Riots blamed on drug abuse

What you need to know:

  • House team on school unrest gets views from students and teachers in Western Province.
  • School administrations faulted for failing to put in place strategies to gather intelligence and measures to improve security in their institutions.
  • Parliamentary committee has criticised the decision by Education minister Sam Ongeri to ban holiday tuition.

Drug abuse, absence of role models in society and failure by leaders to embrace dialogue when handling disputes have been cited as factors contributing to indiscipline in schools.

A parliamentary committee investigating the recent wave of unrest in secondary schools was told that the abuse of drugs and other substances among students was rampant.

The parliamentary committee chaired by Mosop MP David Koech was receiving views from Western Province at Kakamega High School. Fifteen schools in the province were affected by the unrest.

School administrations were faulted for failing to put in place strategies to gather intelligence and measures to improve security in their institutions.

Some headteachers were in the dark on what was happening in their institutions and failed to act appropriately when trouble broke out, the committee was told.

The chairman of the provincial secondary schools heads association, Mr Simeon Nabukwesi, said students copied the bad examples set by the leaders and used violence to have their grievances addressed.

Mukumu Girls Secondary principal Ebby Kavai said there was fear of being victimised by education officials for acting on students involved in indiscipline.

“Teachers are in a dilemma whenever they are handling cases of indiscipline because they are always intimidated by education officials who threaten to discipline them,” said Mrs Kavai.

Busia Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) branch secretary Godfrey Odongo said some parents and students took advantage of provisions in the Children’s Act to disregard school rules.

Students told the committee that lack of channels to present their grievances to school administrators fuelled strikes in the institutions.

Holiday tuition

Meanwhile, the parliamentary committee has criticised the decision by Education minister Sam Ongeri to ban holiday tuition.

Mr Koech said the minister acted in haste and failed to consult key players before banning tuition.

He said the ban could affect performance in national examinations in areas affected by the post-poll violence.

“The decision by the minister is unacceptable and amounts to pre-empting the work of my committee,” said Mr Koech.

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