By Beth Nyaga
Principals of Secondary Schools are now being asked to create communication lines for students to express their grievances about their respective schools.
The Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior, General (Rtd) Joseph K Nkaissery said student hooliganism, violence and wanton destruction of school property was partly caused by limited channels of communication available to students to air their grievances about certain aspects of management of their schools they were not happy with.
“They vent their emotions through riots,” Gen. Nkaissery noted.
The Cabinet Secretary made these remarks during a luncheon the Ministry of Education hosted for the Principals of National Schools at Safari Park Hotel.
The observations Gen. Nkaissery’s made were drawn from a report his Ministry had prepared based on the investigations it had made into widespread students indiscipline under the auspices of its mandate maintenance law and order across the country and within institutions.
The Cabinet Secretary, who talked to the Principals on the invitation of his Education Ministry counterpart, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, said that his there had been 120 cases of reported cases of students’ unrests in the last 18 months.
He said 92 cases happened in 2015, while 28 cases had occurred in the last six months, with 90% of cases emanating from secondary schools.
“Secondary schools are the most vulnerable institutions for indiscipline cases, Gen. Nkaissery said, noting that urgent measures ought to be made to establish what had gone wrong with these institutions.
He said Principals of schools should, among other things, ensure that everybody in their schools, including themselves, demonstrated the necessary discipline and hard work that defined functioning institutions anywhere.
“If you are not disciplined, problems occur,” Gen. Nkaissery noted.
In his remarks, Dr. Matiang’i said that the Ministry of education would put in place programme under which Principals of National Schools will mentor the heads of the rest of other secondary schools.
He said this will help enhance good practices in management and avert some of the management challenges these schools faced, thereby leading to student unrests.
He said the over 100 principals of national schools could mentor 500 schools within a year, and extent the mentorship to the next crop of schools.
The Principal of the State Department of Basic education asked the Principals to take time and understand the needs and aspirations of the students, saying part of the problem bedeviling schools is mutual distrust between the old and young generation.
He said generational gap could be overcome if there was an effort on the part of the old and young alike to understand each other.
Earlier, the Chairperson of the Principals of National Schools, Mrs. Dorothy Kamwilu said Principals of secondary schools had challenges managing schools.
She asked for support from all stakeholders to be able to provide the stability the institutions needed to deliver quality education to all students without the distraction that unrests occasioned.
Present during the occasion included the Principal Secretary for Higher Education, Prof. Collette Suda, Chief Executive officer for the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Dr. Julius Jwan, the Director of Secondary and Tertiary Education, Mr. Robert Masese.