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Survey Reveals School Unrest Cause Is More than Just a Congested Calendar

Following a survey, education stakeholders in Mt. Elgon Sub County say the congested school calendar is not necessarily solely to blame for schools’ unrest, especially the burning of the institutions.

A preliminary report of the survey by the stakeholders established that the major cause of school unrest in the region was the increased use of drugs substances in school.

Retired principal Maurice Kiboi, who leads the stakeholders team formed two years ago to strategize on improvement of education standards in the area, said the survey established that during the Covid-19 pandemic when schools remained closed for almost a year, many students were exposed and initiated into drug substance abuse, including alcohol and bang.

The retired principal, who offered the preliminary report to KNA observed that intoxicated individuals can easily incite peers into vices such as burning of schools.

While recommending more thorough checkup as student’s report to schools and more strictness in possibilities of drug peddling around the school, he said the government too needed to do more on arresting the drugs business to save the youngsters.

The survey also poked holes on the speedy climbing of the ladder by some principals. Mr Kiboi argued that such speedy promotions ended up putting some individuals in charge of schools before they were experienced enough to handle students.

The retired educator who was a principal in one of the high schools in the area for many years noted most of the experienced principals have retired from service and there are young principals running schools, noting some do not have enough patience to listen to students to establish and sort out their student’s needs.

Stakeholders recommended contracting of retired principals to work as school managers to guide the young principals and help them gain the experience they need.

Media reports also turn out to be likely to be fueling school unrest as according to the survey it was evident that some students burnt down their schools after hearing of cases of other schools of their own level burnt down.

Besides the above, the normally cited reasons remain valid including lack of sports, congested syllabus, the stakeholders found.

The survey, which interrogated students at home due to schools’ unrest also discovered that students were now turning to using candles instead of petrol because of ease of access of the candle.

“In this case they light a candle put it on a mattress which will light for some time and eventually the whole dormitory will burn down,” he noted

He called upon school management to stop selling candles to students allegedly for use to study when the lights are off, since they can also turn as dangerous as being used to burn the dormitory.

The stakeholders are now calling upon Ministry of Education and ministry of Interior and coordination of national government to review their recommendations and act on them and monitor if their cases will increase or reduce.

The stakeholders team draws members from current teachers, retired teachers, education union officials and parents. It was formed following poor education standards in the area and periodically looks into education matters to find solutions where applicable. They have conducted the survey over the period of the unrest and were reaching out to students at home for responses.

When the report is fully compiled, the team will present a copy each to the Deputy County Commissioner and the County Director of Education for further escalation to higher officers in the hope that the recommendations will be acted upon.

By Douglas Mudambo


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