School boards urged to convene crisis meetings amid spiralinhg arson attacks

NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 10 – Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan has ordered school boards to hold crisis meetings to find ways of ending school fires as cases intensify.

Jwan stated that the government is concerned over the increasing cases of unrest and arson attacks in a number of secondary schools in the country which has led to destruction.

“Urgently convened board of management meetings to discuss students indiscipline and share the resolutions with the county education board for necessary action,” he said on Wednesday.

About 35 schools across Kenya have been set on fire within a month, forcing many to shut down. Initial investigations have linked the fire to agitated students, some of whom have been arraigned in court for causing malicious damage.

The Education Ministry, in the letter addressed to regional and county education boards, directed that school management should ensure that all students involved in indiscipline cases are not allowed to transfer to any other school.

Denial of transfer requests has been listed among measures aimed at curtailing indiscipline in schools and the surge of arson attacks in secondary schools.

“Therefore, no schools should admit a student who has not been formally released formally by the previous school,” Jwan directed.

The directive is in line with the sentiments by Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha who issued stern warning to arsonists saying their actions will not only be updated in their criminal record profiles but also haunt them during and after school life.

The government reaffirmed that it will not bear the cost of reconstructing destroyed school property or any other arising costs.

Parents in schools where property has been destroyed due to arson will now be forced to bear the cost of destruction.

In order to avert arson attacks in schools, the boards of management in schools have been urged to work closely with the officers of the Ministry of Interior and Coordination to ensure adequate security is provided in schools.

“Board of management should work with the local National Government administrators to ensure relevant stakeholders are engaged and are able to provide necessary support to ensure early detection of dangers in schools,” the Principal Secretary said.

The wave of school arson was reported at its peak on November 7 when five schools were burnt down in a single day.

Maranda High School in Bondo sub-county, Siaya county, Garissa High School in Garissa County and Muruguru Girls High school in Nyeri county were shut on Monday morning and students ordered to go home after a mysterious fire razed down dormitories on Sunday night.

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