When watching or listening to news on our local channels nowadays, we are met by numerous reports of schools being burnt down by students. Why is this so? Why have students turned into protesters day in day out? Have we looked deeply into the matter and come out with a reasonable solution to this problem that seeks to destroy our learning institutions?
The past few weeks has seen fires everywhere in High schools across the country. Has this bad behavior become an acceptable annual event? School fires have so far become part and parcel of us since are now happening with a dependable frequency.
The biggest cause for concern is that there seems to be a sequence of school fires going around in the country. A short while after the Cabinet Secretary of Education Fred Matiang’i visited Itierio Boys High School, another fire was reported at Nyamache Boys High School also in Kisii County and a couple of days later Naikuru PAG Secondary School (Kisii County) had to be closed due to a fire breaking out in one of the school’s dormitories.
These were the first reports that started off the ongoing burning down of schools’ trend by students. Students of Kaimosi Boys High School on the morning of Friday, July 15, woke up to a huge fire that was consuming school property. The dormitories in the school caught fire adding to a number of such incidents that has seen property in Kenyan schools going up in flames, a trend that has refused to leave news headlines.
So far, more than 30 dormitories have been burnt down in more than 20 schools in the country in the last two months despite the fact that the CS stated that they were looking into the matter as a ministry. Among schools that have burnt down in just a few weeks of each other include Masii Boys Secondary School (Machakos), St Don Bosco Nyaibosi (Nyamira) on Friday, July 8, and Givole Secondary School (Vihiga) on Wednesday, July 29.
The economic damage brought about by burning down of schools is very high, but do these students know that? First of all, whenever a schools burns down, students are forced to go home. This is because construction of the destroyed classes, dormitories, laboratories or even libraries has to take place. Students also need to contribute towards the renovation of these buildings, especially when they are the one who caused the fire. Already this becomes an unplanned cost to their parents, who have to strain so much so as to come up with the required amounts to be taken to school. Some of these parents rely on hand to mouth jobs.
A school term is always calculated to be three months, so when students are sent home, studies are distracted for that period that they will be away and thus affecting the students, who will have to come back and sit for the same exams as those who were in school full time. Covering for the time lost becomes so hard, especially in public schools as teachers will just teach in their own pace, not considering that these students were away.
Some public schools have taken so long to be in their current status. This is because CDF was introduced to help develop schools in constituencies, burning the same schools down means that they have gone back to zero, and it is not known when again they will regain the current status. Government funds take too long to be released. It is about time that action should be taken to solve this issue before it becomes out of hand. The economy of the country is at an unstable state, and such cases need to be dealt with urgently so that they do not cause more damage to the country.