As we look at causes of fire in Kenya’s school, it is good to understand that over the year’s Kenyan schools, especially secondary schools, have been facing numerous fires which have led to loss property worth millions.
Since 1980s the rate at which school fires have been taking place has increased at a greater rate. This is something that has caused great alarm to all the schools, government, parents and other stakeholders.
These fires majorly occur when the schools are approaching exams and the real questions include but limited to: What cause the fire in Kenyan schools? Who is to blame or to be accountable for these fires?
Causes of fire in Kenya’s Schools
Below we have listed some of the reasons why Kenyan schools are burned
1. Drug abuse
Some of the students who starts these fires are under the influence of drugs. Students are often exposed to drugs such as bhang which influences there thinking ability and eventually they are unable to handle pressure that come with learning, school rule and exams and as a result they opt to chaotic behaviours.
2. Poor exams preparation
In most instance the fires occur few weeks to the exams, something that can be associated with poor exams preparation and exams phobia. Students have previusly demostrated against MOCK exams with an explanation that these exams are usually too difficult to handle. In order to avoid these exams they opt to cause school unrest by causing fires.
3. Poor communication
In some instances students have blamed the school management for failing to listen to their request. In 2018 one boys’ school burned their school structure just because the administration denied them to watch 2018 FIFA world cup match. Schools have been tourched for simple reasons as food, school outings, school uniform etc.
In one instance in Nyeri High School, students locked four prefects in a dormitory and tourched it. They accused them of harrassement and unfair treatment. Four students lost their lives just because someone felt that a certain punishement given to them was not supposed to be issued.
5. Peer influence
Bad company ruins good morals, during adolescent many young people are easily influenced. Some will just do thing to please others or to just get accepted. Negative peer influence has influenced students to level wher they burn their schools just to prove to a neighbouring school that they can also do it.
6. Poor parenting
Another outstanding cause of fires in Kenyan school is the fact that some parents do not take the initiative to guide their children. Its common to find that some of the students who plan to burn their schools have actually been suspended in other schools due to indispline. Its not clear why some students are more indispline than others but family background plays a role. When a child lacks proper parental guidance then he/she will likely do what pleases them.
7. Transfer of teachers
Unexpected transfer of teachers has also caused students to burn their school. A good example is Ortum High School, which is located West Pokot County, where students burned the school just because the school head teacher was transferred unexpectedly.
8. Political influence
Politicians interfere with management of schools, especially in the instance where government transfer teachers. To support or oppose the decision by the politicians students have touched their school just to prove a point.
9. Social decadence
The rate of social decadence in the country has increased and society has developed crooked attitudes where people do not care as long as the issues surrounding them are not affecting them directly. A good illustration is where students buy petrol from people around the school surrounding. No one questions or gets bothered by the idea that a student in a school uniform is purchasing petrol.
10.Poor school management
Poor management of schools lead to poor directive and accountability. When a school of over 500 students is left with only one teacher during the weekends it means students are at free will to do what they desire even without being discovered.
11. Abolition of corporal punishments
Corporal punishment ensures that students who had constant case of indiscipline were dealt with and they actually felt the effect of their behaviour. Since this punishment was done away with many students have gone over board and caused deaths of so many students.
12. Overloaded curriculum and low teachers’ morale
The education system in Kenya expects so much from a student. The pressures that come with much expectations causes anxiety to the students and some are unable to deal with it. On the other hand the teachers are normally overworked they are unable to have a close relationship with their students hence cannot tell when there is tension in the school.
Measure to reduce fire tragedy in Kenyan Schools
The education stakeholders together with students have suggested several measures to reduce fire tragedies in Kenya’s secondary schools. Below we have looked at some these measures.
All schools should have a counselling department which is always ready to offer necessary support to students. Teachers, parents and students should be able to come together and listen to students and have a dialogue on how to solve important matters affecting the school. Peer counselling is also important, to ensure that students can learn from people who are at their own level.
- Educate on issues about drug abuse
Schools should not shun away from the issues of drug abuse. Students should at all cost be educated about effect of drug abuse. In addition they schools administrator shoud investigate the source of these drugs and where need be, involve the local police.
- Proper planning and preparation of exams
Although the Kenya education curriculum is wide with proper planning , teachers together with students can ensure timely completion of syllabus.This will ensure adequate preparation time for exams .
- Train shool administators on good management
Management style vary and with continous training of schools administrators they will gain the right skills to manage their schools.
- Develop clear communication channels
Devise ways in which students can be able to express themselves without intimidation. Ensure accountability to every person around the school. For instance students can be given the mandate to vote for their leaders who will be able to pass their grievances to the school administration.
- Good parenting
Parents should ensure that they play their role in good parenting. This can be done by engaging in the lives of their children.
- Avoid politizing school management issues
Politicians should avoid politicizing school management issue to ensure that they do not raise students anxieties.
- Timely funds disurbsements in schools
Since secondary school education in Kenya is subsidized by the governemnt, there should be timely transfer of this funds to ensure all the resources needed to run the school are available.
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