11 July 2018

Kenya: Senators Urge End to Delocalisation Policy as Unrest Soars

Nairobi — The Senate Education Committee has urged the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to suspend the delocalisation policy of school heads in an effort to stem the rise of unrest witnessed in the country.

While attributing the trend that has witnessed a significant number of schools torched recently, Committee Chairman Christopher Langat (Bomet) attributed the rise of arson in learning institutions to the policy and said a moratorium on it would restore order in schools.

"We urge the ministry to consider its position on the delocalisation policy especially during this time that the students are preparing for national examinations," he said during a media briefing at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday afternoon.

Langat said the committee had sufficient grounds to believe that the wave of school unrest was as a direct result of the policy, which has been opposed by students.

He expressed concern that hard drugs had penetrated learning institutions raising fears that there could be a connection with the fires experienced in schools.

"I have personally visited some schools in the country and I was shocked during one visit when I discovered that the students were high on drugs," he said.

The Bomet Senator said even as that is being contemplated, the ministry should provide schools with more funds to facilitate the installation of CCTV cameras in a bid to heighten security in learning institutions.

"The idea of schools being equipped with CCTV cameras should now more than ever be looked at with a lot of seriousness and the ministry should start by providing adequate funds to schools in aiding in the purchase of the gadgets," he said.

Senator Mary Seneta said it was imperative for students across the country to be well informed of the repercussions of arson especially after police issued a warning to those found engaging in such acts.

"Some of these students who burn schools do not actually know the consequences of such acts. They need to be sensitized on how such acts can affect their lives even after school," she said.

Following the surge of school unrest, the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti has warned students engaging in the destruction of school property saying such acts would be reflected in their certificate of good conduct when they apply for one.

Seneta regretted that after the destruction of school property parents would bear the brunt by being forced to pay for the construction of new structures.

"The ministry should address this issue comprehensively because at the end of the day parents are the ones who will suffer," she said.

Senator Sam Ongeri (Kisii) who adopted a more reconciliatory tone said as much as scrapping the policy would stabilize learning intuitions, called for a more collective approach between education stakeholders on how such incidents can be averted.

"There needs to be a serious conversation between all the education players on how the education sector and how best decisions can unanimously be accepted by the partners down to the students' levels," he said.

Meanwhile, Nominated Member of Parliament Wilson Sossion has weighed in on the subject terming the delocalisation policy as a threat towards the stabilization of learning institutions in the country and demanded for its revocation.

Sossion who separately spoke at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday accused the Ministry of Education of high handedness in regard to the policy and challenged it to reconsider its position if they want the wave of school unrest to end.

The besieged KNUT Secretary General said that the policy does not in any way conform to the wishes of the ministry to build national integration but instead it's working against it.

"Students will only stop burning schools if this so-called policy is abolished in totality. TSC cannot purport to claim that this policy would instil national integration, yet properties are being burnt in schools," he said.

At the same time, Sossion took issue with the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) Chairman George Magoha for what he described as reckless remarks he made that students would sit for exams under trees if they burn classes.

"KNEC should not interfere with the strikes in school but instead should focus on ensuring that the forthcoming national examinations would be credible. Such statements made by Magoha are regrettable because such statements would provoke the students to continue burning schools," he warned.


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