Disquiet over riots in schools as principals hold crisis talks

Moi Girls High School- Eldoret

Police guard the entrance to Moi Girls’ High School in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County after students went on strike demanding the removal of their Principal Christine Chumba on February 17, 2021.
 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Education officials in Nandi County have summoned secondary school principals over increasing cases of students’ strikes.

Nandi County Commissioner Herman Shambi and County Director of Education Zachary Muituiri directed the principals to promote dialogue and address complaints raised by students to curb the unrest in schools.

The two officials said school heads will be held answerable whenever the students go on strike over complaints that could have been addressed beforehand.

Investigations have been launched into some recent cases where students from eight schools went on strike because of suspected internal incitement from teachers who are not comfortable working with new principals.  Among the secondary schools affected include Barng'etuny Mix Day School, Aldai Girls’ School, Chepkumia , Tulon, Mwein Adventist, Kemloi, Ndalat Girls and Our Lady of Peace secondary schools.

Our Lady of Peace

The rioting students at Our Lady of Peace and Ndalat Girls complained of poor hygiene and shortage of latrines.

Those from Barng'etuny Secondary School went on a rampage over a shortage of teachers. The school has three tutors from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) after recent transfers of four teachers. They said this has curtailed teaching as the day school cannot afford to hire teachers through the board.

Students from other schools complained of tough punishment and harassment by teachers.

"Our observation is that the students are becoming fatigued and intolerant to minor problems the schools are going through," noted Mr Shambi.

He added that some schools hit by teacher shortage have already submitted their concerns to the TSC to assign more tutors.

"A report should be presented to the Ministry of Education for additional teachers and management changes in the respective schools," he said.

Trekking

Mr Shambi discouraged cases of students trekking kilometres to the county headquarters to make complaints.

He noted that while some of the grievances are genuine, poor administrative leadership in the schools led to the crises.

The county commissioner said education stakeholders have moved to overhaul some academic institutions to curb repeat strikes.

"We have a team going round the institutions, interrogating the students and teachers on challenges facing the schools. The government will solve the challenges," Mr Shambi said.

The County Director of Education added: “Sub-county education directors have been asked to summon crisis meetings with principals to establish the cause of recent cases of students’ unrest.”

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