycotted the mock exams will face disciplinary measures. “They will be treated as those who have gone on strike for defying authorities. Even principals and teachers in the affected schools will be investigated to determine if they had a role in the strikes and examination boycott,” said a senior officer who requested anonymity.

The rules announced in Parliament by Education minister Sam Ongeri included a ban on the use of mobile phones in all learning institutions. He directed that DVDs and music systems fitted in school buses be removed. He also ordered schools to stop buying luxury buses with TVs and powerful music systems.

The minister also directed affected schools to hand over to the police all students who either organised or took part in the violence. More than 300 schools have been rocked by violent strikes in the past one month.

Investigators have found condoms, diesel, cigarettes and alcohol, among other things, in the rubble of burnt dormitories. In another development, five NGOs have started lobbying MPs to retain the ban on caning in schools. They fear that the strikes and the public outcry would influence the Government to reverse the ban introduced in 2001.

Enforce discipline

The NGOs, which included Human Rights Watch and Cradle among others yesterday wrote to the Government urging that the caning ban be retained.