For the past few weeks now, the country has been witnessing a wave of unrest in schools that has led to the closure of some of them with students in some incidences burning dormitories.
It is an issue that has raised concerns among stakeholders in the Education Sector.
Uasin Gishu News spoke to Sammy Bor, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Chepkoilel Branch Executive Secretary on the possible causes of the unrest.
He admits that congested school calendar might be one of the reasons – but asks students to adjust to the new arrangement, given it was put in place by the government to help recover lost time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that saw education suspended for close to a year.
Another factor that might be contributing to the unrest in schools is the congestion of the students due to the 100 percent transition initiative by the government.
“The main problem may be as a result of pressure to students and because of congestion in schools. Today a school with 500 capacity enrolment has 1,000 and this kind of congestion is not good. The government needs to look at ways to help schools be able to handle more enrolment,” Bor notes.
The KNUT National Executive Committee (NEC) representative for the Rift Valley region also points out that the lack of proper vigilance in the schools’ systems might be loopholes the students are using to bring in materials they use to burn the schools.
He challenges schools to invest in enhancing their surveillance on what happens within and around the schools by installing CCTVs and also ensuring their security guards are well trained.
Since the pandemic hit the country, all games and drama festivals were suspended in schools in a bid to curb the spread of the virus and this is an issue that Bor notes could be contributing to the unrest.
He argues that ‘all work and no play makes Tom a dull boy’ hence it is time the government considered allowing games and other co-curriculum activities in schools to resume.
Guidance and counseling
While the Uasin Gishu County KNUT Secretary is asking students to always use the right channels when airing their grievances, he also wants the schools to set up a guiding and counseling department that will be engaging students regularly.
“Enhance guidance and counseling department so that students can be listened to. Let that department be effective and if possible engage experts in the industry,” Bor advised the schools.
He also asked the school management to look at ways it can make the timetable for learning not too congested and allow some time for students to relax, even as they work on recovering lost time.