20 April 2017

Kenya: Monitor Students to Forestall Any Unrest, Matiangi Advises

Nairobi — Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has called on parents and teachers to be vigilant as schools approach the second term to mitigate any impending cases of school unrest.

Speaking during the launch of the pilot phase of the competency based curriculum Thursday morning, the CS urged them to draw closer to the children and address any cause of concern.

He appealed to school administrators to work closely with teachers and improve their communication with students.

"We are approaching the second term and usually in the past, it has been presenting challenges to all of us. I would like us to be a bit more vigilant in our schools, be close to our children and be close to what is going on," he encouraged.

He stated that in due course, the ministry will release the report of the team that looked at the cases of unrest in schools and stated that during that time, "I will have an opportunity to talk about it."

He indicated that the election mood may also have an impact on students and emphasised the need for them to focus on their studies.

"I want to as you my colleagues that we should pay attention. We are also in an interesting season, as you know we are trying to populate the leadership space and because of that there is a lot of back and forth happening," he stated.

He underscored the need for the school environment to be conducive and free from any distractions.

"Let us keep our children peaceful and focused on studies. Keep our schools safe and try as much as you can to ensure that our children are not disturbed by the excitement that is going on out there," he said.

At the same time, the Education CS stressed the need for politicians not to disrupt learning in schools as they undertake their campaigns ahead of the August polls.

He stated the importance that should be placed in preserving the future of students by providing an enabling environment for them.

"Politics comes with melodrama. The fan fare, the people who shout, yell, wail mourn and do all manner of things around drums and things like that, it is a very dramatic season and we have seen most of it around the villages and countryside," he observed.

"That is why I said, it comes once after in five years. Democracy has got its own downsides but let us try the best we can to keep our schools safe."

He also urged the politicians not to hold meetings or rallies in schools in their quest to gain votes from their supporters.

"I am saying that as long as you do not come into our schools when our children are in session, let us try to be persuasive enough to our supporters but let them know that as much as we love them, we love our children more," he stated.

"As long as they are outside the school gate it is okay and we try to keep the peace. I think it is a responsibility that we all have to deal with. Everybody's life is being disrupted."

Early last year, there was a wave of unrest in schools across the country with a preliminary audit report describing incompetence among senior Ministry of Education field officers as a contributing factor.


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